Berkhamsted beaten in their big game

A crowd of over 1,000 were on hand for the top-of-the-table clash at Bedford Town

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 11:25 am
Lewis Toomey gets on the ball for Berkhamsted during their 2-0 defeat at Bedford Town. Picture by Richard Solk

Berkhamsted’s big game ended in defeat as they were beaten 2-0 at Bedford Town in the top-of-the-table clash in Southern League Division One Central.

A huge crowd of 1,254 were on hand at the Eyrie to watch the clash, which saw Berko’s mean defence going up against the free-scoring league leaders.

Berko were missing the suspended duo of Ben Walster and Lucas Kirkpatrick but were able to welcome Tommy Smith back to the heart of the defence.

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And he was soon in the wars after challenging for the ball at the back post from a Jonathan Lacey corner and after a scramble the ball was cleared. Smith was able to resume after lengthy treatment while, at the other end, Xavi Comas Leon was twice injured but able to carry on.

Bedford, with the wind advantage, forced several corners and Xavi tipped a Danny Setchell shot past the post with the save of the day.

However, Berko had a purple patch and really pressed with the full-backs overlapping, plus Adam Watkins and Lacey constant dangers on the flanks.

It looked like being goalless at the break but it was not to be when the assistant-referee persuaded the man in the middle that Adam Watkins had fouled Hugh Alban Jones in a ground battle for possession deep in the penalty area.

Rene Howe stuttered in his run up and waited for the keeper to dive before tucking his shot into the goal to open the scoring from the penalty spot.

Watkins blasted over the bar from 20 yards as the Comrades tried to hit back but boss Chris Devane showed attacking intent in the second half when he brought on fresh wingers in Cheyce Grant and Reece Robins.

It almost paid dividends when Robins beat his man and found Lewis Toomey in the danger area but a Bedford defender did enough to deflect his shot on the turn.

And the decisive goal came 20 minutes from full-time when Charley Sanders got the ball near the halfway line and was able to run unchallenged to take a free shot that crashed past Xavi from 25 yards.

Berko kept their large travelling support happy with plenty of effort down the hill but could not get enough shots on target to trouble Alexander Street in the home goal.

The win saw Bedford move five points clear of Berko, who still have a game in hand.

This weekend sees Berko play for the first time on Hertford Town’s new artificial pitch in search of a league double.

On Sunday, Berko’s under-16s moved up two places in the league table with a 5-1 win at home to Tring Athletic.

However, the under-15s went down 1-0 at Hemel Hempstead Town. This weekend, they head to Leighton Town.

Berko’s under-18s are at home to Leverstock Green tomorrow (Thursday) and away to Luton Cedars on Monday (January 7).