Berkhamsted denied as Wembley battle back to make a point
Honours were shared in a clash between two of the SSML Premier Division's top six sides as Berkhamsted returned home from Wembley with a 1-1 draw.
Lewis Rodrigoe and Ed Canham were recalled to the starting line-up for Berko, with the first chance falling to the visitors as Max Farrelly headed over from an Adiel Mannion corner won by Tom Carter after a defence-splitting pass from Josh Chamberlain.
The home goalkeeper then misdirected a clearance to Jude Eboji, but his shot went wide. At the other end, Carl Taker saved from Zaied Sabti and had to tip a shot from Adam Murad over the bar.
Tasker was looking sharp in goal for Berko and skipper Jim Badry made some crucial challenges, while striker Mannion was lively and looked the man most likely to break the deadlock.
In the second half Yassine Fehmi-Gil struck the bar for Wembley, before a foul on Max Farrelly earned Adam Humphries a yellow card.
Chamberlain dribbled through several foul challenges as the ref played advantage, but he too got a yellow cad too for retaliation.
Berko were getting caught offside too often but eventually they got the lead that they deserved. Substitute Alex Campana was back after an ankle injury and he bundled the ball home from a low hard cross from the right wing.
Luke Ladyman, a recent signing from Kings Langley, came on for his debut and Frankie Jowle was also introduced.
However, in the closing minutes Sabti popped up to shoot the equaliser for Wembley, depriving Berko of their fourth consecutive clean sheet.
Berko; Tasker, Edwards, Weeks, Baldry, Canham, Rodrigoe, Carter (Campana), Farrelly, Eboji, Mannion (Ladyamn), Chamberlain (Jowle).
Elsewhere, Berko’s reserves gave Tring Athletic a run for their money in a bottom versus top clash at Broadwater in the Suburban North.
Aaron Nash-Barker, in his comeback game after a log spell out injured, gave Berko the lead but ex-Comrade Tom Shaw equalised before half-time.
A second half injury to Berko’s goalkeeper eventually told, with Stapleton hitting Tring’s winner to make it 2-1 to the away team.
On Tuesday Berko go to London Tigers but Thursday’s game with Hertford Town has been put back to April 5.
Berko face two home league games in four days when they entertain Stotfold on Saturday and Biggleswade United on Tuesday, March 22.
Berko’s Challenge Trophy final with Welwyn Garden City or Codicote is provisionally booked for Wednesday, April 20 at Harefield United’s ground.