AFC Dunstable’s promotion march continued with a resounding 6-1 win over Berkhamsted on Tuesday night to send them eight points clear at the top of the SSML Premier Division table.
They are a well-organised, settled side and are unbeaten in the league in 2016 – meaning they are now guaranteed a top-three finish.
This will probably be enough for promotion, as the only two sides that can mathematically catch them do not seem to meet the FA criteria for promotion.
There were few chances at either end in the first half hour as the sides played cat and mouse.
The real damage was done in the last 15 minutes of the first half when AFC netted three goals.
The recalled Dan Edwards was caught in possession at right-back and ex-Comrade BJ Christie ran into the penalty area and was brought down by Carl Tasker.
The keeper got a yellow card as defenders were heading for the goalline, but Leon Cashman smacked the penalty low and hard into the corner of the net.
Persistent fouling got Steve Hawes a yellow card before the second goal. Tasker did well to keep out a piledriver of a shot, but Christie pounced to net the loose ball.
Just before half-time Tasker was again left exposed by the defence and although he saved the initial effort, it was at the expense of a corner. Cashman converted it with a towering header to make it 3-0.
Early in the second half a shell-shocked Berko got a goal back with a long shot from 30 yards out by Josh Chamberlain that sailed over Ricky Perks in the home goal.
Within a minute AFC had restored their three-goal advantage, however.
With less than an hour gone Tasker again concealed a penalty and got another yellow card, reducing his team to 10 men.
Tom Carter came on between the sticks at the expense of Frankie Jowle, with Cashman again netting the spot kick to complete his hat-trick.
A late goal from substitute Roy Byron completed the rout.
Berko: 1 Tasker, 2 Edwards, 3 Weeks, 4 Baldry, 5 L Ladyman, 6 Rodrigoe, 7 Jowle (15 Carter), 8 Hawes (16 Carbery), 9 Chamberlain, 10 Campana(12 Nash-Barker), Frederick. Subs not used: 14 Canham & 17 Mead.
Berko’s busy week continues with a trip to Welwyn Garden City on Thursday, followed by the penultimate home game of the season against Colney Heath on Saturday.
Only then should thoughts turn to the Challenge Trophy Final on Wednesday, April 19 when they again face Welwyn Garden City, this time on a neutral ground at Harefield United.
Kings Langley Reserves come to Berko in the Suburban North on Tuesday, while Watford Ladies are at home to Yeovil in the Women’s Super League at Broadwater, k/o 2pm on Sunday.