Berkhamsted FC had to work hard in their season-opener on Saturday but came away from North Leigh’s long-grassed pitch with a 2-1 victory.
It looked like it might be easy when Berko scored in the first few minutes when Jonathan Lacey tricked his way past two defenders at the byline and crossed for Lewis Toomey’s opener.
But it ended up being a much tougher affair.
Muhammed Otuyo saved well when Toomey nearly scored again after being released by Lacey and the latter went close with Saul Williams pulling the strings in midfield.
However, the hosts began to settle and Berko keeper Xavi Comas-Leon earned man of the match honours after pulling off some stunning saves.
He made good stops from Harry Grant, George Seacole and Callum McNish in the first-half.
Toomey lobbed a good chance over the bar after robbing full back Andy Gunn, before Joshua Dutton-Black beat several men and fired over the bar for Leigh in an end-to-end encounter.
The Comrades doubled their lead early in the second period when a defensive mix-up allowed Berko to win the ball back and Lacey calmly lobbed the ball over the keeper from 20 yards out. He also forced a good save out from Otuyo a few minutes’ later.
But the more physical hosts began to win most of the aerial battles and it was no surprise when Seacole made it 2-1 after the ball came to him after Berko had only half-cleared.
Berko substitute Kingsley Eshun rose to the physical challenge as they played out the time and Leigh were unable to turn their possession into goals.
The Comrades were due to be back in Southern League Division One Central action last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press when last season’s play-off side Bedford Town were the visitors to Broadwater.
The Bank Holiday weekend then brings two games in three days. This Saturday they visit Wembley in the FA Cup preliminary rounds, before a Hertfordshire derby on Bank Holiday Monday away at Welwyn Garden City.