The Comrades are on a roll

Berkhamsted FC's players celebrate during their 3-0 CSS League Challenge Cup victory away at Aylesbury on Tuesday night, which moved them into the last-32 of the competition. (Picture by Ray Canham).
Berkhamsted FC's players celebrate during their 3-0 CSS League Challenge Cup victory away at Aylesbury on Tuesday night, which moved them into the last-32 of the competition. (Picture by Ray Canham).

Berkhamsted got their fourth consecutive win in steady rain at their Broadwater home on Saturday.

The 3-1 victory moved Berko into sixth spot in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central table, with only goal difference keeping them out of the top three.

It’s been a fine start to the season in higher-league football for the Comrades after earning promotion last term.

The win also pushed North Leigh into the relegation zone.

Boss Steve Bateman gave a debut to Connor Toomey in midfield after his midweek transfer from Chesham United.

There were recalls for James Weatherill in goal and Max Farrelly in midfield.

Toomey had a solid game on his return to the Comrades, having come through the club’s youth set-up before going on to higher-division football.

Berko’s in-form striker Matt Bateman got the opener at the railway end on 10 minutes.

Hard-working Ross Adams was proving lively and he struck the post early in the game with a shot and then put another close-range effort over the bar.

North Leigh equalised from an unfortunate own goal on 21 minutes. Weatherill looked to have a shot covered with his dive, but it was deflected off Liam McCrohan, leaving the keeper going the wrong way at the canal end.

Berko retook the lead with Toomey’s pass finding Bateman, who flicked it on to Will Summerfield. He fired home off the inside of the post for his second goal of the week on 38 minutes to give Berko a half time lead.

Bateman made the game safe with a close-range header that beat Luke Saunders at the near post from a Danny Murphy corner on 79 minutes.

It was the prolific Bateman’s eighth goal in just 10 starts this season.

Meanwhile, Berko stormed into the last-32 of the CSS League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night with an impressive 3-0 away win at fellow Southern League Division One Central outfit Aylesbury.

The goals came via Bateman and Summerfield in the first-half and a James Towell strike in the second period.

It was the Comrades third consecutive clean sheet.

With several ties still to be resolved, it may be a while before Berko learn who they will play at the end of the month for a place in the last 16 of the Southern League’s biggest ever cup, that had 84 entrants.

This Saturday is Non-League Day, the annual event that tries to encourage fans of professional clubs to support their local side when the top leagues are not playing because of international duty.

Berko are at home in the FA Trophy against South Park of Surrey, who are at the same level of the football pyramid as Berko in the Isthmian League’s South Central division.