Berkhamsted 1 – 2 Oxhey Jets

by Grant Hastie

The Comrades bid to reach their first cup final was unsuccessful on a cold Tuesday night, with Premier division Oxhey Jets going through on the strength of a strong first half performance to a final with Hemel Hempstead Town or Leverstock Green.

Mick Vipond made a couple of changes for this game starting Lawrence Bunker in place of top scorer James Armstrong, who was carrying a knock, and recalling Lee Groves in place of Steve Boad.

At the railway end, Sam Styles pulled off a vital fine interception of a cross from Tony Burnett, when there were players queuing at the backpost to add the finishing touch.

Little Lee Grace opened the scoring for the visitors in the 25th minute when he cut in from the left wing and shot low past Graeme Milner, and an Adam Mead shot went wide at the other end.

Milner had to be at his best to tip a tremendous drive from Jets top scorer Luke Bearsworth over the bar for a corner.

It was Lee Armitt who fired the vital goal in the last minute  to give Jets a psychologically important two goal lead at the interval.

After an interval rollicking, Berkhamsted did better in the second half and pulled a goal back within five minutes. Styles did enough to stop Bunker’s first shot but was powerless to prevent him netting the rebound at the canal end.

Hard as Berko tried they could not force an equaliser. A foul on Bunker earned a free kick but Mead’s shot was just off target. Jamie Gavin did bundle the ball in the net from a Mead cross for Berkhamsted but it was chalked off for a foul because Burnett had impeded Styles.

In fact it as Jets who hit the post in the closing stages and there was one almighty scramble in the Berko goalmouth where their finishing let them down.

On this occasion the two division gap was too much for Berkhamsted to bridge. However, they have beaten two Premier sides this season in Oxhey and Tring and now lost two to Oxhey and Brimsdown, which is not a bad return for a side that has had to start life two divisons lower.

Team: Milner; Wilson, Rodrigoe, Hawes, Beamish, Gerrard (Armstrong),  J Gavin (Chapman), Mead, Bunker, Burnett, Groves. Subs not used: Chandler & Boad.

Berkhamsted continue their run of home games when they entertain last season’s champions the 61 FC (Luton) at Broadwater on Saturday kick off 3pm. They will be hoping to again increase their lead at the top of the table.

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