Berko sunk by the Ducks

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Aylesbury 3 Berkhamsted 2

A spirited second half fightback was not enough to prevent Berkhamsted from slipping to defeat against Aylesbury United.

Aylesbury raced into a 3-0 lead before half-time, and despite Berko hitting back through Matt Wardle and Connor Calcutt, the hosts hung on to take the three points.

Comrades manager Mick Vipond was forced to reshuffle his victorious side from the Leverstock Green derby, with Simon Carmichael, Josh Smith and Kerkstun Macpherson all unavailable.

United started the game brightly and opened the scoring in the 12th minute courtesy of a wonderful strike by Joey Acheampong.

He cut in from the left wing and spotted Ed Farmer off his line, before firing his effort into the top corner of the net at the back post.

Farmer was the Berko saviour in the first half, keeping the score down with a top one-on-one save from Acheampong. Stacey Field was next to break through, but he shot wide with the goal gaping.

Berko responded with chances of their own and Frankie Jowle beat the right-back and produced a good save from Aylesbury keeper Jack Sillitoe.

The resulting corner was only half cleared, and Jon Davies – recalled to the starting XI – blasted a powerful volley inches over the bar.

But it was Aylesbury who struck next as Field doubled their advantage in the 28th minute.

Things went from bad to worse for Berko as they had to reshuffle their side just before the interval when Aaron Usmani got his studs caught in the pitch and twisted his knee. Soon afterwards, Field made it 3-0 in the resulting first half injury-time.

To their credit, the Comrades came out fighting after the break and Wardle robbed a defender and fired home his 13th goal of the season to make it 3-1.

Vipond made changes to his side as Berko chased the game, and teenage attacking substitutes Josh Chamberlain and Calcutt were causing chaos as the Comrades midfield began to dominate.

With 15 minutes left, Chamberlain got round the back and his cross was bundled home by Calcutt for his first goal for the Comrades.

And soon afterwards, Calcutt nearly levelled matters – the youngster coming agonisingly close to reaching another Chamberlain cross to the back post.

The next cross was met by a powerful downward header by Calcutt, only for Sillitoe to produce his best save of the night and ensure Aylesbury took the points.