Berko went out of the FA Cup on Saturday to the Central division leaders, who netted three goals in each half. There was not much difference between the skill of the two sides but Daventry were more ruthless in front of goal and better at punishing errors. So the day ended in disappointment for the large Berko support that had travelled up to the midlands in hope of an upset.

Dale Sears came in at centre half in place of the unavailable Ed Canham and Connor Calcutt was judged fit enough to return, but had to retire with a recurrence of his ankle problem early in the second half.

The home side opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Scott Cross got round the back of the defence and laid the ball for Mykel Beckley who managed to find a tiny gap to steer his shot through. James Bent shot over for Berko who were playing down the hill in the first half after Calcutt brought the ball down. Frankie Jowle was giving Josh Blake a tough time on the right flank but shot over. He also shot across the goal when Calcutt again created the chance. A trip in the penalty area on Calcutt allowed Berko to equalise. However Herbie Schotterl dived to save Bent’s spot kick but Bent was first to the loose ball and crossed it back for Sears to head in via the underside of the bar for his first goal of the season. Dan Griggs had a shot kicked off the line as at this point Berko sensed they could cause an upset. However, any such thoughts were banished when they got punished for not clearing their lines and conceded two goals in the five minutes before the interval.  Cross got behind his marker to put Daventry back in front Neil King blasted the third with a low shot from 20 yards when the ball broke to him on the edge of the area. Within 5 minutes of the restart Bekim Culaj came on for the injured Calcutt and Carl Tasker saved well from another King shot.

Griggs had a couple of shots in quick succession charged down. Beckley converted a cross to make it 4-1 and Berko survived a penalty appeal for handball against Griggs. Micky Vipond threw on a couple of substitutes to try and salvage something but Daventry also introduced fresh legs. Two more goals in the last 10 minutes left the home side with a flattering score-line. Ross Oulton scoring the 5th and substitute Deqwan Ebanks got on the end of a long ball to complete the scoring. Berko still had a few chances with Culaj cutting in from the left after beating two men but he shot over as did Chamberlain when he got past the defenders and ran clear up the hill.

Berko: Tasker; Gavin, Copson(Frederick), Rodrigoe, Sears, Hawes,Jowle (Morrissey), Griggs, Calcutt(Culaj) Bent, Chamberlain. Substitutes not used Calverley & Towell).

In the reserve derby Tring Athletic took the lead at Berko with a Ryan Caterer goal in the first half. A super strike from Lewis Stafford equalised but with 15 minute left Athletic’s Chris Clark hit the winner with more than a suspicion of hand ball on the blind side of the match officials. The result left Berko regretting a string of missed chances.

There was some good news for Berko on Saturday as two of the three teams above them lost in the Premier division. There is an opportunity to close the gap as the Comrades have games in hand to play in midweek. On Tuesday 17th Berko are at Oxhey Jets who to have lost a lot of players from last season’s promotion chasing side  k.o.7:30pm. On Wednesday 25th Berko go to AFC Dunstable for a vital match as they lie third in the table just above the Broadwater side by a point. Inbetween those matches on Saturday 21st Berko will be in FA Carlsberg Vase action at home to United Counties League side Buckingham Town ko 3pm in their last chance to reach Wembley this season.

It is the 1st leg of the Suburban League Cup on Wednesday 18th when Berko travel to Ashford Town (Middlesex). Then on Saturday it is back to league action at Dunstable Town.

Berko’s under 18 side have two home games in 7 days facing Chesham United in the league on Wednesday 18th and follow it on Tuesday 24 th with a home FA Youth Cup tie with Ashford Town (Middlesex). .

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