Cup magic draws top crowd

Berko in action against Slough in the FA Cup at the weekend in front of a record crowd of 366
Berko in action against Slough in the FA Cup at the weekend in front of a record crowd of 366

Berkhamsted bowed out of the FA Cup on Saturday to higher-league Slough in front of a record crowd of 366 at Broadwater.

The final result was 3-1 but there could easily have been some giant killing if The Comrades had taken their early chances against a side from two divisions above.

Three times in the opening 15 minutes Steve Bateman’s side carved out good opportunities. Sean Coughlan’s pace took him clear and he shot just past the upright. Steve Hawes had a great chance and Dan Weeks headed just past the post from a corner.

After being under the cosh for a while, it was Slough that made the crucial breakthrough. Former Millwall and Notts County striker Manny Williams headed home from a cross by Matt Lench that Berko failed to intercept.

Player/coach Lee Togwell hit the second Slough goal with a fine shot that took a deflection on its way past keeper Carl Tasker.

Ten minutes into the second half, Slough made sure of their passage to the next preliminary round with a third goal from a shot by Lench.

Sub Brad Watkins, who used to play for Chesham, was kept out by the save of the day from Tasker who tipped the ball round the post.

Berko were still not giving up and pulled a goal back through leading scorer Stacey Field. He arrived to get on the end of a cross from the right by Coughlan, whose speed again took him past the full back.

Field got the ball in the net again later on, but the whistle went for offside.

The attendance of 366 was the best since the new club was formed.

Boss Bateman was proud of his team’s performance.

Team: Tasker, Mead, Weeks, Jones (Deaton) Anthony , Rodrigoe, Campana, Hawes, Field, Coughlan, Morrissey (Carter). Subs not used: Seanla, Farrelly, Cutler, Kouroushi and McClelland.

Berko were due to complete a trio of home cup ties last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press.

Hoddesdon Town were coming to Broadwater in the Challenge Trophy.

The winners will be at home to Leverstock Green later this month in the next round of the competition for all three divisions of the SSML.

There are two Premier Division league matches for Berko coming up, again at home.

On Saturday they entertain mid-table Wembley (3pm) while next Tuesday, September 12, they will be keen to avenge a cup defeat when they are at home to third-placed Leighton Town (7.45pm).

At long last the Berko Development team start the league season with a short trip to Harpenden Town tonight (Wednesday), the first of three games in eight days. They then go to Hertford Town this Saturday before entertaining Holmer Green next Wednesday, September 13, (7:45pm).

At U14s level, Berko go to AC Finchley North on Sunday and then visit Dean Austin’s Harvesters North side next Tuesday, September 12.