Berkhamsted almost let a 4-0 half-time lead slip as they eventually ran out 5-4 winners over Biggleswade in a high-scoring SSML Premier Division clash.
With leading scorer Connor Clacutt unavailable ahead of a trial with Championship side Millwall, Josh Chamberlain netted a first half hat-trick to help the Comrades to open up a big advantage – but the visitors upped their game to give their hosts a scare after the break.
And Berkhamsted manager Mick Vipond was once again left puzzled by his side’s defensive frailties.
“We played really well in the first half and it was good for Josh to get a hat-trick in the absence of Connor,” said Vipond.
“But defensively we were awful in the second half. At half-time we were saying that it would be great if we could add more goals and keep the clean sheet, but then we go and concede four goals.
“It was just shocking defending but that’s the way we have been over the last month. We looked so solid a couple of months back but now we are conceding three or four goals every game.”
The Comrades looked back to their free-scoring best in the first half and opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Chamberlain and Jordon Frederick combined to set up the opening goal for Jamie Gavin.
A trip on Dan Griggs allowed Chamberlain to add the second goal from the penalty spot, and the Berko striker was soon on the end of a ball from James Towell to make it 3-0.
Berko really had their tails up and Chamberlain hit the post, but when the loose ball was put back into the danger zone by Frederick, Chamberlain completed his hat-trick with a shot on the turn.
The Comrades looked to have the points won by half-time, but Biggleswade hit back early in the second half with two goals from Jack Boyd.
On the hour mark, Towell beat several men before cutting in from the left wing to net Berko’s fifth goal – a led Berko still held with 10 minutes to go.
Vipond brought on a couple of substitutes with the game seemingly won, but it was a United sub, Lee Bilcock, who struck next to reduce the deficit.
Soon afterwards, Berko conceded a penalty and Boyd sent Carl Tasker the wrong way to make the final score 5-4.
At the time the Gazette went to press, the Comrades were preparing for an SSML Challenge Cup semi-final clash with Stotfold.
Calcutt willmiss the fixture as he will be playing for Millwall in a friendly against Leyton Orient.
On Saturday, Berko go to bottom of the table Hatfield Town and on Tuesday they will travel to Pancake Lane to take on Leverstock Green.