A fine first half performance took London Colney to the top of the SSML Premier Division on Tuesday night as they beat title rivals Berkhamsted 1-0.
Berko had to make four changes from the team that ended AFC Dunstable’s unbeaten record on Saturday, with Steve Hawes failing a fitness test and Dale Sears, Adiel Mannion and Josh Chamberlain all unavailable.
Alex Campana made his debut after signing from Kings Langley, and there were recalls for Ed Canham and Nick Jackson, who returned but had to retire again injured at half-time.
The home side took full advantage of the wholesale reshuffle and dominated the midfield throughout the first half with plenty of energy and purpose. Sam Dollan tried a shot from long range and a lob went just over the bar.
Midway through the half Berko lost possession and Jon Clements fired in what proved to be the winning goal with the aid of a deflection.
Carl Tasker pulled off a host of quality saves to keep Berko in the game before half-time, denying Charlie Smith and Greg Shaw with goo stops.
At half-time, Berko moved Max Farrelly up from full-back to midfield, adding the drive of George Carbery, and they gave a much better performance up the hill.
Campana had one shot blocked and headed over, while Jim Baldry saw a free-kick tipped over the bar by Charlie May.
The last throw of the dice was to press Canham into a forward role, but the equaliser would not come for Berko as they suffered their first league defeat since the opening day of the season at Levy Green.
Berko: 1 Tasker, 2 Farrelly, 3 Weeks, 4 Baldry, 5 Canham, 6 Rodrigoe 7 Jowle, 8, Nash–Barker (14 Towell), 9 Campana, 10 Eboji, 11 Jackson (12 Carbery). Subs not used: 15 Hawes.
On Saturday Berko are at home to Hadley in an important league game as they pit their wits against ex-Spurs star Micky Hazard’s team. The reserves are at FC Lemsford in the Herts Intermediate Cup.