On a ridiculously cold night for April on Wednesday, Berkhamsted Raiders Under-12 Greens gave a performance that warmed the soul in a 7-0 win over Langleybury.
In the first half particularly Raiders were unplayable at times as they pulled the visitors’ defence all over the place with sublime moves. Langleybury are a strong and direct side, but the Greens defence was commanding throughout.
Raiders flew out of the blocks and got an early goal. Finnlee Ferguson was fouled and his free-kick was blocked by the keeper but Liam French rammed the loose ball home.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0, a mature ball by Oli Sharpling found Ferguson who slid it under the keeper. The third came after 19 minutes, Ferguson turning to meet Beau Kempster’s corner which the keeper parried, and Noah Dix netted the loose ball.
The Greens were looked dangerous with every attack, making it 4-0 after 23 minutes with a goal similar to their second. This time Dix lobbed pass which Ferguson lifted over the keeper.
On the stroke of half-time Dix set up the fifth, his pass set up Marcus Aspell to score with a cool finish.
Langleybury barely sighted the Raiders goal, and any hopes they had of a second-half revival ended seven minutes after the restart. Aspell gathered a pass on the edge of the box and drilled a cracking angled drive into the far corner to make it 6-0.
Only once did the visitors get a clear sight of goal, and Dan Lawrence stood up well before palming the ball to safety.
The seventh came three minutes from time, Langleybury half-cleared a cross and French struck it first time, his shot still rising as it flew into the net.
It was a truly excellent performance, yet just four days later Raiders fell below their usual high standards as they slipped to only their third league defeat of the season, 4-3 at Abbots Youth Red. The hosts played to their strengths and never allowed Berko to find a rhythm. A hat-trick of superb strikes from distance from Aspell meant Raiders were in with a shout, but just fell short.