Berkhamsted U15 secure national glory
The young Comrades produced an incredible performance on a gruelling day to take the U15 title at the presigious ACES Nationals in Nottingham
Berkhamsted FC’s Under-15 team had a weekend to remember as they claimed the ACES Nationals Under-15 title in Nottingham.
The under-15 competition attracted 28 teams representing various parts of England.
On a gruelling finals day, there were seven teams in Berko’s group and the young Comrades started with a 1-0 defeat to Birmingham but then beat Warwick 2-0 with goals from Tio Eniade and Charlie Bradshaw.
Eniade was again on the mark in a 1-1 draw with Nottingham before Berko beat the defending champions Solihull 2-0 with goals from Reece Thomas and Ethen Viana.
There was a goalless fifth game against North Nottingham before Berko booked their place in the knockout stages with a 1-0 success over Bury St Edmunds with Viana on target again.
Berko drew 0-0 with Brighton in the last sixteen but won on penalties and then knocked out Crawley 2-1 in the quarter-finals with Eniade and Thomas scoring the goals.
Another win on penalties saw them defeat Eastbourne in the semi-finals and the theme continued in the final as they drew 0-0 with South Shields to ensure another shoot-out.
Each side had three penalties to decide the winner.
South Shields went first and scored before Zach Kapterian levelled and then Berko goalkeeper Bruce Taurian saved the next South Shields spot-kick.
Viana then scored for Berko which made it 2-1 to Berko and when South Shields scored their second to make it 2-2, it left Melchi Nyembwi with the chance to win it.
He stepped up and put the ball in the left hand top corner to earn the 3-2 shoot-out win as Berko became the national champions.
That rounded off a fine weekend for the club as Berkhamsted’s first-team made it through to the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.
They only needed one goal to defeat Coggeshall, although there was much debate about who was claiming it.
Alie Bangura hammered the ball into the danger area and it took a deflection on its way past Matt Cafer in the home goal.
James Verney wheeled away celebrating but the eventual verdict was that it was a defender’s inadvertent touch, so Bangura got the credit.
From there, Berko looked comfortable in defence as they earned a third clean sheet and secured a place in the next stage where they make the
trip to play Walthamstow who play in the Essex Senior League.
The first qualifying round tie will be played on Saturday, September 4 but before then they face a busy bank holiday weekend as they bid to maintain their fine start to the Southern League Division One Central season.
They head to Harlow Town on Saturday before hosting Welwyn Garden City at Broadwater on Monday.
Berkhamsted Comrades, meanwhile, are still unbeaten in the Spartan South Midlands League Division Two.
They had Joseph Olaniyan to thank for the points as he scored the only goal of the game at Milton Keynes College Football Academy.
The Comrades are at home to Codicote on Saturday and away to Berkhamsted Raiders (at Kings Langley) on Monday afternoon.