Berko win back the top spot

Josh Chamberlain scoring Berko's second goal during the 4-0 win over Hadley. (Picture by Ray Canham)
Josh Chamberlain scoring Berko's second goal during the 4-0 win over Hadley. (Picture by Ray Canham)

Berkhamsted completed the league double over Hadley in some style during midweek with a 4-0 triumph to return to the summit of the SSML Premier Division table.

Berko lost their unbeaten league record and their grip on the league’s top spot after going down 1-0 at St Margaretsbury last Saturday.

But The Comrades are in no mood to allow fellow title-chasers Welwyn Garden City to get comfortable at the apex and Berko got back to winning ways in dominant fashion at home on Tuesday night to leapfrog their rivals and move back to the top rung.

Josh Chamberlain’s back treatment allowed him to return to the squad and with Steve Hawes’s suspension over and Jack Pattison available again, Berko boss Steve Bateman made three changes to the side which started against St Margaretsbury.

In the early stages Berko keeper Carl Tasker pulled off a good save and at the other end Ashton Campbell put a good chance on the railway line from close range.

Berko winger Alex Campana was in dazzling form on the left and his trickery set-up the opening goal. He beat several defenders before crossing for Adiel Mannion, who got in front of his man and nodded Berko into the lead.

It was Mannion’s first goal since returning to Broadwater from AFC Dunstable.

In the 38th minute Chamberlain doubled the Comrades’ lead with a header that Hadley netminder Myles Bowman got a touch to, but it was over the goalline before any follow-up efforts were needed.

Into the second-half and the clincher came via the penalty spot. Hawes broke clear into the penalty area and Hadley’s last man, skipper Steve O’Hara, fouled him before Hawes could get his shot away.

The referee had little choice but to point to the spot but there re was a little confusion in the aftermath as to whether the official had shown a red card to O’Hara. In the end, it was a yellow card that was brandished. Adam Mead duly stepped up to convert the penalty to make it 3-0, netting his 18th goal of the season when he placed it low into the corner of the net.

With the points in the bag Berko brought on Dan Jones, Jack Stevens – also back after serving a suspension – and Frankie Jowle.

It was Jowle who rolled back the years to the delight of the Broadwater faithful in the closing stages when he cut in from the right and curled a left-foot shot past Bowman for the final goal at the canal end.

News then filtered through that Welwyn had slipped to their first league defeat of the season after going down 3-2 at Biggleswade United, meaning the Comrades regained top spot.

Berko: Tasker, Pattison, Chamberlain, Hawes (Stevens), Munday, Farrelly, Campana, B Bateman (Jones), Campbell, Mead, Mannion (Jowle). Subs not used: Helmore and Morrissey.

Berko’s clash with London Colney on Saturday was one of many games to fall foul of the weather (see report below and right).

This Saturday The Comrades travel to Northwood to take on 14th-ranked London Tigers. The development side host Buckingham Athletic.