Berko got over the shock of conceding a first minute goal and came back well to earn a replay in Saturday’s FA Cup with Budweiser tie. Hoddesdon named the same 11 that knocked Tring out of the Herts. Charity Shield last week. Berko’s reshaped defence had not had time to settle when home skipper Gary Simmonds ran down the middle and lobbed the advancing Carl Tasker to open the scoring in a match played in the baking sun at Waltham Abbey’s ground. Almost immediately Lawrence Bunker put the ball in the net from a Connor Calcutt cross, but it did not count and may have been offside, so the play resumed with a free kick to Berko for a foul in the build up.


It was a very open game with Tasker several times saving the Comrades from shots by Jamie Brandon and Tony Neilson. Reece Buck was also kept busy at the other end, foiling Bunker and Calcutt. His best save was just before the interval when Josh Chamberlain played in Bunker, whose shot was heading inside the post until Reece amazingly tipped it for a corner with a last gasp dive.


Early in the second half Calcutt should have equalised for Berko when he broke free with just the advancing Reece to beat, but his lob cleared the bar. Meanwhile Pete Sawyer shot wide at the back post. Berko were having the batter of the second half and had had another potential equaliser chalked off when Bunker headed home from a Calcutt cross after good work by Frankie Jowle. Another phenomenal save from Reece foiled Chamberlain from the left of the penalty area. Aaron Usmani replaced Chamberlain and immediately Berko got the overdue leveller. Jon Stevenson tripped the turning Bunker, who picked himself up and safely tucked away the penalty with half an hour remaining. Town’s Damien Thomas was then booked for continuing his protest about the award of the spot kick.


It was an end to end game with chances a plenty. Brandon headed wide for Town and Berko brought on Lewis Pritchard as they went for the winner whilst Town brought on ex Tring veteran scorer Ryan Redford. The most controversial moment was when the referee awarded a penalty when Tasker came racing out of his goal and won the tackle with a forward, who then went down in the box, but after consultation with his assistant a drop ball was awarded. The two sides try again on Tuesday night at Broadwater. The eventual winners will be at home to Hadley who ko’s Hertford Town 2-0 on Saturday.


Team: Tasker; Gavin, Rodrigoe, Moriarty(Preston), Ashby, Frederick, Jowle, Griggs, Calcutt(Pritchard), Bunker, Chamberlain (Usmani). Subs not used Creasy & Femiola.


Meanwhile at Broadwater, Berko’s reserve side won their final friendly 4-1 against Pitstone & Ivinghoe with Adam King achieving a rare feat by netting a hat trick of penalties. Michael Adeyemi got the other home goal.


Kieron Turner and Ashley Morrison got the Berko under 18s goals in a friendly 2-2 draw at Tring Athletic.


Tuesday 14th’s FA Cup replay means that when Berko finally get down to league action they face two consecutive away Premier division games in the Spartan South Midlands League. On Saturday they travel to Hertford Town and on Tuesday 21st go to London Colney.


By contrast Berko’s reserve side face two home games to start their Suburban League North season. On Saturday they entertain Ashford Town (Middlesex) and on Wednesday evening Barton Rovers come to Broadwater.





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