Ten-man Comrades go crashing out of the Premier Division Cup

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Holders Berkhamsted were dumped out of the SSML Premier Division Cup in a 4-1 defeat by Hadley on Wednesday night.

Berko were able to name an unchanged side after beating Wembley, but Hadley had to make five changes due to an injury crisis and suspension.

However, it only took five minutes for Berko to be forced into a reshuffle, with Jude Eboji pulling a hamstring and Nick Jackson returning in his place.

Troy Powell-Quarry opened the scoring after Hadley attacked down the left and he arrived at the back post to fire home a cross from overlapping full-back Mustafa Mutlak.

Soon afterwards, Kevin Duncan–Williams nodded the ball away as Adiel Mannion latched onto a bouncing ball and lobbed over goalkeeper Tom Le Tissier in an end-to-end game.

Midway through the half, Berko equalised when Mannion was clipped in the penalty area. The goalkeeper guessed wrongly and Josh Chamberlain netted from the spot.

The main talking point arose as the interval approached. Carl Tasker saved at the feet of an onrushing forward and the referee booked him as he collided with the forward on the follow through and awarded a penalty, which the Comrades keeper saved.

It was to prove an expensive card, as in the second half Tasker either lost his bearings or assumed a lone forward on the wing, who was nowhere near the ball, would be given offside but he was ruled not to be interfering.

Either way, instead of kicking clear, Tasker picked up the ball outside of his box and got a second yellow card to earn an early bath.

Outfield player Frankie Jowle took over between the sticks and made some decent saves. However, the combination of an extra man and raw pace meant the game swung rapidly in Hadley’s favour.

Patrick Pramani marked his debut with the vital second goal and Zane Gangadeen fired home a third in quick succession to leave Berko reeling.

Chamberlain and Ed Canham both came off with injuries before a fine shot from outside the penalty area by Nick Crysanthou made the final score a flattering 4-1. The 10 men were still a threat but it was not Berko’s night.

Berko: Tasker, Hawes, Weeks, Baldry, Canham (Carbery), Farrelly, Jowle (Nash-Barker), Eboji (Jackson), Chamberlain (Rodrigoe). Subs not used: Caines and O’Donovan.

James Towell has returned to Berko and, with the latest injury crisis, could go straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Colney Heath.

Berko’s reserves have a hastily arranged Suburban League game at home to Dunstable Town on Saturday.

The only midweek action is Broadwater being used as a neutral venue on Tuesday night for a Challenge Trophy tie between Hertford Town and Hale Leys United.