Comrades tame the Lions to move up to second in the table

Ed Canham, pictured in action earlier this season, put in another commanding performance at the back for Berko
Ed Canham, pictured in action earlier this season, put in another commanding performance at the back for Berko

Berkhamsted recorded their fifth successive clean sheet as they beat bottom side London Lions 1-0 to move up to second in the SSML Premier Division.

After a string of postponements due to the recent wet weather, Berko were far from their fluent best but earned the three points courtesy of a first half goal from Frankie Jowle.

And Comrades Boss Mick Vipond was pleased to get back to action with a vital three points which keeps his side’s title challenge firmly on track.

Vipond said: “It was nice to get back to playing because all we had been doing recently was road runs and training, and trying to keep out of the mud!

“There was a bit of rustiness about us but we can’t use that as an excuse because it’s been the same for all the teams.

“We kept another clean sheet which is encouraging, and we created a lot of chances in the first half – although there is always a chance when it is 1-0 that you can end up losing or drawing the match.”

Berko started the game brightly with a cross-shot from Connor Calcutt striking the crossbar at the Railway End.

James Bent went close from a Dan Griggs cross, but the goal that decided the game arrived on the half hour mark.

Jowle robbed a defender who was attempting a back pass, and rounded the keeper before stroking the ball into the net.

Josh Chamberlain, Connor Calcutt and Jowle all got in useful shots as Berko looked to increase their lead before half-time, but the Lions managed to restrict their hosts to the solitary goal before the break.

In the second half a powerful shot from Griggs went narrowly wide, while substitute Ashley Morrissey was thwarted by a superb double save from visiting keeper Jake Doffman.

However, there was controversy at the very end of the game when the referee indicated there was 30 seconds left –before proceeding to play on for another couple of minutes.

He finally blew his whistle as a Lions corner was taken, and the resulting equaliser was rightly chalked off –much to the consternation of the travelling Lions players and coaching staff.

Vipond, though, believes that the decision was the correct call by the referee.

“The ref told me afterwards that time was up and he was going to blow the whistle as soon as the kick was taken– which he did,” said Vipond.

“I though he refereed the match really well and had a nice manner all game”

At the time the Gazette went to press, the Comrades had the chance to go top of the division as they were set to take on fourth-placed Colney Heath in a league clash at Broadwater.