Berkhamsted slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat against struggling Bedford in Saturday’s SSML Premier Division encounter as a missed penalty proved costly.
Injury and unavailability meant a reshuffled team for Berko, with Max Farrelly dropping to full-back in place of Dan Edwards, who was serving a one-game suspension.
Carl Tasker was back in goal for the Comrades after injury, but a square defence left him exposed to a lob from outside the penalty area by Bedford substitute Tremayne Charles who netted what proved to be the only goal of the game around the half hour mark.
In a game of few chances, the Comrades had a glorious opportunity to level the scores when forward Alex Campana went through in the penalty area before last man Laurie Bambridge brought him down and was duly shown a red card.
After much delay, it was Nick Jackson – starting his first match for three months – who took the spot kick; his effort was on target but Bedford keeper Ross Tompkins guessed correctly to keep the shot out.
Playing against 10 men for half an hour, Berko pushed forward in search of an equaliser. However, too many shots and headers failed to find the target as the chances were there to rescue the points.
Dan Weeks shot wide and several efforts went over the bar from Adiel Mannion and James Baldry, while Campana beat four men only to find his shot blocked as Bedford held on for the win.
Berko: Tasker, Farrelly, Weeks, Baldry, Canham, Hawes, Carter (Eboji), Frederick (Gilbert), Campana, Mannion, Jackson. Sub not used: Mead.
Elsewhere, Berko’s reserve team came back from 3-1 down to hold second placed Dunstable Reserves to a 3-3 draw on Saturday.
Caleb Bolton and Jack Skinner were on the mark for the Comrades and a late penalty from Ollie Hunt earned Berko the draw.
Berko’s first team now face three home games in eight days. They are at home to Hertford Town in the quarter final of the Challenge Trophy tomorrow night, and then entertain them again in the league on Saturday.
The final game is at home to Biggleswade United on Tuesday, March 1 when Lewis Rodrigoe will begin a two-match ban for accumulating too many yellow cards.
Dale Sears, Frankie Jowle, Lewis Rodrigoe and Bradley O’Donovan were all unavailable on Saturday but should return soon. Flu victims Josh Chamberlain and George Carbery should not be out for long either.
Berko’s reserve side make the long trip to Hartley Wintney on Saturday in the Suburban League North.