Berkhamsted 4 – 1 The 61 FC Luton

by Grant Hastie

Berkhamsted eventually salvaged a valuable point in a high scoring see-saw game at Broadwater on Saturday against the champions from last season, 61 FC Luton.

In the 18th minute, the ever-dangerous Arron Lewis beat the offside trap and got behind the home defence to put the visitors in front with a low shot past Daniel Noble at the canal end.

However, the lead was short lived as two minutes later, Tony Burnett went up the right wing and crossed for Lawrence Bunker who shot into the ground past Mick Smith for the equaliser at the railway end.

However by the 23rd minute Lewis had skipped past the right back and shot 61 FC back into the lead.

The goals continued as Berkhamsted again came back with Tony Butnett equalising with a speculative shot from the right wing that eluded Smith.

James Armstrong beat four men on a jinking run but blasted his shot wide so the teams went into the break on level terms.

In the second half an Armstrong corner was met by the head of Colin Wilson but a defender on the line headed clear. A fine pass from Steve Hawes freed Armstrong but his shot missed the target. For the only time in the match Berkhamsted went in front with the goal of the game, a volley from outside the penalty area by Hawes in the 71st minute.

However, the visitors were not to be denied and Lewis netted his hat-trick with a far post header from a left wing cross just 3 minutes later.

Currant Mutanga looked like stealing the points when he put Luton in front with just 6 minutes left, as he ran down the middle and calmly stroked a low shot past the advancing Noble.

You do not get to the top of the table by giving up. Berkastmed came roaring back and Armstrong seemed to be tripped in the penalty area but the referee waved play on.

However, Bunker had the last word, levelling the scores with a calm finish after being played in by Armstrong in the closing stages. The visitors were protesting it was offside, but the goal stood to the great relief of the Broadawter faithful.

A very entertaining game for the fans, but Mick Vipond was not amused by the performance of the home defence. With all their promotion rivals winning, it was bad day to drop two points, as Aston Clinton’s 10-1 demolition of bottom club Old Bradwell United leaves them just a point behind Berkahsmted with a game in hand.

Team; Noble; Wilson, Rodrigoe, Hawes, Beamish, Gerrard (Chapman), J Gavin, Bunker, Armstrong, Burnett, Mead (Groves). Sub: not used: Boad.

On Saturday Berkhamsted continue their home run when they entertain Bucks Students’ Union, with a 3pm kick off.

Graeme Milner should be available to return in goal. A home win means Berkhamsted will at least double their lead at the top of the table to two points as Aston Clinton are in Division Two cup action, playing at MK Wanderers in the semi-final of the Division Two Cup:  an interesting tie for locals as Berkhamsted are at home to Mursley United in the other semi final on Saturday 27th.

The reserve team are at Cranfield United on Saturday: ko 3pm.


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