A seven-goal romp at home against London Colney kept up Berkhamsted’s promotion challenge on Saturday.
With Ollie Cox ill, Jon Munday returned to the defence as skipper. Ashley Morrissey was also available to return and he came on at half-time and netted a second-half hat-trick at Broadwater’s canal end.
Matt Bateman opened the scoring for Berko and Ashton Campbell broke free on the left wing to lob home from an acute angle to make it 2-0 midway through the first-half.
The closest Colney got to a goal was when Garry Jones was penalised to concede a penalty, although he may have been the first victim of a foul. After consulting his assistant, the referee awarded a spot kick but away skipper Joe Reynolds struck the outside of the post, so Berko went in at half-time with a clean sheet.
Jones was booked for the foul, which was later to prove costly.
With Bateman getting a knock, Morrissey started the second-half and his first touch was to control the ball and cut in from the right win to place as shot past Colney keeper Jason Coughlan.
He repeated the feat 10 minute later and before the hour was up, despite being the smallest player on the pitch, he headed home a cross from Alex Campana for his side’s fifth goal and his hat-trick.
Soon after Adam Mead belted a 30-yard volley high into the net with a contender for goal of the season. It put Berko six goals ahead and was Mead’s 22nd goal this term.
Garry Jones got his marching orders for an alleged simulation when he went down wide of his own penalty box, picking up a second yellow card.
The 10 men remained in control and substitute Adiel Mannion rounded off the scoring near the end with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.
After the final whistle news filtered through that fellow promotion contenders Leighton Town had dropped two points in a goalless draw at home to Hadley. With Berko now having a 22 goal difference advantage over Leighton, a win and a draw from their last two games will be enough to earn The Comrades the runners-up spot and promotion to step four.
Berko: Tasker, Mead, Chamberlain, Stevens (B Bateman), Munday, G Jones, Campana, Hawes M Bateman (Morrissey), D Jones (Mannion), (Campbell). Subs not used: Weatherill and Cox.
Berko now have another must-win league game at Edgware Town this Saturday.
Max Farrelly looks set to returns after suspension but Garry Jones will miss out after his sending off against Colney.
However, he can return on Tuesday when Berko are at home to Tring Athletic in the St Mary’s Cup semi-final with the winners playing Leverstock Green in the final after the league season ends. Matt Bateman is cup tied but everyone else is available, barring any late injuries.