Fine away victory for Berko

Matt Bateman celebrates after scoring the decisivie goal against Welwyn on Saturday. (Picture: Ray Canham)
Matt Bateman celebrates after scoring the decisivie goal against Welwyn on Saturday. (Picture: Ray Canham)

Berkhamsted FC grabbed an impressive triumph at old foes Welwyn Garden City in the league on Saturday.

Berko and Welwyn battled for much of last season for the SSML Premier Division crown, with Welwyn eventually taking the title and Berko being promoted as the runners-up.

But a single goal was enough to give Berko the points at the weekend and move them up to seventh in the Evo-Stik South Central Division One table.

The 18-year-old Bradley Empson made his debut in midfield for Berko after signing from Enfield Town and the ex-Watford Junior had a good game.

Keeper James Weatherill was man of the match for the Comrades, making several low, smart saves in each half to prevent the ball coming free for any follow-ups.

City net man Dan Green saved from Matt Bateman after he had played a one-two and also made a stop from the recalled Will Summerfield, who had beaten two men before getting off a shot.

The hosts’ George Ironton had to be substituted after coming off worse in a block tackle with Max Farrelly.

Berko had a good first-half with Green doing well when Bateman ran free, getting a hand to the ball as he tried to round him.

At the other end Weatherilll got down well three times to save from Nick Elliott, Tony Williams and last season’s top scorer, Jon Clements.

A long Berko throw-in from Danny Murphy was met at the near post by Ryan Kinnane but the chance fizzled out.

In the second period, Empson fired in a few shots near to the target.

The only goal of the game came in the 65th minute when Berko’s leading scorer Bateman walked in a cross from James Towell, who had drifted past his man on the right and sent over a low cross.

Berko brought on fresh legs in Ross Adams and Courtney Massay to make sure they held on to the hard-earned three points in a close game where most of the chances were from outside the penalty area.

Other results on Saturday meant Welwyn would have gone top if they had won.

Berko: Weatherill, Folarin, Murphy, Empson (Adams), Kinnane, McCrohan, Towell, Farrelly, Bateman, Dada, Summerfield (Massay). Subs not used: Sanches, Campbell, G Jones.

Berko were due to visit Aylesbury in the Southern League Cup last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press. They could face Jordon Frederick as the midfielder has left Broadwater to join the Moles.

Another Comrades midfielder has also moved on with Jack Stevens joining Leverstock Green.

This Saturday Berko host 17th-placed North Leigh in the league.

The St Mary’s Cup draw was released this week and Berko will play at home to Bovingdon in November.