Berkhamsted FC coach Tommy Garratt described Josh Chamberlain as a ‘playing gem’ after watching the youngster score a wondergoal in Saturday’s FA Vase win over AFC Kempston Rovers.
The scores were locked at 1-1 when Chamberlain received the ball inside his own half, beat two men, and then launched a stunning David Beckham-esque effort from the halfway line into the net.
That gave Berko the platform they needed to go on and record a 3-1 victory to book their place in the last-64 of the prestigious competition.
A video of the goal has since gone viral, but Garratt insists he wasn’t surprised to see his young charge produce a moment of such quality.
“All in all with the difficult winter period coming up the team are going well, with every player in the squad working hard,” said Garratt.
“But the season is so long and tough that it’s foolish getting carried away with things – that’s almost happened this week after Josh’s long range goal which, after making its way onto Twitter, has gone viral around the world.
“What makes me laugh is that, for all the 15 minutes’ fame the club and Josh especially is getting, I’ve actually seen Josh do that three times now in eight months.
“If I’m honest, Saturday’s goal wasn’t even the best of the bunch. People forget that at our level we have these little playing gems that just lack that little something to push them on to the professional level, but every now and again they’ll produce something we’d all be happy to pay money to see down at Vicarage Road.
“Every team has them at our level, and it’s our job to manage the situations when they arise and to primarily keep the players grounded – but also encourage them to push themselves further and achieve those ambitions.
“Josh is a sensible lad and, for all the media attention this has brought, he’ll be at training this week moaning about having to run in the rain and working on his set pieces.
People forget that at our level we have these little playing gems that just lack that little something to push them on to the professional level.Berkhamsted FC head coach Tommy Garratt
“It’ll be a huge compliment if one of our players gets picked up at a higher level again, as did Connor Calcutt who signed professional terms after playing with Berkhamsted not so long ago.
“We’d never hold a player back from playing at a higher level – in fact as a club we’d feel rightly hugely proud to have been part of that player’s progression, but right they now all need to concentrate on Berkhamsted and turning up and playing consistently well for us week in week out.
“Like the great Bill Nicholson said, ‘It’s better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low’, but let’s keep those feet firmly on the ground and celebrate if that day comes.”
Looking back on the last few weeks of the season, Garratt continued: “A few weeks ago we played Northampton Spencer in the Vase and, although they provided a tough test, we ran out comfortable winners in a 5-1 result.
“The Tuesday afterwards we played local rivals Kings Langley who won our league last year and we managed to run out 4-1 winners. Even before they went down to 10 men I thought we always looked like winning the game; it just felt like we approached the game with the right mentality.
“Next up were two huge league fixtures for us, but playing the top two within four days saw us fall just short of what we wanted.
“AFC Dunstable were top at the time, had not been beaten all season and the extra spice of a few players leaving us to play for them this season made our 2-1 win very enjoyable.
“It was a game that saw the strength of our squad tested to the full and they came through it with bells on top.
“That put us in good stead for the London Colney game on the following Tuesday night but we got brought down to earth in a big way.
“London Colney in all fairness out played us in every department and, had they been better up front, would have run away with the game instead of just the 1-0 loss.
“It shows that no matter what we have to deliver consistently, game in game out, in this league if we’re going to achieve anywhere near our ambitions this season.
“We’ve since beaten a very good Hadley side in the league who, managed by Micky Hazard, are probably the best passing side in our league at the moment.”
Next up for Berko is a trip to Hoddesdon town in another important SSML Premier Division clash.