Beer Albion had to settle for a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Bere Alston United in the Devon Football League on Saturday, writes Richard Honnor. 

In front of a Furzebrake crowd of 120, the game was a tight, tetchy affair but, in fairness, conditions for playing free-flowing football were very difficult due to a strong gale blowing straight down the pitch. 

Bere Alston came to this match on the back of five consecutive wins and provided tough opposition for the Fishermen. They showed why they are difficult to beat. They worked hard behind the ball to close down the space and were physically uncompromising in the tackle. 

Nonetheless, Beer Albion showed more attacking intent and created enough chances to win the game but the final ball just lacked quality and good opportunities from set-pieces were invariably overhit in the tail wind.

When the Fishermen did find a way through, Alston’s keeper Mike Moore was in excellent form. In contrast, Fishermen’s goalkeeper Elliot Driver had a quiet afternoon and was only seriously tested once when he made a good save from a 12-yard effort on 17 minutes after Beer were caught in possession midway through their own half.

In the first half, Beer went close on a couple of occasions through Tony Pinder and Finley Rooke. But the best effort was a well-struck shot from Aaron Daniels on 33 minutes, which was thwarted by a brilliant flying save from the Bere Alston ‘keeper.

After the break and now playing into the wind, Beer Albion were finding it easier to keep possession. They began to get more success, particularly down the right wing where Matt Berry and Finley Rooke tested the visitor’s defence with some dangerous low crosses. But the Fishermen could not apply the finishing touch. In contrast, Bere Alston showed little attacking intent, seeming happy to play for the draw. 

Beer’s best opportunity to win the game came on 65 minutes when Finley Rooke was brought down in the box after a driving run. But Rooke’s spot-kick flew over the bar. His composure was clearly affected by some cynical interference from Alston’s midfielder, which went unpunished by Referee Fullam. Otherwise, Rooke had a fine match. 

With 15 minutes remaining, frustration on both sides continued to grow and referee Fullam showed the red card to the Bere Alston manager after tempers flared around the away-teams dug-out. 

As the game enter the final stages, the Fishermen piled on the pressure seeking the winner but Alston ‘keeper Moore thwarted them with two more excellent saves. The visitors then survived a couple of goalmouth scrambles and Beer Albion had to be content with a share of the spoils.

Unsurprisingly, Sponsor Colyford Butchers awarded man-of-the-match to Bere Alston’s keeper Moore. For Beer, Tony Pinder worked tirelessly throughout but Finley Rooke narrowly pipped him as Beer’s best player on the day.

Next Saturday, Beer Albion are away at Barnstaple Town 2nds, whilst Beer 2nds have a tough local derby at home to Farway United. Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 2:15 pm and the match sponsor will be Adkin Boatworks.