Cockfosters 2 Berkhamsted 1
Berkhamsted manager Mick Vipond is urging his squad to return to winning ways as quickly as possible following a disappointing defeat to Cockfosters at Chalk Lane on Saturday.
The Comrades have made an excellent start to the season and currently sit in fifth place in the MSSML Premier Division, but their performance levels have dropped slightly over recent weeks.
Saturday’s defeat came as a result of a stunning Bilal Butt strike three minutes from time, but Cockfosters should have wrapped the game up well before that.
And now Vipond wants a response from his team following their lacklustre display.
“To be honest we didn’t deserve anything from the game and I would have been delighted to have come away with a point,” said Vipond.
“The result has been coming and it doesn’t come as any surprise to me. We didn’t play particularly well on Tuesday last week or in the first half last Saturday.
“But we’ve had a great run and it had to end some time. At least it was when we played badly.”
Vipond has put together a strong squad this season, following a disappointing end to the last campaign which saw Berko drop down the table.
And he is now encouraging his players to rise to the challenge of increased competition for places.
“We’ve got a squad of 19 players but of those 19 we’ve only got about seven or eight who are playing consistently well,” he said.
“I’m not sure whether it is the competition for places that is affecting them but we struggled at the end of last season because the squad just wasn’t big enough.
“This year, we’ve got a good squad and that has been reflected in the results we’ve had. This squad is capable of having a very good season.
“So now I just want the players to realise that sometimes there may be someone who can come on for you if you aren’t doing too well. You just need to shake their hand and say ‘go out there and see if you can do better than me.’
“You can’t expect to do well over nine months of football with just the bare minimum.”
Berko do not have a midweek fixture, so will be looking ahead to Saturday’s eagerly anticipated FA Vase first round clash with Baldock Town.
And Vipond is insisting his side will not be taking their MSSML Division One opponents lightly.
“We’ve got a side in the division below us so we could have had a harder draw but it certainly won’t be an easy game,” he said.
“We just have to look at Saturday – Cockfosters were struggling but they beat us so it shows there are no easy matches.”
Saturday’s game kicks off at 3pm and will be played at Hitchin Town FC’s Top Field ground.
Tring Athletic are also in FA Vase action on Saturday and the club is putting on a 49-seater coach to transport players and spectators to the game.
The coach will depart from The Grass Roots Stadium in Tring at 12pm and return back from Ilford at around 6pm.
The journey time is approximately one hour and 15 minutes, and there is likely to be a small charge to help cover costs.
Anyone wishing to travel to the game by coach should add their name to a list in the Tring Athletic clubhouse at Cow Lane, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or let club chairman Mick Eldridge know by calling him on 07810 696 696.
Tring and Berko will both be looking to embark on a good cup run, with decent prize money up for grabs.
There is a £900 bonus for making it through the first round, while the overall winners of the competition will receive a hefty £25,000.