An under-strength Beer Albion shared the spoils with North Molton’s in a 1-1 draw on Saturday in front of a Furzebrake crowd of 120 spectators, writes Richard Honnor.

On a bright crisp sunny day, playing conditions were perfect and there was little to choose between the sides. The Fishermen saw more of the ball, playing plenty of attractive passing football, building frequently from the back. In contrast, the Stags were content to defend in numbers and hit long passes trying to catch Beer on the break.

However, in a game dominated by defences, very few clear-cut chances were created and both keepers had quiet afternoons. The Fishermen did fashion a few opportunities at long range but most of these were off-target.

Beer’s best chances came early doors. On two minutes, a Cody Bowditch cross flew across the goal and two minutes later a good save from North Molton’s goalkeeper denied Bowditch, who had been put through by Josh Lund’s header. For the rest of the first half, both sides were restricted to shots outside the box by two solid defences.

Beer started brightly after the break and on 48 minutes, they appeared to have scored when Aaron Daniels powered home a header from a pinpoint cross from Tony Pinder but Daniels was just offside. 

Wing back Matt Berry created a couple of shooting opportunities for Daniels, which flew over the bar and Berry himself tested the ‘keeper from wide right. 

But North Molton always looked dangerous on the break and the deadlock was broken on 70 minutes when the visitors went 1-0 in front with a soft goal. Wing-back Cody Bowditch who was trying to deal with a long ball wide on Beer’s left touch line was bundled off the ball.

North Molton’s wide man then crossed innocuously to the near post but the ball took a deflection off Liam Cox past ‘keeper Elliot Driver and into the net. Despite Beer protests for a foul on Bowditch, the goal stood and to add insult to injury, the frustrated Bowditch was then despatched to the sin bin for 10 minutes for remarks to the referee. 

To their credit, ten-man Beer fought hard for the equaliser, which came on 79 minutes through Finley Rooke. The impressive midfielder fired home an unstoppable header at the far post from a well-delivered corner from substitute Harry Lawrence.

By and large the game was played in a good competitive spirit, but there were a number of late challenges on both sides and referee Adair had to reach for his yellow card on seven occasions. 

There were some fine performances for Beer. Frontman Tony Pinder worked tirelessly and combined very well with Aaron Daniels. Charley Skilton, Josh Lund and Finley Rooke provided lots of energy and industry in midfield but the side did miss the attacking flair of the injured Jacob Rowe and they do need to show more composure in the box to put away a higher percentage of chances created.

The backline was also solid and centre back Charlie Ledger was awarded man-of-the-match by sponsors Kenworthy and Arbourne Builders.  

This Saturday, Beer have a league match away at Plymouth Marjon whilst Beer 2nds will be hoping to get back to winning ways at home to Westexe Rangers. Kick off for the home game is 3pm and match sponsor is John Wheeler Builders Ltd.

After a disappointing 4-0 Devon Senior cup performance last week, Beer Albion 2nd’s were hoping to bounce back in the Bill Slee cup but suffered another 4-0 defeat this time at the hands of Central 1st’s. But the Fishermen showed great improvement on last week’s showing and Central were hugely flattered by the 4-0 scoreline.

Beer conceded an early goal gifted to the Central winger who curled the ball in from 30 yards out. 

Undaunted, Beer played some good football and were well in the the game. But they paid the price for missing good chances midway through the first half. The Fishermen went into half time 1-0 down and felt the game was still there for the taking. 

The second half started in a similar fashion with Beer seemingly in control of the game. But at 60 minutes, they found themselves 2-0 down after a long throw wasn’t cleared and the Central forward poked the ball home. 

The Fishermen’s hopes of a recovery were then dashed when Central’s winger cut back on his left foot from the edge of the area and curled a finish into the far top corner. The home side added a fourth goal when the ball was cut back inside the box and the shot went in via the bar and unluckily off the back of keeper Leo Gribble.

But the Fishermen can take heart from a much improved performance and it was a far closer contest than the scoreline suggests. Fraser Beament was awarded man of the match for a strong and commanding performance at centre back.