Berkhamsted held as lowly London Lions make a point


Berkhamsted squandered the chance to gain ground on SSML Premier Division leaders Ampthill as they were held to a 2-2 draw by bottom side London Lions at Vauxhall Road.

The Comrades remain in third place after the draw, nine points behind Ampthill but with three games in hand on their title rivals.

It will certainly feel like two points dropped for Mick Vipond’s side, however, as they were frustrated by a resilient Lions side whose spirited display belied their position at the foot of the table.

Suspension and injury forced Comrades boss Vipond to change the side after a run of seven consecutive wins, and the first half was disappointing with Berko only creating a few clear chances despite camping for long periods in the Lions half.

Connor Calcutt beat the offside trap and set up Jamie Gavin but his shot ran along the goal line, while Lions had a couple of defenders booked in the first half.

Jonny Haik broke early in the second half but shot wide, while the feeling it was not Berko’s night was strengthened when, in the same move, Ashley Morrisey beat Dan Lee and thundered a shot against the bar and Gavin latched onto the loose ball and hit both posts with the rebound.

Calcutt eased the pressure by smashing the ball home to score for the seventh successive match, but within two minutes the scores were level again when James Belchak hit a superb shot past Carl Tasker.

And things went from bad to worse for the Comrades soon afterwards as the Lions roared into the lead on the hour mark.

That shook Berko into action and Vipond brought on James Bent and Jack Copson.

Lee saved from Morrissey, before the equaliser came from another stunning strike – this time from Josh Chamberlain who cut in from the right wing after he was moved up from left-back when Copson came on.

Berko went all out for the winner but Lee defied Chamberlain and a couple of Ed Canham headers went close as the Lions held on for a hard-earned point.

The Comrades will need to get over Wednesday night’s disappointment quickly as they are in FA Carlsberg Vase action at Hullbridge Sports on Saturday.

Dale Sears should be back from suspension and Vipond is optimistic that Ben Butler and Frankie Jowle will have recovered from illness and knocks, respectively.

On Tuesday, the Comrades are at home to Hemel Hempstead Rovers in the St Marys Cup quarter-final, or they will entertain Hullbridge if a Vase replay is needed.

Berko’s reserves play the first leg of their Suburban Cup tie with Farnham Town at Broadwater on Saturday, while the U18s are at home to Kings Langley tonight.