Win keeps Berko 10 points ahead

Old Bradwell United 0-3 Berkhamsted

by Grant Hastie

Top of the table Berkhamsted had a comfortable win against the bottom club on a wet pitch at Old Bradwell on Saturday.

Injuries forced manager Mick Vipond to make three changes from the side that beat second-placed Padbury United 3-0 in midweek. Adam Mead, Ed Gerrard and Mitchell Hamilton won recalls at the expense of the injured trio of James Armstrong, Tony Burnett and Steve Hawes.

It took only eight minutes for the visitors to open the scoring when a free kick was only half cleared and Luke Bartlett pounced to fire home the first goal.

The skilful trio of Adam Mead, Lawrence Bunker and Mitchell Hamilton all seemed to be able to beat their men at will and it was astonishing that there were no more goals in the first half. Aden Turner was kept busy in the home goal, but too often shots were off target or the final ball let the visitors down on a tricky surface. Three times Mead skipped through the defence only to shoot wide and Colin Wilson and Bunker also fired wide.

In the second half Ed Gerrard got in three shots but again none were on target. Hamilton got to grips with a bouncing ball and released Bunker in the 53rd minute who shot home the second goal.

Bunker is on a purple streak at the moment scoring in every one of the 11 games he has played since joining from Pitstone & Ivinghoe. In the 68th minute he netted again when he beat two players and shot past Turner to make it 3-0.

Mead had a shot blocked, Simon Carmichael came up and crossed for Bunker to head but again Turner saved.

Hamilton went on a mazy run and fed Bunker but there was no hat trick as the ball went over the bar.

Mead was next to set up Bunker but again Turner saved.

Substitute Will Hattan came on for his debut after signing form Tring Corinthians and he headed just wide as the 4th goal just would not come despite all the possession that the visitors enjoyed.

The defence kept their 3rd consecutive clean sheet with Graeme Milner again not having to make a real save all game with the back four rarely troubled.

The top four all won on Easter Saturday, so Berko stay 10 points clear. However, their nearest three rivals are in action on Easter Monday, so the lead is likely to be cut as the games in hand begin to be used up.

Team: Milner; Groves (Hattan), Bartlett (Chapman), S Carmichael, J Carmichael, Wilson, (Mortimer), Gerrard, Mead, Bunker, Hamilton, Rodrigoe. Subs not used: Beamish and Burnett.

Berko’s reserves stayed 6th with a fine 2-1 win at home to The 61 FC Luton.

On Saturday leaders Berkhamsted entertain 3rd placed Wodson Park at Broadwater in their penultimate home match of the season. The Comrades are still smarting from the way they were dumped out of the Herts Senior Trophy 5-2 when they last met Wodson Park and will be keen for revenge.

Mick Vipond should have a more complete squad to pick from for this one. Top scoring duo James Armstrong and Tony Burnett could be back after injury as well as midfielder Steve Hawes.

On Tuesday 13th Berko go to Pitstone and Ivinghoe (ko 6.30pm). This is the first of a tricky run of four consecutive away games that are vital to the Comrades’ title ambitions. The sides have already met three times this season with Berko winning all of them but only by narrow margins.

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