Comrades crumble as Hoddesdon fight back to snatch the points

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Berkhamsted threw away a two-goal lead on Saturday as struggling Hoddesdon Town fought back to win 3-2 and bag their first victory of 2015.

Berko looked to be coasting to victory as Hoddesdon did not have a serious shot in the first half, but they could not hold out against their lowly opponents and crashed to their third consecutive defeat.

Steve Hawes headed past the post for Berko early on and Ashley Morrissey beat three men before shooting and forcing a good save from Reece Buck.

The Comrades were well on top and the opening goal arrived when centre-forward BJ Christie won a free-kick 25-yards out.

Courtney Massay’s shot took a deflection, and Buck managed to get a hand to it, but he could not prevent the ball from sneaking into the net.

Buck then saved a couple of headers from Adiel Mannion as Berko pressed forward, before the Hoddesdon keeper narrowly won a race for the ball to tackle Mannion when he looked set to score. After extensive treatment the keeper carried on, but was limping for the rest of the game.

It looked as through Berko were cruising to the three points when a deep cross from Morrissey was deflected in by Christie at the back post to double the visitors’ lead on the hour mark.

Che To hit the bar for the rampant Comrades, but Daniel Udoh pulled a goal back for the home side as he surged down the middle and fired home.

Clearly buoyed by the goal, George Lyons soon got the ball in the net again for Hoddesdon but the offside flag had gone up much earlier. At the other end Morrissey went down in the area, but the penalty appeal was turned down.

Hoddesdon were starting to get on top, with substitute Anderw Cardyice giving Alex Foster a torrid time, so James Baldry was introduced from the bench by Berko manager Mick Vipond in a bid to tighten things up.

However, it was the hosts who struck next to level things up when Berko keeper Ben Barnes was embarrassed by a Jamie Brandon corner that went directly over the line for the equaliser with five minutes remaining.

Still Berko could have won it, as they rattled the crossbar at the other end, but it was Hoddesdon who stuck next to snatch the points.

Hesitation between Barnes and a defender allowed a forward to nip in and Barnes conceded a penalty by bringing him down to earn a yellow card. Ike Nzuruba took a long run at the penalty kick and blasted home the winner.

There was still time for Lyons to get sent off for a second yellow card when he fouled To, before Lewis Rodrigoe and Baldry fired shots over the bar as Berko pressed for the equaliser that did not come.

Berko: Barnes, Massay, Foster, Rodrigoe, Gavin, Hawes, Mannion, To, Christie, Morrissey (Baldry), Jowle. Subs not used: Caines and Canham.