GREAT WEEK FOR BERKO

BERKHAMSTED 3 AFC DUNSTABLE 2
Berko completed a league double over AFC Dunstable on Saturday in a thoroughly entertaining game at Broadwater. There was a dramatic start to the game with a handball appeal for a penalty being turned down. Carl Tasker did concede an actual penalty by making contact at the feet of a forward, but he soon made amends by saving the resulting spot kick, with a full length dive to tip it onto the post and then it was cleared. Berko skipper Dale Sears gave Berko the lead in the 13th minute when an attack was only half cleared and he blasted the ball past Sam Leggett from the edge of the penalty area.
Craig Butler equalised in the 22nd minute when he perfectly curled a free kick around the defensive wall and into the corner of the net. Bekim Culaj clipped a free kick that drifted past the junction of bar and post as Berko pressed hard to get their noses back in front at the railway end. In the 36th minute Berko were ahead again thanks to a 20 yard super strike from Dan Griggs, that beat Leggett and went in just under the cross bar. Berko seem to have a weakness defending free kicks and they conceded their third at home this week when Butler again beat the wall and Tasker to make it 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining.
Myles Stephenson got booked for diving into a tackle and Adam Bevan was also cautioned for a foul as the game warmed up. Jason Blackett and Lee Butler seemed to have a running feud but it came to nothing. Mick Vipond freshened the team up with three substitutions and it paid dividends as they looked to grab the winner. A visiting defender panicked with just two minutes left by handling in the penalty area. Dan Griggs kept his cool despite a delay that saw Leggett booked, before he could take the spot kick which he went on to tuck in the corner of the net whilst sending Leggett the wrong way. Being in the lead for the third time in the match, Berko just had to run the clock down as there was little time for the visitors to recover. They duly held on for their first win of 2013 to move past Ampthill Town into 8th spot in the league table.
Tasker; Butler, (Frederick), Rodrigoe, Bevan, Griggs, Sears, Jowle(Chamberlain), Thompson, Stephenson, Calcutt (Pritchard), Culaj . Subs. Not used Gavin & Sedgley .
Berko’s reserves won 3-2 at second placed Harefield United on Saturday meaning Dave Walters’ side are now unbeaten in their last 8 outings. After conceding an early goal Berko equalised with a Jon Davies piledriver. James Towell ran clear to put Berko in front but United equalised just before half time. Berko were well on top on corners and Paul Branson headed the winner in the second half with Nathan Mattison on hand to make sure the ball went in.
Berko’s under 18s had a great result here on Thursday night when they knocked Corinthian division leaders Colney Heath (a Reading development side) out of the Brian Hitchings Cup. Things were not looking good when a 2-0 deficit from the first leg had become 4-1 down on aggregate by half time on Thursday. Mitchell Cole pulling it back to 2-1 on the night when he broke straight down the middle. Ashley Morrissey had a goal disallowed for offside and the visitors hit the bar in an eventful first half. It got even more exciting after the interval. After a couple of substitutions at half time from Joe Sweeney, Berko began to believe that they were the better team. Cole lashed home an equaliser in the second half and Connor Toomey then headed a goal. The visiting keeper brought down Cole after he had put the ball past him and was aiming to run it in. Ashley Morrissey scored from the resulting spot kick. Tommy Twelves and Spencer Warby also scored and the visiting goalkeeper got sent off for swearing near the end. A 6-2 win on the night, meant 6-4 on aggregate and an away quarter final tie at Chesham United or Oxhey Jets beckons.
Fixture news
Berko will be hoping the forecast snow disappears to allow their Spartan South Midlands Premier division match at Biggleswade United to go ahead on Tuesday 12th. On Saturday Berko are at home to bottom of the table Holmer Green ko3pm. They then have a run of three away games that starts with a trip to Leighton to play Aylesbury United on Wednesday 20th.
The reserve team are at Bedfont Spors in the Suburban North on Saturday and then move on to Shield action when they entertain Dunstable Town on Wednesday 20th.
The under 18 side have two Delohian division matches on successive Thursdays being at home to AllStars Academy on 14th and away to Chesham United on the 21st.

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