Berko show fight to see off nine-man AFC

BERKHAMSTED scored three late goals to overcome AFC Dunstable 4-1 in a fiery encounter at Broadwater on Saturday.

The visitors ended the game with nine men, but it took three Berko goals in the last 15 minutes of the game to secure the win for Mick Vipond’s side.

The tone for a dramatic match was set early on, when an injury to visiting keeper Nick Gardner after a challenge with Simon Carmicheal led to a Dunstable outfield player taking over in goal.

And soon after, the visitors were reduced to 10 men following a melee in which a punch was thrown.

Danny Ryan saw red for the visitors, and minutes later, Berko took the lead courtesy of an Anthony Page header.

10 minutes after half-time, Dunstable received their second red card of the match when Lee Loadsby felled James Armstrong to earn his second booking.

But moments later, the nine-man visitors shocked Berko by netting an equaliser as James Baldry headed past Ed Farmer.

Mick Vipond responded by introducing Tony Burnett and Adam Mead, but it looked as though the visitors were going to hold on for an unlikely point.

The Comrades, though, continued to press forward, and made the decisive breakthrough courtesy of Armstrong’s 32nd goal of the season.

And the front man did not have to wait long for his 33rd as he fired home to give Berko a two-goal cushion, before Page wrapped up the win with his second goal of the game.

Berko were the only top-four team to register a win at the weekend, and the result strengthened their position at the top of the table.

Boss Vipond was delighted with the win, but admitted the match was a fiery encounter.

“It was a bit of a frantic first 45 minutes,” he said. “It all started with a challenge from our centre-half on their keeper - nothing malicious - and from then on it got very silly.

“The first half became a bit of a nonsense, I never like to see players getting sent off to be honest. The teams lost discipline and forgot to play football.”

Vipond also suggested that, despite the scoreline, it was a difficult match for his side. “Every game we have played this season has been tough,” he said.

“Saturday was just about us being patient. It was a massive three points for us because they are one of the teams who could still catch us.”