Berko lose grip of title race

Action from Berko's midweek clash with Welwyn Garden City. (Picture by Ray Canham)
Action from Berko's midweek clash with Welwyn Garden City. (Picture by Ray Canham)

Title rivals Welwyn Garden City overtook Berkhamsted at the top of the SSML Premier table and completed a league double over the Comrades on Wednesday night.

The final 4-0 scoreline was comfortable for hosts Welwyn but for long periods of the game Berko had more of the ball but failed to work the City goalkeeper Charlie May.

Ashton Campbell had some joy on the left wing for The Comrades but often his crosses went across the face of the goal with nobody applying the finishing touch.

Welwyn’s Ash Kersey was released by a ball inside the defender but hit it over.

That was a warning shot, as midway through the half Kersey gave City the lead by bundling the ball home at the back post after Berko keeper Carl Tasker had failed to hold a cross under pressure that the match officials ruled was legal.

At the other end, Matt Bateman was pushed over in the penalty box but play was waved on.

At half-time Berko swapped their wingers and Ashley Morrissey began to torment the Welwyn right back.

However, as with Campbell in the first-half, the final ball and the finishing left something to be desired.

City’s Josh Bronti came on at the interval with Kersey having a hamstring problem.

What turned out to be a brilliant crossfield ball – that may have owed something to luck – released Bronti on the right and he ran past some half-hearted challenges before netting a low shot under Tasker for a 2-0 lead.

Berko were still in the game at that point but Adam Mead’s free-kicks were going too high while Morrissey also shot over.

Berko boss Steve Bateman introduced Stacey Field and Adiel Mannion, who have both just got over injuries, but they did not get clear-cut chances.

Berko pushed forward to try to get back in the game, however, two injury-time goals were conceded to put some gloss on the Welwyn scoreline.

Ex-Comrade Tyler Hatherly netted to make it 3-0 when he just had a defender on the line to shoot past as Tasker had been drawn out earlier in the move.

Jon Clements, the league’s leading scorer, then pounced to add a fourth to send the majority of the crowd of 185 home happy and leave the scoreline looking misleadingly one-sided.

Berko: Carl Tasker, Adam Mead, Alex Campana, Steve Hawes, Warren Plowright, Garry Jones, Ashley Morrissey, Dan Jones, Matt Bateman, Sean Coughlan (Stacey Field), Ashton Campbell (Adiel Mannion). Subs not used: James Weatherill, Jack Stevens and Ben Bateman.

Berko had Saturday off and were next due to be in 
action last night (Tuesday) at home against Biggleswade United.

They then travel to Tring Athletic this Saturday for a derby day clash.