A brace from James Towell and a solo goal from Jonathan Lacey eased Berkhamsted FC to victory over Dunstable Town on Saturday.
The home victory for The Comrades moved them up to sixth place in the Evo Stik Southern League Division One Central table and just four points off the final playoff spot.
Ryan Kinnane returned to the heart of the Berko defence and had a good game in the only change from the side that did well to secure a draw at second-placed Bromsgrove Sporting the previous weekend.
Their visitors rarely troubled the Berko goal, with the defence snuffing out any threat before they could get shots in.
In a largely uneventful first-half, Towell broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when volleying home with a low shot from Lacey’s cross from the left.
In the second period Berkhamsted attacked the canal end with good movement up front and moved up the gears.
Lacey, who signed from Leverstock Green in November, converted with a shot to make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
And it became 3-0 just five minutes’ later when a Towell strike finished off an excellent team goal with passing moves straight off the training ground involving Lacey and striker Matt Bateman that carved open the Dunstable defence.
There could have been further goals for Berko with Max Farrelly thundering a header against the bar and Town keeper Charlie Black doing well to save Lacey’s shot from the rebound.
With the maximum points in the bag, Berko boss Steve Bateman was able to give important game time to players returning from injury or illness in Ryan Plowright and Liam McCrohan.
It was Berko’s first league double of the season, after they beat Dunstable in the reverse fixture away 1-0 back in November.
Town’s manager Tony McCool quit after the defeat, which saw his team slip into the bottom four.
Berko: Comas, Stevenson, Murphy, (Plowright), Farrelly, Kinnane, Toomey, Towell (Adams), Godfrey (McCrohan), Bateman, Lacey, Summerfield. Subs not used: Austin and Weatherill.
The Comrades were due to be in action again last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press when hosting Stevenage in the second round of the Herts Senior Cup.
Dan Jones was possibly set for a return to fitness but Lacey was available.
On Saturday Berko then visit relegation-threatened North Leigh. The visitors will be hoping to complete their second league double of the season against the bottom-but-one team.
The reverse fixture saw Berko win 3-1 in October at Broadwater.
Lacey should return for that league clash.
In other club news, Berko’s new younger development team slipped up 3-2 at Buckingham Athletic. They are now second in the division.
The Berko under-15s won 3-1 at Hertford Town on Sunday with two goals from Jamie Hanlon and a solo effort by Harley Sells. The win solidified Berko’s hold on the top spot in the Eastern Junior Alliance table.
On Saturday Berko’s development team entertain Biggleswade United.
The under-18s host Kings Langley next Wednesday, January 23, in their first game since the festive break.