A second successive clean sheet was the foundation for Berkhamsted Raiders Under-13 Blues as they beat Risborough Rangers 3-0.
It was another excellent team performance from Raiders who had to display patience and maturity when their pressure failed to get them a breakthrough against a Risborough side who provided dogged resistance.
Berko should have been comfortably ahead by half-time but despite a string of chances the opening goal just wouldn’t come.
Paddy Read went closest when his instinctive first-time effort crashed off the upright while Raiders failed to convert a series of other opportunities with shots that went just wide or cleared the target.
That gave Risborough encouragement and on a heavy pitch they used their more direct approach to carve out a couple of openings, particularly from corners, but Raiders’ keeper Jack Higginbotham was assured and in no mood to be beaten.
After a goalless first-half, Raiders had their heads in their hands again shortly after the restart when Ed Stubbs’ piledriver smashed against the post.
Finally, in the 45th minute, Raiders broke the deadlock. Will Smooker spotted Liam French’s burst through the middle and slid a low pass which the midfielder did well to get out of his feet in a muddy box before striking a fierce shot. The visiting keeper parried at full-stretch but Read followed up to score.
Now Risborough had to push forward more but Ryan Colmer and Reece Marchant marshalled the Raiders defence well, and within six minute they had a two-goal cushion.
Read’s incredible pace got him away down the right and he swung over a cross that Smooker lashed home on the half-volley.
Four minutes from time Raiders made it three as Read crossed, Colmer challenged in the air and Ollie Pitblado swept it in.