Comrades 3-1 Cuffley: match report

Berkhamsted manager Mick Vipond changed half the starting eleven that knocked the holders Tring Athletic out of the St Marys Cup in midweek, recalling the old Berko Town trio of Russell Chandler, Andy Chapman and Lee Groves as well as youngsters Adam Mead and Jon Davies. The strength of the squad was shown as the reshuffled pack again came up trumps- so the Comrades progressed to the quarter final of the Anagram Records Trophy. They had to do it the hard way as Herts. County Leaguers Cuffley took a 3rd minute lead when Matt Kearney headed home after getting on the end of a free kick.

The lead lasted only about 10 minutes as Mead equalised after controlling a cross from the right wing. Mead was hauled over for a penalty when he was bringing down the ball from a cross by James Armstrong. In the battle to be top scorer, Armstrong got ahead with his 23rd of the season from the spot kick to put Berko in front midway through the first half. Mead then had a goal disallowed for offside.

In the second half. Jon Davies playing up front for a change, beat several men on a mazy run from the right wing but shot over. Around the hour mark Berko clinched their quarter final place with a third goal. Skipper Anthony Beamish came up for a corner and beat keeper Tom Nolan to the ball. Steve Hawes scrambled home the loose ball at the second attempt. With the game won, Berko brought on three substitutes in Tony Burnett (who was only just fit after a back injury), the experienced Steve Flain and 17 year old George Ayhe. Burnett soon cleared the bar with a powerful 20 yard drive. Flain smashed a shot so hard past Nolan and against the post that it rebounded out 25 yards. Berko were really pressing now and Mead volleyed wide at the far post and Nolan saved in slow motion at the expense of a corner after a Mead cross set up Burnett.

The match was played in front of a trio from the Civic Centre including the Town mayor David Collins and Town Clerk Colin Westwood. It was the council’s first visit since helping with finance to set up the new club in the summer after the old Town club folded.

This was Berkhamsted’s 7th win on the trot, winning both their league games in November, as well as reaching two cup semi finals and one quarter final. Despite the diversion of all the cup success, Berko still head the league table, but their lead was cut to one point as the three teams immediately behind them all won on Saturday.

Team: Milner, Chandler, Rodrigoe, Chapman, Beamish,  Gerrard, Mead, Hawes, Armstrong (Ayhe), Davies(Flain), Groves (Burnett).

Subs not used. J.Gavin & Bailey

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