Berkhamsted beat Stotfold to keep title challenge firmly on track

Action from Berkhamsted FC v Stotfold. Ed Canham scores Berko's first goal
Action from Berkhamsted FC v Stotfold. Ed Canham scores Berko's first goal
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Third-placed Berkhamsted maintained the pressure on their SSML Premier Division title rivals with a 4-0 victory over Stotfold at Broadwater on Saturday.

Berko had five players unavailable for the match, but goals from Ed Canham, Connor Calcutt (2) and debutante Kieran Turner earned Mick Vipond’s side the three points.

“There was pressure on some of the younger lads and we were very patchy in the first half,” said Berko boss Vipond.

“But at half-time we had some words to let people know what we wanted them to do and we got a good response.

“A 4-0 win in the end is the main thing and it has been a good week for us,” he added.

Berko went into Saturday’s game on the back of a midweek victory at table-topping Ampthill Town and they took the lead through a Canham header in the 12th minute, shortly after Calcutt had struck the woodwork.

The Comrades had a lot of the ball in the first half but could not create much in the way of clear goalscoring opportunities, and Carl Tasker had to beat out a shot from Tremayne Charles at the other end.

Berko looked much brighter after the break and came close to extending their lead through Calcutt and then Ben Butler.

Tasker produced another fine stop to deny Charles, while James Towell saw his effort come back off the crossbar as Berko looked for the crucial second goal.

The pressure was starting to mount and, sure enough, a burst of three goals in seven minutes ensured the points went to Berko.

Josh Chamberlain set up Calcutt who netted his 30th goal of the season to make it 2-0, before Frankie Jowle laid on the third with an inviting cross from the right wing that Turner stooped to head in from 10 yards out.

Substitute Ashley Morrissey was then dragged down in the area, and Calcutt sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot kick to complete the scoring.

The victory keeps Berko five points off top spot with two games in hand on Ampthill, after the Comrades closed the gap with their midweek win.

“We rode our luck a bit against Ampthill and in the second half it was a bit like the Alamo,” said Vipond.

“But we got through it and I’m glad we have had that experience.”

Next up for Berko is a trip to Harefield United for a league fixture on Saturday afternoon. The Comrades should be boosted by the return of Steve Hawes, James Bent, Jordon Frederick and Jamie Gavin to the squad.