St Margaretsbury knocked Berkhamsted out of the Herts Charity Shield on Tuesday night as the ten-man Comrades suffered a comprehensive 5-2 defeat.
Berkhamsted had the best of the early play and nearly took the lead after six minutes as Steve Hawes saw his shot cannon back off the post.
It wasn’t long, however, before good play was rewarded – Ed Canham rose highest from a corner and his powerful header nestled in the back of the net to give the Comrades a 1-0 lead.
Berko continued to have the best of the play throughout the first half, with only some last ditch defending from St Margaretsbury keeping the home team at bay.
Saints’ first real chance of note came in the 19th minute with Shane Bambridge’s long-range effort well saved by Carl Tasker.
Three minutes later it should have been 2-0 when Jude Eboji’s shot was saved by the legs of Margaretsbury keeper Luke Pierce, after he was put through on goal.
Chances came and went for both sides as the away team found their way into the game and the equaliser came with 15 minutes of the first half to go. St Margaretsbury right back Chris Webb hit a speculative shot from just outside the right hand side of the box which looped over Carl Tasker and into the net.
Five minutes later and the game was turned on its head when, after a tussle in the box, the away side were awarded a penalty which Jason Coughlan duly converted to give them a 2-1 lead going into half-time.
Berkhamsted could feel rightly aggrieved, as they had been the better side during the first 45 minutes, with both St Margaretsbury goals coming against the run of play.
The second half started much the same as the first, with Berkhamsted continuing to press and perhaps some more clinical finishing may have led to an equaliser.
The moment of the game came midway through the second half, however, when Comrades captain and goal scorer Canham was sent off after a clattering challenge on Courtney Clay saw him awarded a second yellow card.
It was always going to be an uphill struggle with 10 men, but Berko continued to press and again looked more likely to score.
The tie started to move away when a great strike from outside the box by Shane Bambridge made it 3-1 and a strong header by Davey Edmee from a Coughlan corner put the visitors 4-1 up.
Berkhamsted continued to have half chances and they managed to reduce the deficit when second half substitute Jay Caines made it 4-2, scoring from close range after some good work by Pirece Kelly in the box.
Unfortunately this sliver of hope wasn’t to last too long as St Margaretsbury regained their three-goal advantage when Junior Adeoye converted Edmee’s telling ball into the box after he wiggled his way through on the right hand side.
That proved to be the final goal of the game, with the final score 5-2 to St Margaretsbury who move on to face Tring in the next round.
It was an exciting game from start to finish and, perhaps, with some more clinical finishing the result may have been different.
There were still lots of positives to come from the result and Berko hope for better fortune when they open the league campaign against Leverstock Green this Saturday and at home to Sun Sports on Tuesday.
Berko: Tasker, Edwards, Rodrigoe, Baldry, Canham, Hawes, Farrelly(Mead), Mitchell(Caines), Eboji, O’Donovan, Weeks. Subs not used Foster, Kelly, Carbery.