Comrades 7-2 Wodson Park

In the end Berkhamsted came out comfortably on top in Saturday’s clash between the two promoted teams making their debuts in division 1. However, there was little to choose between the teams in the first half. Visiting centre half Jack Friend got an early yellow card for fouling the speedy Aaron Usmani. Alert refereeing spotted some shirt puling in the penalty area at the railway end after quarter of an hour. Tony Burnett stepped up to open the scoring for the Comrades from the resulting spot kick. However, the lead only lasted 5 minutes as Colin Wilson levelled matters with an own goal that flew into the top corner as he swung a boot with the intention of  clearing the hedge at the canal end. Wilson went in the book for a foul soon after as he lost his composure.

Berkhamsted’s Adam Mead then seemed to be pushed in the back but this time there was no penalty awarded. Persistence from the debut making Usmani, Berko’s new signing from Aston Clinton, was rewarded as he netted the rebound after Craig Walker had saved his first shot as he broke free at pace in the penalty area just before the interval.

Early in the second half, few saw it but the eagle eyed official spied a Park defender pushing and Burnett again converted the penalty, showing he can knock spot kicks in either corner of the net. Burnett completed his hat trick around the hour mark with the goal of the game. James Armstrong found him on the left of the penalty area and he showed great skill to trick his way past the full back and smacked a fierce shot beyond Walker to make it 4-1. Walker saved from Burnett as he got his head to a deep cross from Jamie Gavin.

The visitors folded as Berko continued their onslaught but some pinball efforts on the goal line were eventually cleared. Armstrong made it 5-1 with a powerful half volley past Walker . Louis Rose got his head to a Mead corner but headed it past a startled Walker to make it 6-1. Whilst Park were still rattled, Armstrong crossed from the right wing and Usmani arrived to sweep the ball home at the far post. A repeat of last season’s 7-1 score-line was avoided when Steve Horsey got on the end of a corner to make it 7-2. Berko did not stop attacking and the cross bar stopped an 8th goal as a header from Armstrong rebounded after substitute Lee Groves overlapped from full back to provide the cross.

Manager Mick Vipond was pleased to get the season off to a winning start with his team looking solid at the back, dominating midfield and lethal in front of goal

Team; Farmer; Gavin ( Groves ), Wilson ( Bartlett ), J. Carmichael, S. Carmichael , Welling, Mead, Hawes,  Armstrong, Burnett ( Aquila ), Usmani.

Grant Hastie

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