Berkhamsted notched their biggest win of the season on Saturday as Adiel Mannion helped himself to five goals in a 7-1 victory against bottom of the table Bedford.
Fans need to get to Broadwater early these days as, just like against Wembley in their last match, Berko were 3-0 up within a dozen minutes of the game starting.
A defensive slip gave Mannion a chance and he tapped home the opening goal in the fourth minute, before a splendid long shot from Josh Chamberlain doubled the lead.
Mannion then converted a Chamberlain cross as Berko scored their third and ran riot in the opening stages.
Berko were four goals to the good at half-time as Frankie Jowle popped up on the left wing, and Chamberlain got his second goal by converting the cross.
Berko’s reserve goalkeeper Luke Midwinter took over between the sticks from Carl Tasker at the interval, but he was soon fishing the ball out of the net as a shot by Marcus Campbell from the edge of the penalty area bounced cruelly to make it 4-1.
The four-goal lead was soon restored as Mannion grabbed his hat-trick; he conjured up the goal with an ankle flick to control the ball and then ran on to blast a fierce shot past Ross Tompkins.
An amazing lob from the right wing by Mannion then made it 6-1 as he caught out Tompkins, who back pedalled but could not reach it.
Berko’s top scorer Bradley O’Donovan marked his return after injury with an appearance as substitute, and he was soon in the thick of the action.
In four separate moves, he rattled the angle of bar and post, hit the post again twice and squared for fellow sub Jay Caines to net, but that one was disallowed for offside.
That man Mannion took his personal haul to five goals and rounded off the scoring with another neat finish to make the final tally 7-1, meaning that Berko now have the best goal difference in the SSML Premier Division.
With Hertford Town losing on Saturday, Berko regained third spot in the Premier Division table.
Berko: Tasker (Midwinter), Farrelly, Weeks, Baldry (Caines), Sears ,Rodrigoe, Jowle (O’Donovan), Hawes, Mannion, Chamberlain, Nash-Barker. Subs not used: Canham & Edwards.
Elsewhere, Berko progressed in the Herts Intermediate Cup on Saturday with a penalty shoot-out win over Hertford Town’s U21 side.
Berko’s goals in normal time came from Tom Garraway and Ross Trevillion to make it 2-2.
In extra-time Hertford scored at both ends to make it 3-3, while the shoot-out was 8-7 in Berko’s favour. They will be away again to FC Lemsford in the next round on November 14.
Berkhamsted are still in three cups and take a rest from league action to play in each of them in an eight-day spell to see if they can progress further.
The Challenge Trophy is the biggest of the Spartan South Midlands League’s Cups and Berko travel to second placed London Colney tomorrow.
The FA Vase is a national competition with its final played at Wembley. Berko have got through the qualifying rounds of the Vase and face Northampton Spencer on Saturday. Berko’s Broadwater ground is expected to be busy for that one with a 3pm kick-off.
If they are level after extra-time, there is a replay which would be away on Tuesday, November 3.
Otherwise that night at 7.45pm Berko have a cracking local derby at home to Kings Langley in the Herts Senior Cup. The reward for the winners of that game is a home match with Watford in the next round.
In the Suburban League North, Berko’s reserve side go to Biggleswade United on Saturday.