Beer Albion continued their good run of form with a fine 3-1 win away against Topsham Town in the Devon Football League, writes Richard Honnor.  

It was a hard-fought contest on a heavy surface but the Fishermen were good value for the win. They were solid at the back, powerful and creative in midfield and created more chances than their opponents, who can thank their excellent ‘keeper for a string of fine saves. 

Beer got away to a rip-roaring start, taking the lead through Josh French with just two minutes gone. Topsham’s centre back conceded possession under pressure midway in his own half and French collected the ball, advanced in the inside right position and placed a clean strike from 18 yards into the left corner via the upright.

The game threatened to flare up on seven minutes when Beer midfielder Charley Skilton was caught by crude challenge from centre-back Skinner, which resulted in a yellow card for the Topsham skipper.

The Fishermen responded positively and Aaron Daniels cutting in from the left was twice denied in quick succession, first on eight minutes when his shot was deflected wide and then two minutes later his effort was saved by the Topsham keeper.

After the initial onslaught, Topsham began to exploit space in midfield and took advantage with some driving runs and quick breaks. It was after one such move that home side forced a corner on 15 minutes from which Skinner, unmarked, powered home a header to put his side on level terms.

The remainder of the first half was fairly even with Beer shading possession and Topsham relying on quick breaks. 

Within two minutes of the restart, Beer went 2-1 in front. Topsham failed to deal with a deep corner from Cody Bowditch and George Richards was able to fire the ball home from 14 yards with another well-placed effort.

The Fishermen were now well on top with Josh French and Finley Rooke orchestrating the midfield, bringing wing backs Matt Berry and Bowditch into the play with some well-placed passes.  French got the ball past the advancing ‘keeper on 55 minutes but the danger was cleared and Berry’s looping header was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the Topsham custodian on 62 minutes.

But Beer were not to be denied, and went 3-1 ahead on 63 minutes. From another Bowditch corner, Finley Rooke was wrestled to the ground by the Topsham by skipper Skinner, whose eventful afternoon ended when he received his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Rooke coolly despatched the spot kick.

There was a late disappointment for substitute Joe Adkin who was dismissed by the referee for retaliation after he had appeared to be fouled before Beer cruised home to a comfortable win.

Man-of-the-match in another good team effort was Josh French with Finley Rooke not far behind.  

Next Saturday, Beer are without a game. Meanwhile in Devon and Exeter Division 2, Beer 2nd’s make the short trip to Seaton for an intriguing local derby against Seaton Town 1st’s. The Fishermen will be wanting to overturn  the 4-2 defeat inflicted upon them by the Seasiders in the reverse home fixture.

In Devon and Exeter Division 2, Beer 2nds and Exeter University 4ths shared the spoils, drawing 2-2 at the Furzebrake on Saturday, writes Dan Jeeves.

It was Uni who started the brightest, controlling possession and injecting plenty of energy and pace all over the pitch. Whilst they continued to press and test Beer’s defensive line, the back three of Fraser Beamont, Kieron Love and Ashley Driver held firm, putting their bodies on the line to deny clear cut opportunities. 

Beer appeared to steady the ship but then conceded just before the break. A pull on the shirt from Reece Hales resulted in a penalty to University, which was despatched, despite young ‘keeper Leo Gribble getting a hand to the ball.

Beer changed shape for the second half with Max Richardson coming on for Fraser Beament and the team reverting to a 4-3-3. Jay Catley came close to scoring but hit the post after losing his footing in the area. Unfortunately, University grabbed a second against the run of play when a corner was headed home by their centre forward.  

The Fishermen reduced the arrears soon after when some good play down the left resulted in James Hill tapping home after Jack Prior had hit the crossbar. 

The equaliser followed as Beer continued to press. A long ball was inadvertently headed home by the University centre back to make the scores 2-2.

Beer went all out for the winning goal and James Melville came close to sealing the game after cutting in on his right foot but the ‘keeper got down to make a good save. Taylor Russell also went on a good run but just couldn’t find the finish to match it. 

In the end, Beer had to settle for 2-2 in a thrilling contest against very good opponents.