Pitstone and Ivinghoe 1 – 2 Berkhamsted

by Grant Hastie

For the fourth time this season Berko came out narrowly on top against Pitstone to maintain their lead at the top of the division.

On Tuesday night they had to come from behind as Tom Elliott flighted a superb free kick past Graeme Milner into the top corner to give the home team the lead in the 12th minute after Luke Bartlett had fouled.

At the other end Lewis Rodrigoe fired a free kick from a similar position just over the bar after Mitch Hamilton was fouled. Ed Gerard headed wide from a cross by Rodrigoe as Berko battled to get even.

In the 28th minute Lawrence Bunker scored against his old club to level matters with the 100th league goal of the season for the Comrades when he headed home a cross by James Armstrong. Gerard did well to keep the ball in at the corner flag and he placed the ball back to Lee Groves whose cross found Armstrong and the top scorer reacted quickly when Joe Cox saved his first shot and then tapped home the rebound to put Berko in front at the interval.

Tony Burnett came on for Steve Hawes in the second half which proved to be goalless. Armstrong came closest- hitting the post in the gathering gloom. It was the 8th consecutive league win for Berkhamsted and the three points were vital as they guarantee a top three finish. The chasing pack all won on Tuesday night to keep the pressure up.

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

On Saturday Berkhamted go to Risborough Rangers and then on Tuesday 20th go to 2nd placed Aston Clinton k.o. 6:30 p.m. The latter match will have a vital bearing on the destination of the title. Aston Clinton are currently 7 points adrift of Berko but they do still have two games in hand, so the meeting of the top two is critical. After that match Berko will have just two games left this season. Berko’s midfield options are depleted with Colin Wilson and Jamie Gavin ruled out for the season with injury.

Berko’s reserve side are at Risborough Rangers on Thursday 15th and at home to Bletchley Town reserves on Saturday 17th April in their penultimate game of the season.

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