Comrades out the cup

Berkhamsted 1-3 Padbury United

by Grant Hastie

Padbury notched their second win over Berkhamsted this season in an ill tempered match at sunny Broadwater on Saturday to win through to the semi final of the Anagram Records Trophy.

Skipper Nick Hughes, the visitor’s most impressive player, opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute when he capitalised on a poor clearance. Berko’s leading scorer James Armstrong, almost struck back immediately, racing clear into the penalty area, but he knocked the ball too far in front of him and Andrew Paltrow in the visitors’ goal collected the ball.

Dan Rothery was the first of five of the visiting side to go in the book and he went on to commit another couple of serious fouls that were punished with free kicks, but amazingly he stayed on the pitch until half time when his manager substituted him. Antony Beamish was also booked for a foul that was to prove expensive in the second half.

On the footballing front Lawrence Bunker earned a corner with a fine shot at the canal end whilst at the railway end Lee White hit  a free kick past the post. Paltrow saved well next time Armstrong broke through. Berko equalised with 5 minutes left in the first half, after a clumsy challenge brought a penalty which Bunker dispatched clinically. Visiting goalkeeper Andy Partlow, and fellow defenders Paul Ericson picking up yellow cards in this incident.

However, Berko were not level for long as early in the second half Dominic Lawless scored after the Comrades failed to clear their lines, when he pounced on a loose ball after Graeme Milner had saved the initial attack. Armstrong hit the side netting as Berko tried hard to equalise. However, Milner was booked when he brought down Lawless to concede a penalty, which after dusting himself down Lawless duly converted. That was effectively game over in a second half that produced few clear cut chances.

Bunker headed over the bar at the railway end for the Comrades. Adam Mead came on for Jamie Gavin and Sukure Ebi for Ed Gerrard but the home side still made little headway. They were then reduced to 10 men when Beamish went in for a header and caught Palrow as he collected the ball. As it was his second booking of the game he went for the early shower. Ebi did hit the bar with a good header but the rebound was scrambled clear. Shane Newman was the last player to pick up a booking as the game ended quietly.

Berko’s third cup exit in a month leaves them free to concentrate on gaining promotion in the league. Wodson Park won on Saturday, to move into second spot, cutting Berko’s lead at the top to just two points.

Team: Milner; Gavin (Mead), Bartlett, Chapman,  Beamish, Wilson, Gerrard, (Ebi), Hawes, Armstrong, Bunker, Rodrigoe. Subs not used: Groves and Boad.

Berko’s reserves went down 1-0 at Hatfield Town.

On Saturday, top of the table Berkhamsted go to 6th placed MK Wanderers k.o.3p.m. Mick Vipond will be hoping that his side can earn some league points after a couple of cup exits. He may have more to pick from as forward Tony Burnett may get over a groin strain and Mitch Hamilton could be back after missing the last game through being cup tied.

Berkhamsted’s reserves are at home To Buckingham Athletic on Saturday.

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