Berkhamsted made it through to the next round of the FA Cup as they fought back from behind to beat Hanworth Villa 3-2 at Broadwater.
With Bradley O’Donovan getting an ankle injury in the win over Sun Sports and Josh Chamberlain unavailable, the Comrades were again forced to shuffle their forward line.
The colourful away supporters were in full voice when the Villains took the lead in the 20th minute. Ross Cheetham cut in from the left side of the penalty area and his shot beat Carl Tasker at the Canal End.
Ten minutes later Berko got back on level terms when fit-again Jude Eboji pounced on a weak back pass and rounded Terry Buss before slotting the ball home.
Five minutes later, a super strike from Aaron Nash-Barker put Berko in front at half-time as he ghosted past two challenges on the right of the penalty area.
The referee chose to talk to players instead of issuing cards but eventually he booked three from each side as the battle to get into the next round became feisty.
Jim Baldry celebrated his birthday with a crashing header at the Canal End to make it 3-1, but within five minutes Cheetham scored his second of the match with a low shot to spark a brief fight-back.
Matt Grave struck the crossbar, but the visitors otherwise failed to get their shots on target.
Frankie Jowle came on from the bench for Berko and several times got round the back of the Villa defence, but the chances he created were not converted.
It was another solid performance with Berko just on top in a five-goal thriller.
The victory earned an away tie at Barton Rovers, who are one division above Berko and compete in the Central Division of the Southern League. That game is set for Saturday, August 29.
Berko: Tasker; Edwards, Rodrigoe, Baldry, Canham, Sears, Hawes (Carbery), Mitchell, Caines (Jowle), Eboji, Nash-Barker (Foster). Subs not used: Kelly, Ward & Mead.
Elsewhere, Berko‘s reserve side won their final friendly 2-1 at Chipperfield Corinthians in midweek with goals from Pierce Kelly and Ben Gomm.
However, they lost their league opener 11-2 at Kings Langley with Gomm again on the mark and Tom Read getting the other consolation goal. On Thursday, the next Suburban League game is away to Dunstable Town.
Berko now face three important Premier Division Spartan South Midlands League games in an eight-day spell.
First they must hope to end Cockfosters’ 100 per cent record when they travel to Chalk Lane on Tuesday. Ed Canham misses that match through suspension, but he will be back on Saturday when Berko will be at their Broadwater home, looking for revenge over St Margaretsbury who knocked them out of the Herts Charity Shield earlier in the month. On Tuesday 25th Berko will be at home again to Holmer Green.