Newly-promoted Berko saw off Tring 2-0 in the St Mary’s Cup semi-final on Tuesday night to set up a final against another local side, Levy Green.
The first-half at Berko’s Broadwater ground was a quiet affair for a local derby with a final place at stake.
Neither side had many real chances as the two midfields cancelled each other out. Berko’s Adiel Mannion had a couple of shots and Tommy Twelves and Luke Dunstan were off target at the canal end for Athletic. A far post header from the hosts’ Max Farrelly went the wrong side of the upright.
Early in the second-half Berko’s Josh Chamberlain hit the post with a shot and his follow-up was adjudged to have been handled by Tring’s Mark Riddick, the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Chamberlain took it himself and beat away keeper Lewis Todd to put The Comrades in front.
Berko went on to dominate the rest of the half. Alex Campana looked like doubling the lead but Dave O’Connor managed to clear off his own goalline. Berko keeper James Weatherill’s save of the night was to keep out a header from Dunstan.
Ashley Morrissey got behind the Tring defence on the left and laid on the second goal for Ashton Campbell to score from close range and catch up Adam Mead in the coring charts for Berko this season.
Tring had an appeal for a penalty turned down at the railway end when a Sam Joliffe shot was blocked.
Todd then saved well from Campbell to keep the score down.
The match was odd statistically, with Berko not using any substitutes and finishing with a 2-0 scoreline, neither of which has happened in the Comrades’ preceding 52 games this term.
Berko will play Leverstock Green in the final at Hemel Town’s Vauxhall Road ground on Monday, May 14, as postponements have kept Levy’s league season running longer than planned.
Berko: James Weatherill, Ollie Cox, Josh Chamberlain, Max Farrelly, Kyle Anthony, Garry Jones, Alex Campana, Jack Stevens, Ashton Campbell, Adiel Mannion, Ashley Morrissey. Subs not used: Steve Hawes, Adam Mead, Dan Jones, Ben Bateman and Frankie Jowle.
Tring: Lewis Todd, Joe Fitzgerald (George Carbery), Chris Vardy, Mark Riddick, James Butler (Ben Johnson), Dave O’Connor, Max Hercules, Luke Dunstan, Elliott Goward (Jack Read), Sam Joliffe, Tommy Twelves. Subs not used: Connor Church and Steve Nott -Macaire.
The Comrades’ final league game of the season was on Saturday when Berko went down 4-2 at home against relegation-threatened Oxhey Jets.
Jets were able to haul themselves out of the bottom two with a win at Broadwater.
Oxhey took the lead when Andy Amoah got down the right and crossed for Vass Mandeville to sweep the ball home.
Berko thought they had levelled when Matt Bateman netted a loose ball but Campbell’s challenge on the keeper was ruled a foul so it was disallowed.
Oxhey’s Tom Gibson conceded a penalty wrestling for possession in the area after an advantage had been played for his first attempt. Right-back Mead took the penalty at the railway end to net his 24th goal of the season, sending the keeper the wrong way
Jets’ task was made a lot easier when Steve Hawes was sent off for retaliation midway through the first-half in an incident that saw Berko get a free-kick and Mandeville a yellow card.
Around the hour mark, ex-Comrade Chris Blunden tapped in to put the visitors 2-1 in front from another Amoah cross.
It was a short-lived lead as substitute Ollie Cox netted from a Campbell centre to make it 2-2.
Despite the heat, Oxhey kept going and took advantage of some poor Berko marking to net the two goals they needed in the last 10 minutes.
Gibson had a free header to put them in front and the vital goal that may spare them relegation was added by Mandeville.
Jets did just enough to take themselves above Cockfosters – they are level on points and goal difference but have scored more – and will stay out of the relegation zone unless bottom club Stotfold win their last game at home to Hoddesdon Town.
Immediately after the match, Berko’s players were presented with their Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division runners-up medals by John Thompson.
Berko: Tasker, Mead, Chamberlain, Stevens, Anthony, Jones, Morrissey (Jowle), Hawes, Matt Bateman, Cox, Dan Jones (Alex Campana), Campbell. Subs not used: Farrelly and Ben Bateman.