Berkhamsted join the 100-club in score draw at Stotfold

Jay Caines had the best of the chances for Berko
Jay Caines had the best of the chances for Berko

Berkhamsted reached the 100-goal landmark in a 2-2 draw with Stotfold in the SSML Premier Division on Saturday – becoming only the second side in the division to do so this season.

Berko manager Mick Vipond had to make a change to his starting XI, with leading scorer BJ Christie suspended, so he brought in reserve top scorer Jay Caines who responded by scoring one goal and creating the other for the Comrades.

It was hosts Stotfold who took the lead early in the game when the Berko defenders were too far from each other, allowing Adam Pennington to fire home the first goal.

A bone-hard, bobbly pitch on a hot day did not make for passing football, and Berko were restricted to just a few half-chances.

Adiel Mannion fired a couple of efforts over the bar from outside the penalty, while Stotfold keeper Adam Harpur was forced into one decent stop.

However, Berko gave a better account of themselves in the second half and turned the game around.

Josh Chamberlain headed over the bar, before Lewis Rodrigoe came forward and volleyed over from a cross by Mannion.

The pressure was beginning to tell, and the diminutive Caines managed to get past the challenge of a big defender before shooting past Harpur for the equaliser.

He then went up the right wing and pulled the ball back for Chamberlain who arrived to shoot Berko into the lead with their 100th league goal of the season.

Apart from Kings Langley, they are the only side to have reached that landmark so far.

However, the team’s problems at the other end continued as a long, high shot from substitute Mark Ellis seemed to be covered by Carl Tasker, but it went over him for the equaliser.

Stotfold went on to hit the bar, but the game ended as a draw – not a result that has been seen very often by Berko fans this season.

Berko: 1 Tasker, 2 Massay, 3 Rodrigoe, 4 Baldry, 5 Canham, 6 Hawes (Osborne), 7 Jowle, 8 Farrelly, 9 Caines, 10 Mannion, 11 Chamberlain.

Berko’s reserve side take pride of place this week – if they win their last game of the season at Newport Pagnell Town on Tuesday night they will take the Suburban North title.

Berko’s final two first team league games of the season are away to Harefield United on Saturday and Cockfosters the following Tuesday.

BJ Christie misses the Harefield fixture through suspension, but he should be back for the Cockfosters game. Ashley Morrissey and Che To have both got injuries but may be fit to return after a week’s rest.