Clean sheet and a victory as Berko – briefly – hit summit

Berko players celebrating.
Berko players celebrating.

Berkhamsted – albeit briefly – regained the top spot in the SSML Premier Division after they kept a clean sheet in their win away at last year’s champions London Colney on a bitterly cold Tuesday night.

They put the two recent defeats to Welwyn Garden City behind them and were rarely troubled on the night.

Josh Chamberlain was fit to return at fullback, allowing Alex Campana to move forward and both had fine games. Matt Bateman pulled up with a tight hamstring early on and Adiel Mannion came off the bench to take his place.

Berko were on top playing uphill in the first-half. Dan Jones had a shot deflected for a corner and a left-foot shot from Adam Mead was saved.

At the other end Carl Tasker denied Chris Griffin when the defence were surprised that offside was not given and he broke through.

Jack Stevens got forward but his shot was saved in a closely-fought half.

Finally, Colney keeper Sam Szymczyk was beaten but Jack Pattison’s 25-yard shot crashed against the bar.

Berko looked the better team in the second-half playing downhill but the hosts’ Laurence Vaughan had a good chance but his shot went beyond the far post.

Ashton Campbell and Campana saw shots saved before Berko boss Steve Bateman brought on Ollie Cox, who scored with his first touch midway through the second-half. The ball broke to him and, spotting the keeper off his line, he calmly lobbed in what proved to be the winning strike.

There should have been more goals when Pattison ventured forward on a mazy run but his shot was crowded out and Campbell and Campana both got to the byline but their shots were saved. Berko had a lot of corners but could not get a clean header on target.

They ran down the clock to claim the points and leapfrog over Welwyn.

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