Berko show they are up for the cup

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BERKHAMSTED recorded a 2-1 win over Harpenden to book their place in the Herts FA Senior Centenary Trophy semi-finals.

Goals from Matt Wardle and substitute James Armstrong were enough to clinch the win for Mick Vipond’s side, and sees them progress to the semi-final stage for the first time.

The Comrades will take on Letchworth Garden City Eagles on Saturday, February 19 as they look to advance to the final.

On a sodden Broadwater pitch, Berko looked the livelier of the two sides up front and created some good chances early on.

Tony Burnett threatened the Harpenden goal twice, sending a header just over before seeing a shot saved.

Simon Charmicheal had a penalty appeal waved away shortly after, following a surging run, as Berko cranked up the pressure to find the opening goal.

And it was not long before the pressure told. Chris Gregory clipped the bar with an acrobatic volley, before Wardle made the breakthrough with a firm header.

The hosts continued to attack, not content to sit back and defend their one-goal advantage, and Lee Groves and Burnett both had chances to double the lead.

Harpenden had a penalty appeal of their own ignored by the referee as they looked to find the equaliser, but Berko ended the half 1-0 up.

The Comrades came close to adding a second shortly after half-time when Gregory saw his effort rebound back off the inside of the post, and it was not long before they netted again.

Leading goalscorer Armstrong was introduced from the bench, and within three minutes he was on the score sheet via a free-kick.

Wardle was tripped 20-yards from goal, and Armstrong clipped the ball over the Harpenden wall and into the back of the net to put the hosts 2-0 ahead.

Berko were given something to think about late on when Harpenden pulled a goal back, but the hosts’ defence stood tall to repel a flurry of late corners and secure the victory.

Berko manager Vipond said: “We were the better side - we went 1-0 up and their keeper made some good saves.

“We were under pressure at the end but held on well.”