Berko go four points clear

Berkhamsteds Ashton Campbell in action against Oxhey Jets in midweek. (Picture by Ray Canham)
Berkhamsteds Ashton Campbell in action against Oxhey Jets in midweek. (Picture by Ray Canham)

Berkhamsted went four points clear at the top of the SSML Premier Division table after a 4-3 victory at a windy Hadley on Saturday.

It was their second away win of the week following their 1-0 win at Oxhey Jets on Tuesday night. On that occasion Jon Munday’s seventh goal of the season was enough to maintain Berko’s 11-game unbeaten run to start the season and keep them on top.

Earlier in the week ex-Spurs star Micky Hazard stopped being Hadley boss and his assistant took charge on a caretaker basis. The other big talking point pre-match was the very strong end-to-end wind.

Berko had the wind behind them in the first half and they again got an early goal when Ashton Campbell broke down the left wing and crossed for Stacey Field who kept his excellent scoring run going with a well-placed shot beyond Davis Boateng in the home goal in the seventh minute.

Adam Mead doubled the lead in the 25th minute when he brought the ball down at the back post and fired home after Sean Coughlan created the chance.

Ex-Comrade Harry Sedgley was left free at the back post to head Hadley back into the match shortly afterwards.

Mead hit the bar from 25 yards as Berko pressed and he gave the visitors a two-goal cushion in the 36th minute with one of his exquisite trademark free-kicks. He stepped up to curl the ball past the defensive wall for 3-1.

In the second half, Hadley hit a dangerous free-kick just over Carl Tasker’s bar.

Berko were fuming when the referee didn’t award a free-kick let alone a penalty when Coughlan was brought down at the side of the box.

He later hit the angle of bar and post with a high shot that caught the wind.

Hadley’s Lewis Francis was enjoying acres of space on the right wing and it was no sur prise that he eventually punished Berko, firing home Hadley’s second goal.

That gave the hosts 
heart and with the wind 
advantage in the second-
half, they pressed on.

Tasker saved Berko with his legs when full back Rhys Shirley-Clarke came forward to shoot.

Coughlan sealed the points when he won the ball on the right and hit a low shot under Boateng to make it 4-2 with quarter of an hour left.

New signing from Tring Athletic Chris Blunden and Dan Jones came off the bench for Berko as Steve Bateman gave his side fresh legs for the closing stages.

However, it was Hadley that got a late goal, pulling back to 4-3 through Shirley-Clarke.

With the only other unbeaten team in the league, Welwyn Garden City, in FA Vase action on Saturday, Berko moved four points clear but City have two games in hand.

Berko: Tasker, Campana, Weeks, Farrelly, Munday, Deaton, Mead, Ben Bateman, Field, Coughlan (Blunden), Campbell (Jones). Subs not used: Thompson, Hawes and Chamberlain.