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University of Exeter 1st’s 0-1 Beer Albion 1st’s

Current Devon Premier Cup holders Beer Albion booked their passage into the Quarter Finals with a hard-earned 1-0 victory away at Exeter University 1st’s writes Richard Honnor. It was the Fishermen’s second win over the students this season having already beaten them 2-1 in a league fixture and makes it 8 wins out of 8 starts this season.

With key players, Elliot Driver, Jake Rowe, and Brooklyn Wilkins all missing, this performance was even more creditable than their league win against the Uni.

As in the previous encounter, Beer lined up with a compact defensive shape, content to concede possession to their talented opponents in deep positions but closing the space in midfield and relying on their solid back line and stand-in keeper Charlie Ledger’s safe hands to mop up any danger. By and large the plan worked but Uni are a fine side and will always create chances. However, on the day their finishing was sub-standard.

Although they saw much less of the ball, Beer created the better chances relying on quick breaks, using the pace of Giles Basson and Tony Pinder and the guile and quality of centre-forward Josh French who is in sparkling form.

The Fishermen created an early opportunity when Pinder’s header at the far post was brilliantly kept out by Uni’s keeper. But Beer’s defence survived some early scares, getting stretched down both flanks and desperately having to defend balls deep into the box. Ledger made a great save with his feet on 6 minutes after a well-worked corner to the near post. The Beer keeper was in action again on 15 minutes with a fine save from a 25-yard free-kick which took a wicked deflection. From the resulting corner, the Uni centre forward was a whisker away from heading home as the ball flew across the Fishermen’s goal.

Beer somehow survived the early storm and went 1-0 ahead against the run of play on 18 minutes. A deep George Harwood cross was headed home at the far post by French with the Uni keeper rooted on his line.

After the goal, the Fishermen grew in confidence and, although Uni continued to dominate possession, Beer were containing them well and imposing more of a threat themselves. On 29 minutes, Basson almost made the most of a mix-up between 2 Uni defenders. He rounded the keeper but was forced wide and the Uni cleared the danger.

As the half drew to a close Uni’s centre forward missed two good chances to equalise, first when Liam Cox got in a great block to thwart a goal-bound shot and then the striker missed the target with header at the far post. Then on 41 minutes the striker was thwarted yet again by Joe Adkin’s clearance on the goal line.

After the break, University failed to capitalise on a strong following wind. Beer grew in confidence with the whole team working hard to frustrate their opponents. The students became over-elaborate with their passing and they gradually ran out of ideas.

Basson was desperately unlucky not to increase Beer’s lead on 61 minutes. After good work by Alex Paget and Pinder the wingman cut in from the left and hit the inside of the post from 10 yards with the keeper well beaten.

As the game reached the final stages Beer had one scare when Ledger clung on safely to a shot across his goal from 12 yards, But the Fishermen were not to be denied and held on to their slender lead until the final whistle.

In another fine team performance it was difficult to pick out individuals but skipper and centre-back Joe Adkin led by example with a fine, spirited performance.

Devon County Senior Cup

Plympton Athletic 2nd’s 3-0 Beer Albion 2nd’s

Beer 2nd’s long trip to Plymouth on Saturday proved fruitless going out of the Devon Senior Cup by a 3-0 margin against the Plymton Athletic 2nd’s.

The Fishermen had five players unavailable for selection and three of those picked were carrying injuries. Nonetheless, they put up a brave show against robust opponents.

Although the Fishermen worked hard and played some good football, Plympton’s attacking players were a handful and carried more of a cutting edge.

Manager Jamie Bond was pleased with the effort put in by his side and highlighted defenders Jack Prior and Jamie Walker for outstanding performances. Bond added, “Our work rate was good but we just needed to retain possession better to take the pressure off our overworked defence.”

Next Saturday Beer 1st’s are back in Devon league action making the short trip to local rivals Feniton. Meanwhile, Beer 2nd’s are in Devon and Exeter Div 1 action at the Furzebrake against Teignmouth 2nd’s. Kick-off time is 2.15 pm and the match sponsor is John Wheeler Ltd.

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