Berko grab bragging rights after 3-1 triumph over Tring

Berko's Alex Campana was a big factor against Tring Athletic. (Picture by Ray Canham)
Berko's Alex Campana was a big factor against Tring Athletic. (Picture by Ray Canham)

The pre-Christmas local bragging rights belong to Berkhamsted, who remain top of the division and unbeaten in the league, after they beat neighbours Tring Athletic 3-1 on Saturday.

The game before Christmas is usually a poor day for crowds, but 200 turned out at Broadwater and saw Berko gain revenge for the FA Vase defeat at Tring in their last derby outing on December 2.

Chris Vardy missed a couple of early chances for the visitors and Berko, too, were profligate as they squandered two great opportunities. Ashley Morrissey broke clear and placed his shot past the advancing Tring keeper Jack Hopwood but wide of the post while Ashton Campbell should also have netted when clear, but the first-half ended goalless.

Berko’s Alex Campana had a fine game holding the ball and beating men. Five minutes into the second-half, the referee adjudged that Campana had been pulled back in the area and awarded a penalty. Adam Mead duly stepped up to fire the opening goal from the spot.

Berko were then on top and Hopwood did well to keep out a Mead free-kick and Josh Chamberlain shot wide as the home side pressed.

Another mazy run ended with Campana cracking a shot against the bar.

Campbell then ended his recent goal drought with a fine low finish in the 70th minute to make it 2-0 after being put through by Jack Stevens, who had a good game in midfield.

Athletic’s comeback mission was further heightened when they went down to 10 men after Ben Johnson was shown two yellow cards.

The referee had a busy day and got in on the act again in the closing stages when he awarded late penalties to both teams.

The Comrades went 3-0 up with Mead putting his penalty past Hopwood into exactly the same spot as his first after the netminder was penalised for bringing down Campbell.

Jack Read got a late consolation for Athletic from 12 yards when Dan Weeks was adjudged to have brought down Luke Dunstan.

Leading scorer Stacey Field came on for Berko after an eight-week absence through injury and Ashley Lewis, who recently returned to the club, also came on near the end.

Tring felt aggrieved in that the two penalty decisions were both soft, in their view. Defeat leaves them bottom of the SSML Premier table, although they have games in hand over those just above them. They host fellow strugglers Holmer Green this Saturday in a must-win game.

Meanwhile, two of the top four meet when Berko travel to Pancake Lane to take on another local side, Leverstock Green, on Saturday.

Levy bounced back from last week’s defeat to win 3-1 at Holmer Green on Saturday.