Comrades beaten by Saints in pre-season encounter

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Berkhamsted gave a good account of themselves as they were beaten 4-2 by a St Albans City development side in a well contested pre-season friendly.

The return to AFC Dunstable of BJ Christie and Courtney Massay, coupled with a host of injuries picked up in the 4-0 midweek win at Winslow, meant Berko had to rearrange their side for Saturday’s friendly.

An overnight downpour saw the venue switched from Clarence Park to a school astroturf pitch, but this did not stop the Comrades from making a bright start.

Ed Canham headed Berko into an early lead, but it only lasted five minutes as a soft penalty allowed St Albans to equalise.

Berko played some neat football in the first half, with Josh Chamberlain setting up Steve Hawes, who fired over the bar.

Adiel Mannion and Frankie Jowle both carved out great chances for themselves, but their shots went just the wrong side of the near post.

However, Berko’s defence were slow to react to a bouncing ball at the other end, and the Saints took the lead against the run of play with a low shot, just before half-time.

Chamberlain was forced off injured at the interval, but Berko were soon back on level terms after the break as Jowle was brought down for a penalty, which he converted himself – putting his spot kick just inside the post.

Berko continued to get behind the home defence but did not manage to add to their goal tally, and the Saints were lucky to get in front, with the referee missing a big push in the penalty box in the build-up to the goal as Berko stopped, expecting a free-kick.

In the last minute, the hosts scored again for a result that gave the scoreline a harsh look for the Comrades.

The pre-season friendlies continue with Berko at home to last season’s SSML Premier Division champions Kings Langley on Tuesday night, followed by a 6.30pm trip to Bovingdon on Thursday.

Saturday sees Steve Bateman bring his Aylesbury side to Broadwawter for the final first team friendly.

Competitive action starts On Tuesday, August 4 with Berko entertaining fellow Premeir Division side St Margaretsbury in the Herts Charity Shield.

Berko’s reserve side visit Tring Corinthians for their first friendly of the season on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).