Berkhamsted's promotion hopes ended in extra-time

Berkhamsted’s promotion dream was ended in the semi-finals of the Southern League Division One Central play-offs on Tuesday night as they were beaten 2-1 after extra-time by North Leigh.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 7:39 am
Berkhamsted were beaten in the Southern League Division One Central play-off semi-final

The visitors got into the play-offs, despite finishing in sixth place due to Welwyn Garden City’s ground grading issues and they made the most of their reprieve by going through to the final, which will be against AFC Dunstable.

The Berko fans came out in force with 523 in attendance at Broadwater, the biggest crowd since the new club was formed in 2009.

The first half was 100 miles per hour football and ended goalless, although the visitors did go close when they hit the crossbar.

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Levi Steele broke the deadlock for North Leigh, drifting past the defence unmarked to head home the opening goal from a free-kick in the second half.

At the other end Ben Walster blasted a free-kick over the bar while substitute Elliot Bailey shot across the face of the goal for Berkhamsted and Roger James did the same thing for North Leigh.

However, the Comrades forced extra-time in the last minute when a long throw from Jonathan Lacey wasn’t cleared. The ball struck the post Walster was on hand to bundle the ball home.

But it was North Leigh who won it with a goal in the first period of extra-time.

A Jordan Thomas cross was headed down by much travelled veteran Jefferson Louis to Andy Gunn who scored.

Lewis Toomey struck a shot over the bar with the best chance to take the game to penalties but Berko again fell short at the last hurdle having been close to promotion before Covid-19 struck in 2020 too.