Berko were left scratching their heads as to how they went out of the FA Carlsberg Vase on Saturday. The short answer is teenage substitute Liam Nash scored five minutes from the end of extra time with a rare shot for Sports, whilst Berko drew a blank after scoring in every one of their previous 25 games.

A coach breakdown meant Berko’s good away support did not arrive until shortly before the kick off. Berko  were at full strength apart from the ill Ben Butler and camped in the Hullbridge half for much of the first 45 minutes. Most Berko players could beat their man, but kept finding another defender popping up to stop the dribbles or intercept the final pass with a massed defence. Jordon Frederick, Josh Chamberlain and the overlapping Lewis Rodrigoe were prominent in attack with Frederick going past many men but being denied. A silly hand ball gave Berko a free kick in a great position but Connor Calcutt put it over the bar.

Berko were optimistic that they would go on to win in the second half and produced more clear chances playing uphill. Bobby Mason pulled off two fine saves around the hour mark to keep out headers from Chamberlain after good crosses from the right by Dan Griggs and Frankie Jowle. Jamie Gavin, Calcutt and Chamberlain all shot wide as the pressure mounted. At the other end an overhead kick on his own line from Rodrigoe saved Berko.  Steve Hawes , Frederick and Dale Sears all got booked in a match that featured many sliding tackles in the long grass and soft ground.

Mick Vipond brought on James Bent and James Towell to try and pep things up with 10 minutes of normal time left. Towell headed over from a flick on by Ed Canham from a long Chamberlain throw. Steve Hawes broke away but shot wide when he looked likely to score.

Chamberlain was getting plenty practice taking corners particularly in extra tine, but when Canham and Sears reached them, they were off target. Then came the break away goal down the hill from Nash who went down the left and shot under Carl Tasker, who had slipped on the tricky surface. That sent the home bench on a celebration run to the other side of the pitch, incurring the wrath of the referee, who issued many cards, on top of the ones he had already given the home side for earlier dissent and fouls.

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

Berko’s reserve side went two goals up in the first half of their cup tie with Farnham Town but were pegged back to 2-2 at the end of the first leg at Broadwater.

Thursday’s night’s midweek under 18 game at home to Kings Langley kept the large crowd well entertained. Kings Langley were coasting at 4-1 up only to find Berko pulling back to 4-4 before a cruel deflation made the final score 5-4 to the visitors. Berko’s goals came from Kai Lewis, Jay Caines (2 including a stunning free kick) and Dan Burley. Berko hit the bar and the post in the closing stages too.


Berko begin their defence of the St Marys Cup at home to Hemel Hempstead Rovers on Tuesday 29th ko 7:45pm-admission is half the normal first team price. They then play Holmer Green twice, in a home league game on Saturday 23rd and then away on Tuesday 26th in the Challenge Trophy.

Berko go to Tring Athletic reserves in a Suburban League North game on Saturday 23rd.


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