Christie hits a hat-trick as Comrades move up to second

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BJ Christie hit a hat-trick as Berko moved back up to second in the SSML Premier Division with a 3-2 victory at Hertford Town.

Berko enjoyed the large well-tended pitch and made a great start with some incisive passing inside the defenders, releasing their speed men into the open spaces.

They opened the scoring in just the second minute when James Baldry won the ball and allowed Frankie Jowle to release Adiel Mannion up the right wing and his cross was swept home by Christie.

Harry Ricketts held onto a lob from Jowle and stopped Mannion as he raced through, before a superbly threaded pass between the centre-backs from Josh Chamberlain set Christie free and his shot beat Ricketts to double the lead, inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Hertford did not give up and Jamie Smith headed a chance wide, while Carl Tasker saved a free-kick from Charlie Smith and a header by Jordon Watson.

There was a flare up when Courtney Massey was adjudged to have fouled Sam Ruff who drew blood with a stray arm into Massay’s face.

After consulting his linesman,the referee booked Massay and Ruff and another player from each side for the resulting melee.

Both sides thought they were going to score before the interval, with Jowle netting – only to be given offside – and Jamie Smith rattling the post at the other end.

A double substitution at half time pepped up Hertford, however it was Berko that scored next with Christie being the first Comrade to grab a hat-trick this season.

He took his time before netting after good work by James Towell had set up the chance.

Max Farrelly played some neat one-twos but his shot ran across the goal-line without going in, while Ruff shot low but just wide at the other end.

Watson pulled a goal back for the home side while the Berko defence waited for an offside that was not forthcoming, and that gave the home team greater heart.

Berko brought on Jack Copson and James Gavin in an attempt to shore things up, but they came under more pressure.

The diving Copson just got his head to a through-ball and it fell for Leigh Rose who tried to round Tasker, who brought him down to concede a booking and a penalty.

James converted it and Hertford went all out for the equaliser. However, it was actually Christie who had the best chance in the remainder of the match when he just had Ricketts to beat but put the ball wide.

On Saturday, Berko are at home to Kings Langley in a Dacorum derby as they search for more points to keep Tring under pressure at the top of the table. Jordon Frederick remains suspended for that match.

On the same day, the Berkhamsted Reserves are away to Hanworth Villa Reserves in the Suburban North division.

On Wednesday, Berko’s U18s are at home to Chesham United in their first home league game of the season after losing 3-0 away to Luton Town Cedars in their opening Corinthian Division game.