Comrades hammered by Royston Town

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Berkhamsted 0-4 Royston Town 4

With Dunstable suffering a shock loss at home to Colney Heath, Royston’s comfortable win at Broadwater sent them back to the top of the table in front of the Premier Division’s biggest crowd of the day.

The loss was Berko’s seventh defeat on the spin in a nightmare end to 2011, and manager Mick Vipond will be keen to change his side’s fortunes at the start of the new year.

The Comrades were forced into a change of goalkeeper against Royston, with 21-year-old Freddie Hester promoted from the Reserves to make his debut between the sticks as Ed Farmer was injured.

That ended Farmer’s run of 85 consecutive first team appearances since he joined the Comrades.

And Hester made a shaky start when, in the 18th minute, he came out of his area intending to head the ball clear but was beaten by Kahn Fehmi who headed home.

The visitors doubled their lead when a Tom Malins cross was headed back across goal by Fehmi, and Matt Standen was left unmarked to head the ball into the net.

There was no way back for Berko, who only had one fit forward available – Aaron Usmani – which prevented Vipond being able to make any tactical changes to chase the game.

And the result was put beyond doubt with a pair of Royston goals either side of half-time.

Leon Skinner trickled in an own-goal that just crossed the line before Hester could reach it as he was unable to handle a back pass.

Jack Bradshaw then lashed home the fourth goal from the left of the penalty area, giving Hester no chance.

Mick Vipond brought on Josh Smith and Ross Clemo in an attempt to shake things up, but the Comrades’ only real chance of the match was a header that Will Norris saved from a superb Tyler Hatherly cross.

On Monday, Berko go to Broxbourne Borough for a Premier Division clash, kick-off 3pm.

Exciting 23-year-old attacking left sided player Ivailo Dimitrov may make his debut after signing from Aylesbury United.

His previous clubs include Hendon, Maidenhead United and Kingstonian.