Berko increase lead at top

Berko's Alex Campana was a big factor against Tring Athletic. (Picture by Ray Canham)
Berko's Alex Campana was a big factor against Tring Athletic. (Picture by Ray Canham)

Berkhamsted dropped points at Crawley Green but still sit atop the league standings by four points from Welwyn.

The league leaders Berko will be wondering how they did not beat lowly Crawley Green at Barton’s ground after Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

Part of the answer was the usual host of missed chances, but Crawley’s player-manager Dean Bull was also a reason. He was in inspired form, pulling off several top-drawer saves as well as riding his luck.

The home side also had the brains to not bring down Berko’s wing backs Ashley Morrissey and Alex Campana, who dribbled past their full backs almost at will, when many other teams would have conceded penalties and free-kicks around the danger zone.

Morrissey started brightly on the left and Ashton Campbell played in Ben Bateman but his early shot was deflected for a corner.

Berko opened the scoring from a Dan Jones corner 
that found its way to 
skipper Jon Munday, who shot home his eighth goal of the season in the 15th minute.

Bull went on to save with his legs from a shot by Campbell, Stacey Field and Munday headed over the bar and Campana went round five men but his left foot shot drifted wide.

Bull then saved from Bateman and Campbell.

Charlie Clayton put a 35-yard free-kick wide and was foiled by Berko keeper Carl Tasker, who raced outside of his area to just intercept a long ball from Bull to Clayton.

Berko went into the half-time break one goal ahead.

The killer goal was proving elusive in the second period and with Bateman getting an injury, Berko brought on Josh Chamberlain.

Campbell broke clear and should have shot but his attempted pass was intercepted.

Soon after he was replaced by Chris Blunden, who is still looking for his first goal since signing from Tring Athletic last month.

Bull saved one Blunden shot brilliantly and there was a mystery infringement the referee spotted when Blunden broke clear of the last defender.

Bull denied Campana, Field and then Blunden with his legs.

In the final minute Crawley pushed an extra man down the hill and a misjudgment led to a free-kick. The equaliser was netted by veteran Terry Billy with one of their few shots on target.

Conceding the late goal cost the Comrades two valuable points.

However, the point earned increased Berko’s lead at the top of the table to four points as second-placed Welwyn Garden City lost their unbeaten record on Saturday when going down 1-0 at third-placed Biggleswade.

Berko: Tasker, Campana, Weeks, Hawes, Munday, Mead, Jones, Ben Bateman (Chamberlain), Field, Campbell (Blunden), Morrissey.

Subs not used: Farrelly, Stevens and Thompson.

Last night (Tuesday) Berko were due to travel to Tring Athletic for a quarter-final clash in the Herts Charity Shield in a repeat of last season’s final.

Then on Saturday Berko will be looking to reach the last 64 of the Buildbase FA Vase when they visit Enfield Borough. The club are running a coach to the game, leaving Broadwater at 12.15pm. Seats can be booked in advance via chairman Steve Davis.