Rooke is spot on as Beer edge out Lapford to sixth top flight win of the season
- Credit: Archant
Beer Albion, sponsored by Edenvale Turf (SW) Ltd, chalked up their sixth Macron Premier Division win in nine starts with a gritty 2-1 win against third placed Lapford at the Furzebrake, writes RIchard Honnor.
When the sides had met earlier in the season in a Devon Premier Cup tie that went the distance before Beer won a penalty shoot-out and so, pre-match, everyone in the Beer camp, expected another close contest for young Fishermen.
The experienced Lapford defence was tough and uncompromising throughout and it took a goal of real quality to break them down on 25 minutes.
Front man Richard Walker, making only his second start for the Fishermen this season, received a pass from Finley Rooke and chested the ball off perfectly for midfielder Charley Skilton to hit a rasping 25-yard strike into the top corner.
Beer continued to have the better of the exchanges in the first half with Walker going close on two occasions, but they survived a scare on 35 minutes when keeper Elliot Driver dropped an innocuous-looking high free-kick into the path of a Lapford attacker, but George Harwood made a desperate block six yards out and the ball was scrambled away to safety.
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After the break, Lapford pushed on in search of an equaliser and Driver made a fine save on 50 minutes to thwart a far-post header.
The Fishermen were forced to adopt an unusually narrower midfield formation with wide players Basson and Catley tucking in deeper.
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This meant fewer opportunities for the two young wingers to use their pace to get behind the Lapford defence. However, on 75 minutes, the pressure was relieved! Richard Walker's 12-yard strike was well saved by Lapford keeper Matt Parsell, but, as the ball broke loose, Taylor Rooke was brought down near the goal line and referee Roberts awarded a penalty.
Lapford furiously disputed the decision, but to no avail as Rooke himself converted the spot-kick to put his side 2-0 ahead.
Lapford were by no means finished and Beer were forced to defend desperately for the final 15 minutes. After narrowly missing the target with a header at the far post, the visitors did manage to score a consolation goal on 90 minutes, but the Fishermen held on to secure the three points.
Match sponsor Clinton Devon Estates nominated Taylor Rooke as the best player the field.
Playing just behind the main striker, Taylor's work rate and commitment often go unnoticed but he has been one of Beer's most consistent performers so far this season.
This Saturday (December 21) Beer have a league game away at Whipton and Pinhoe. Meanwhile, at the Furzebrake, Beer second team, who lost narrowly at table-toppers East Budleigh last Saturday, entertain Otterton first team in the Division Two match with kick-off being at 2.15pm. Saturday's Furzebrake match sponsors are Messrs Adkin, Graham and Honnor.