Beer sunk by visiting Hatherleigh

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:00 20 March 2017

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9023. Picture: Terry Ife

Otterton at home to Kentisbeare. Ref shsp 40-16TI 9023. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Beer Albion were beaten by 5-3 by Hatherleigh Town on Saturday at the Furzebrake, writes Richard Honnor.

The score line flattered the Fishermen who were very poor on the day. Hatherleigh looked a far better side than their league position suggests - they currently sit one place from the foot of the table.

The match started well enough for the home side and, after an early effort from Chris Long drifted narrowly wide, Beer went ahead on 14 minutes when midfielder Simon Smith scored after Town’s keeper had made a good save from Long.

Parity was swiftly restored when Barnaby rose unchallenged to head in a corner. Four minutes later Beer keeper Mark Rooke was called on to make the first of a number of fine saves when he was at full stretch to get a strong hand on another Hatherleigh header which looked goal bound.

Both sides found it difficult to play good football in the gusty conditions, but the visitors adapted better as Beer regularly over hit long balls instead of trying to play to feet.

Also, the Fishermen’s defence, so solid during their recent run, looked uncertain and lacking in composure.

This was illustrated on 32 minutes when they failed to clear a corner despite several attempts and Kenneally fired Town into the lead from 18 yards.

Rooke then had to scoop an awkwardly-bouncing, deflected free-kick over his cross bar as Hatherleigh piled on the pressure.

The Fishermen were presented with a gift equaliser on 39 minutes when Luke Bartlett provided a composed finish after Hatherleigh’s full back made a complete hash of an attempted clearance!

After the break, Beer were soon trailing. Again the Fishermen could not deal with a Hatherleigh corner despite three attempts at clearing their lines.

Kenneally took advantage to notch his second from close range to put the visitors 3-2 up after 48 minutes.

There followed a long period of uninspiring play with neither side being able to get the ball down and play in the swirling wind. Beer’s only real threat came from occasional breaks down the right involving young George Harwood, but Hatherleigh were able to contain the home side comfortably.

As the game entered its final quarter, Hatherleigh took complete command with their dynamo, Greg Mitchell, controlling the midfield.

Rooke saved his side again on 62 and 64 minutes, but could do nothing on 72 minutes to prevent Kenneally getting his hat-trick, the striker hitting a well-placed shot past the keeper after Beer had lost possession in midfield.

Hatherleigh sealed the game on 82 minutes when Barnaby scored his second after another Beer defensive mistake to make it 5-2.

Beer did score a late consolation, when Joe Adkin headed a corner home from close range but the final 5-3 scoreline flattered the home side.

Match sponsor ‘Beer Ball Albion’ awarded Man of the Match to Hatherleigh’s midfielder Greg Mitchell. For Beer, keeper Mark Rooke took the honours.

Beer need to look hard at this abject performance. After a magnificent mid-season run which has taken them from the foot of the table to a respectable eighth position, there is a danger that complacency will now set in.

The Fishermen need to put that right quickly with a strong performance against Newton St Cyres at the Furzebrake this Saturday (March 25).

The match sponsor is Hansfords Funeral Service and kick off is at 3pm. Beer’s 2nd XI travel to South Zeal for a Division Five encounter.

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