Ten-man Berko win again to end league term in style

Berko's leading scorer Matt Bateman netted for the 44th time this term against Bromsgrove Sporting in the league season finale on Saturday. (File picture by Richard Solk).
Berko's leading scorer Matt Bateman netted for the 44th time this term against Bromsgrove Sporting in the league season finale on Saturday. (File picture by Richard Solk).

Berkhamsted FC ended the league season by beating second-placed Bromsgrove Sporting 3-1, despite playing half the game with ten men.

It wasn’t enough to snatch the final play-off berth, but it ensured Berko ended their term on a high.

An early goal for the visitors via Cameron Peters was disallowed for offside.

Berko’s Max Farrelly then opened the scoring for the hosts on 14 minutes.

Eight minutes’ later Jonathan Lacey was pulled down in the box, enabling Matt Bateman to double the lead from the penalty spot.

It was Bateman’s 44th goal this term in all competitions to set a new modern scoring record for the club.

Sporting boss Brendan Kelly brought on two subs at half-time. It worked, as they scored on 47 minutes, when Farrelly was judged to have deliberately handled the ball to get his marching orders.

Richard Gregory made no mistake from the spot.

But as Didcot and Kempston have found out at Broadwater in recent weeks, having a man advantage does not mean an away win.

Berko keeper Xavi Comas-Leon pulled off quite a few saves, but Berko looked good on the counter attack.

Ashley Morrissey dribbled his way past several men before being chopped down but the free-kick hit the wall from a dangerous position.

Lacey was proving tricky on the break and while Sporting keeper Jon Brown did well to save a few shots, he was powerless when Berko scored their third goal in the 86th minute. Lacey beat his man on the left and rounded Brown, before firing in a good shot to seal the three points.

When the sides met earlier this season it ended 3-3, so Berko were the only side that Bromsgrove did not beat in the league this term.

However, Dunstable lost at Sutton Coldfield which meant relegation for the Bedfordshire side and Sutton held onto the fifth and last play-off spot, pipping sixth-placed Berko by three points.

Berko now have two cup finals in 48 hours at Hemel Town’s Vauxhall Road ground. Last night (Tuesday)they were due to play Colney Heath in the final of the Herts Charity Shield, before facing Oxhey Jets in the final of the St Mary’s Cup this Thursday night.

Meanwhile,Berko held their annual awards night after the Sporting game.

Bateman scooped three awards for leading scorer, supporters’ player of the year and players’ player of the year.

The manager’s player of the year was Max Farrelly and Clubman of the Year was shared between Benny Mitchell and Grant Hastie.