Holmer Green came from behind and moved above Berkhamsted in the SSML Premier Division table on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over the FA Vase hopefuls.
Berko made a good start, taking the lead in the sixth minute when skipper James Baldry headed home a Josh Chamberlain corner.
After that things went down hill for the Comrades, with Joe Collins equalising in the 14th minute with a 20-yard shot that Carl Tasker got a hand to, but could not keep out.
The Comrades had to use two substitutes in the first half, with Steve Hawes and Josh Chamberlain limping off injured – causing a reshuffle of the team.
Greg Deer hit the winning goal with a super 20-yard strike in the opening minutes of the second half.
Dean Powles thought he had added a third but was ruled to be marginally offside.
They have to understand that, come Saturday, they perform with that lack of effort and desire we’ll get hammered.Berkhamsted FC coach Tommy Garratt
At the other end Dan Weeks came forward and struck the post, while Berko substitute George Carbery three times found himself free at the back post, but the equalising goal would not come.
It was end to end stuff and Powles broke clear but was foiled, and Tasker pulled off a fine save to deny substitute Olly White.
Berko coach Tommy Garratt was less than impressed by the Comrades’ performance, saying: “We’ve got a squad full with quality and ability but that old saying ‘do they fancy it on a cold Tuesday night away to Stoke?’
“Holmer Green, to their credit, are a decent side and the pitch wasn’t great at all but after we went one up to say we didn’t fancy it was an understatement.
“We had two injuries before half-time and yes we had to re-shuffle the pack, but we had enough to get all three points.
“Second half we played much better, got hit with an early screamer to go 2-1 down and to be fair missed chance after chance after chance which is rare for us so you’ve got to see the positives.
“The one thing I was bitterly disappointed with, however, was a few of them showed a very clear lack of desire and work rate to recover bad situations.
“Being honest, seeing five players stood still waiting for the outcome of a corner or us winning the ball back is a complete slap in the face for the effort we put in for the players and we’ve dealt with that after the game.
“They have to understand that, come Saturday, they perform with that lack of effort and desire we’ll get hammered.”
Berko: Tasker, Frederick, Weeks, Baldry (Gilbert), Chamberlain (Grey), Rodrigoe, Jowle, Hawes (Carbery), Campana, Mannion, Carter. Subs not used: Canham & Trevillion.
Berkhamsted will face Hertford Town in the quarter-final of the Challenge Trophy on Tuesday, February 16 as Town overcame Woodford Town 4-2 last night.
The date for the league trip to AFC Dunstable has been set for Tuesday, April 12, after being moved to make way for Saturday’s FA Vase match.
Berkhamsted are at home to Morpeth Town in the last-16 of the FA Vase on Saturday, 3pm kick-off at Broadwater.
It is a race to get fit in time for the match, with Berko currently having eight of the first team squad out injured – although all but two have a realistic chance of recovering in time.
Berkhamsted are expecting their biggest crowd since the club was formed in 2009, therefore home fans are urged to walk down or use the town centre car parks and get to the ground early.
Even with two turnstiles open, it is likely to be very busy, so if people have the right change it would be helpful. Admission is £6, with seniors only £3 and no charge for accompanied young children and £1 if unaccompanied.
If the scores are level after 90 minutes, there will be 30 minutes of extra-time and, if needed, a replay the following Saturday.
Local businesses have rallied to the Comrades’ cause, with eight firms sponsoring the match.