Beer Albion defeated arch-rivals Seaton Town 3-1 at Colyford Road in a typically feisty East Devon derby watched by a large crowd on Saturday, writes Richard Honnor.
After an evenly-contested first half and with the score at 1-1, Seaton’s hopes of winning the match evaporated when they were reduced to nine men following two straight red card offences.
Assisted by a strong following wind, it was Beer who impressed early on. Striker Giles Basson had the ball in the net after four minutes but was ruled narrowly offside.
On 11 minutes, Beer took the lead with a ‘route one’ goal.
The Fishermen’s keeper Elliot Driver made a clean catch after the Seasiders striker Michael Baker hit the target from 12 yards and his quick long clearance found Basson in space in the home side’s half.
The Beer striker cut in swiftly from the left and slotted the ball across the advancing keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Basson went close to increasing Beer’s lead after exploiting a defensive mix-up, but the Seasiders were beginning to get behind the Fishermen’s defence, particularly down the right flank.
It was from such a move that the equaliser came on 33 minutes when a pass was played inside Beer wing back Harwood and a low cross from the by-line was struck home from close range by Baker.
But just three minutes later, the match took a dramatic turn when referee Owen dismissed the Seasiders’ Josh French for a heavy tackle on Beer keeper Driver.
As the first-half drew to a close, Beer had three clear-cut chances to go in front.
First, Alex Paget failed by a whisker to get on the end of a cross, then Tom Perry shot wide with the goal at his mercy. Then Chris Long was denied by a finger-tip save by the Seaton keeper.
After the break, Beer were awarded a free kick on 50 minutes for a heavy tackle on Paget, but Long’s 30-yard strike went narrowly wide.
Minutes later, Seaton were reduced to nine men when Lewis Cottam received his marching orders for a foul on Paget.
Despite the handicap, Seaton fought bravely to stay in the contest and missed a good chance to go in front on 57 minutes when a header from a free kick was glanced wide.
Beer were failing to capitalise on the extra space and were guilty of giving away possession with either too many long balls or over-elaborate play.
But they took the lead on 61 minutes when a speculative 30-yarder from left wing-back Jay Catley caught the keeper unsighted and crept in at the foot of the right-hand post.
Despite their two man advantage, the Fishermen were made to work hard for their victory and had to wait until the 84th minute to seal the 3-1 victory when Basson scored his second goal; a far-post header from Catley’s pinpoint cross.
Although Beer were not at their best there were some noteworthy individual performances.
Centre-back Joe Adkin gave an assured display and man-of-the- match Alex Paget worked tirelessly in midfield.
For Seaton , Michael Baker and Charlie Ledger played well.
Next week, Beer 1st’s travel to table-toppers Feniton, hoping to reverse the 1-0 home defeat incurred early in the season of the Joma Devon and Exeter League Premier East.
Beer 2nd’s have a home game against Honiton 2nd’s in Division 1 East.
Kick-off at the Furzebrake is at 3pm and the match sponsor is Marine House at Beer.