Berko move into playoff spot

Jonathan Lacey extended Berko's lead against Cambridge City on Saturday. (File picture by Ray Canham).
Jonathan Lacey extended Berko's lead against Cambridge City on Saturday. (File picture by Ray Canham).

Berkhamsted got back to winning ways on Saturday after five league draws on the trot when they beat Aylesbury United 3-0 and move into the final playoff position.

A Jonathan Lacey brace, including a superb headed goal, secured a fine win for Berkhamsted that stretched their unbeaten run to seven league games and moved The Comrades back into the playoff positions in fifth.

Berko boss Steve Bateman made four changes. Leading scorer Matt Bateman was unavailable, so Andrew Ofuso returned to the centre forward spot after a spell at Northwood. Max Farrelly returned to midfield after suspension in place of the retired Elliott Godfrey. Ben Spaul was unavailable and his midfield slot was filled by Connor Toomey, moving up from defence, and Ed Canham returned to the slot that released. Antonis Vasiliou also got his starting place back.

The revamped Berko side did well, with United rarely troubling the defence.

Just about the only worry was when the Berko keeper Xavi Comas-Leon punched instead of catching a high ball.

After a fairly quiet opening spell, Berko took the lead when ex-Comrade Anthony Ball inadvertently put the ball into the back of his own net after Lacey’s shot was saved by Ducks’ keeper Archie Davis on 20 minutes.

In the second-half Berkhamsted dominated and Lacey doubled Berko’s lead after Will Summerfield tricked his way along the byline and squared the ball for Lacey to score from close range on 50 minutes.

Berko brought on three substitutes to give them game time and went on to notch their third win this season over United.

Harry Jones struck a shot over the bar with one of United’s few chances as Berko kept a second consecutive home clean sheet.

After a rare foray forward, Comas-Leon had to tip a shot from United substitute Tre Mitford over the bar.

The victory was secured on 77 minutes when Lacey’s glancing header was a superb finish after excellent work from Vasiliou. The 16-year-old showed the merits of an early cross after getting round his full back on the right wing and picking out the onrushing Lacey, despite four United defenders being in the penalty area to outnumber Lacey four to one.

With Thame United losing on Saturday, Berko moved up into fifth spot in the Evo Stik Southern League Division One Central table, which is the last playoff position.

Berko v Aylesbury: Comas-Leon, Towell, Murphy, Farrelly, Kinnane, Canham, Vasiliou, Toomey, Ofuso (Dalton), Lacey (Simpson), Summerfield (Scott). Subs not used: Stevenson and Weatherill.

Berko make the trip to bottom-but-three side Yaxley this Saturday.

Supporters wanting to go on the coach should contact Steve Davis.