Berkhamsted beat Cambridge City 1-0 on Saturday to leapfrog their opponents and move into fourth place in the Evo Stik Southern League Division One Central table.
It was a closely-fought game between two play-off contenders in front of Berkhamsted’s biggest crowd of the season.
Real chances were few and far between and the first-half was goalless. Liam Gooch had to make a few smart saves for City, but the defences ruled.
After the break, a great crossfield pass from Oran Swales released Berko striker Matt Bateman, who beat a few men but his shot was blocked and Will Summerfield could not get to the rebound.
The match was settled five minutes from time by Berko sub Louis Austin who scrambled the ball over the line. Berko’s big men came up for a corner and Gooch failed to claim the ball under pressure. Austin went for goal and the assistant referee was in no doubt the ball had crossed the line before it was cleared for the only goal of the game.
City came for a point and once they went behind threw more men forward. Josh Oyinsan shot wide with the best chance for City, but Berko held on for a very valuable win.
The three points moved Berko to fourth – quite a feat in their first season at this level since being promoted.
Berko: Comas, Towell, Murphy, Godfrey, Kinnane, McCrohan, Mannion (Austin), D Jones, Bateman, Summerfield, Swales. Subs not used: Adams, Stevenson, Peerless and G Jones.
Berko were due to be back in action again last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press when hosting Essex Senior League side Hoddesdon Town in the Herts Charity Shield first round. The Comrades could recall Max Farrelly for the clash.
On Saturday they then visit 10th-placed AFC Dunstable in the league.
Last Tuesday night, Berko eventually came out on top 2-1 over Bovingdon in a local derby to move into the semi-finals of the St Mary’s Cup.
Berko took a first-half lead through Elliott Godfrey in what was his first goal for the club. He shot low from 20 yards past Harrison Rodgers at the near post.
Jay Welsh equalised for Bovingdon with a thundering header into the top corner from a corner to make it 1-1 at half-time.
The winner came via a penalty that remarkably reduced Bovingdon to nine men. Swales was fouled twice, and while an advantage was played for the first offence, a spot kick was awarded for the second. Bateman kept up his goal-a-game tally for the season when dispatching the penalty.
The man that conceded the penalty was shown a second yellow card, while dissent aimed at the referee led to a straight red card for another player after the spot-kick.