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University of Exeter 1st’s 1-2 Beer Albion 1sts

Beer Albion 1st’s produced their best performance of the season so far with a superb 2-1 victory away at reigning Devon League Champions Exeter University 1st’s on Saturday writes Richard Honnor.

The Fishermen gave their all to contain the talented Uni side. But whilst the home side enjoyed more possession, the Fishermen also treated their loyal travelling supporters to some incisive passing football on the magnificent playing surface.

The game turned dramatically on a wonderful save by Elliot Driver on the stroke of half time after Beer conceded a penalty for mistimed tackle. With his side already 1-0 down, Driver anticipated the well-taken spot-kick with a save at full stretch to keep the Fishermen in the game.

Beer showed their attacking intentions from the first whistle and almost scored on 5 minutes when Tony Pinder’s overhead kick went narrowly wide after a searching cross from Charley Skilton was headed back across the Uni goal by Josh French. Then on 17 minutes a flowing move started in midfield by the impressive French resulted in a dipping 20-yarder from the Beer front man. The keeper spilled the save but the Uni fullback foiled the incoming Giles Basson with a desperate clearance 6 yards out.

University eventually began to get their possession football going and created their first real chance on 20 minutes with a shot fom distance sailing over the bar after a good move down the left.

From thereon the home side dominated the possession but the Fishermen held their defensive shape and always looked incisive on the break with Spencer Hill testing Uni’s defence with some quality crosses from the right.

But against the run of play and aided by a slice of good fortune, University opened the scoring on 36 minutes. A strong run by the the right wing back and an unintentional dummy by a midfielder wrong-footed the Beer defence. Uni’s front man received a square ball from wide right and evaded a challenge to slot home wide of advancing keeper Driver.

The goal lifted Uni but Beer hung on until the break thanks in no small measure to Driver’s penalty save.

After the interval Beer’s game plan was to allow Uni the possession in deep areas but defend their own half in numbers and rely on swift counter attacks. It worked well with Beer’s centre back trio of Cox, Adkin and Ledger outstanding.

Uni could not find a way through and the Fishermen posted a warning on 61 minutes when man-of-the-match French was foiled by a fine save after good work by Pinder. Three minutes later the equaliser came after another Beer counter. The Uni goalkeeper brought down French just outside the box and Giles Basson, unmarked, headed home the ensuing free kick from 7 yards out.

Manager Mark Rooke immediately introduced Will House and Kyle Gould to bolster his tiring team. As Uni surged forward in search of the winner they were caught out on 76 minutes when a sweeping long ball from Liam Cox found Will House wide on the left. House turned his defender inside out before hitting a speculative 25 yarder which spun off the defender’s foot and looped over the Uni keeper into the net to put Beer in front.

Despite a number of anxious moments, Beer held on for the final 15 minutes to secure a well-earned 3 points and maintain their unbeaten record this season.

Next Saturday, Beer 1st’s will be hoping to maintain their 100% league record when they travel Barnstaple 2nd’s.

Devon Senior Cup 2nd Round

Beer Albion 2nd’s 5-1 Stoke Gabriel and Torbay Police 2nd’s

Beer Albion 2nd’s, missing 4 regular players, had a comfortable passage into the 3rd Round of the Devon Senior Cup defeating Stoke Gabriel and Torbay Police 2nds at the Furzebrake on Saturday. The win was built on a platform of solid defending and high pressing thereby not letting the opposition settle. Although the margin of victory was significant and they served up some great football, Beer missed numerous chances and their tally should really have been in double figures. Centre back Ash Driver netted a hat-trick, with Reece Best and Josh Lund getting one-apiece.

The whole team performed well and Ash Driver and Josh Lund were picked out by sponsor Alyson Arbourne and supporters as men-of-the match.

Next Saturday Beer are back in Division 1 action with a tough home fixture against Upottery 1st’s who have made a flying start to the season. Match day sponsor is Annings Plumbing & Heating Engineers Ltd.

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