Berko extend their lead at top
Berkhamsted went four points clear at the top of the table after their 4-0 win at Cockfosters on Saturday.
With captain Jon Munday suspended for too many yellow cards Warren Plowright, a recent signing from Harpenden, came in for his debut at centre-back. Max Farrelly took on the captain’s role – and relished it by scoring two goals.
Berko had some trouble on a gluepot pitch at Stotfold a fortnight ago but it proved to be good practice for the Chalk Lane surface on Saturday.
Matt Bateman volleyed over the bar early on and then a trip on Ashley Morrissey earned a penalty for Berko. But Adam Mead’s spot kick pinged off the post to safety.
Berko had much of the possession and were on the attack. The only goal of the first-half came when Josh Chamberlain drove a free-kick in from the right and Farrelly arrived to meet it with a thunderous header.
Claudio Tipote struck a free-kick for the hosts over the bar. Cockfosters also hit the defensive wall when Berko keeper Carl Tasker picked up what the referee decided was a back pass in the area.
As the half ended, Mead released Matt Bateman and he beat his defender but Dario Zavagnoe saved his shot.
Two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second period made sure Berko got the points. Morrissey got injured in the build-up, but play continued as Matt Bateman scampered up the left wing and his cross was met by Dan Jones, who volleyed home his third goal in a week.
Farrelly then headed in a Jones cross to put Berko 3-0 ahead.
Berko used three substitute to keep the pressure up. Farrelly had the chance for a hat-trick but somehow shot over from close range, with the miss being talked about as much as the back pass.
Mead flashed an effort over before substitute Ashton Campbell proved difficult for the defence to cope with and he scored a cheeky back flicked fourth goal in the 85th minute.
As the only top-four side in action on Saturday, The Comrades’ win moved them a further three points ahead of their rivals for the two promotion spots, Welwyn and Leighton but they now have five and four games in hand respectively
Berko: Carl Tasker, Adam Mead, Josh Chamberlain, Steve Hawes (Jack Stevens), Warren Plowright, Max Farrelly, Dan Jones, Ben Bateman, Matt Bateman, Adiel Mannion (Alex Campana), Ashley Morrissey (Ashton Campbell). Subs not used : Sean Coughlan and Jack Pattisson.
If the weather improves Berko now face a run of four home games on the trot. They were due to be back in action last night (Tuesday) hosting Oxhey Jets before Biggleswade United visit on Saturday.
Berko’s development game at Buckingham Athletic was 0-0 when it was abandoned after 40 minutes waiting an hour for the emergency services to arrive and treat a serious knee injury to Ryan Luke.
The hard overnight frost prevented Berko’s U14s side playing their cup quarter-final at home against London Maccabi Lions.