Comrades hit Stotfold for six to go top of the table

Adiel Mannion fires home against Stotfold
Adiel Mannion fires home against Stotfold

A ruthless performance from Berkhamsted saw them thrash Stotfold 6-1 to go back to the top of the SSML Premier Division.

Berko manager Mick Vipond recalled Jamie Gavin and Jordon Frederick to the team and his side hot top form with some free-flowing football.

There was a flurry of goals in the first half, with Josh Chamberlain finding room inside the left of the penalty box to shoot Berko ahead after just six minutes. Stotfold were soon level after Jordon Brown’s shot took a late deflection off Gavin to elude Carl Tasker in the Berko goal.

However, it only took a minute for Gavin to put the Comrades back in front with a deft header from a free-kick by Chamberlain.

With less than a quarter of the game gone, Berko were 3-1 up when a tremendous shot from outside the box by Adiel Mannion gave Adam Harpur no chance in the visitors’ goal.

Brown got a yellow card for fouling Gavin and was lucky to stay on the field after lashing out at Lewis Rodrigoe, when he shielded the ball out of play at the Canal End a few minutes later.

Chamberlain scored his second goal early in the second half after latching on to an intelligent through-ball from Jowle.

Berko have strength in depth and substitutes James Towell and Ashley Morrissey came on – both quickly going close with low shots.

Skipper James Baldry picked up a booking but headed powerfully home Berko’s fifth goal from a Chamberlain corner.

All-time club top scorer Lawrence Bunker came on to add to the fun and went on a vintage dribble, beating four men before shooting.

Soon afterwards, his back-heel released Mannion whose cross was volleyed home by BJ Christie to make it 6-1.

Morrrissey then set up Chamberlain’s hat-trick chance but he shot over the bar.

A miserable afternoon for Stotfold was completed in controversial fashion, when Brown got his second yellow card and an early shower for putting the ball in the net when he was supposed to be restarting the game by giving Berko the ball.

Berko did not add to their tally despite the man advantage, although they did keep coming forward in numbers

Meanwhile, the Berko Reserves are still top of the Suburban North division after a 5-1 win at Hartley Wintney Reserves on Saturday.

Jay Caines led the way with a hat-trick and Tommy Twelves and Pierce Kelly also scored for the Comrades.

After a midweek cup trip to Sun Sports, on Saturday Berko’s first team are at Biggleswade United and on Tuesday September 30, they entertain Cockfosters at Broadwater.

Max Farrelly may be fit for these two important league games and, while Berko are top, they will face pressure from others chasing the Premier division title and the promotion slot.

Berko’s reserves are at home to Northwood on Saturday in the Suburban North. On Wednesday Berko’s U18s entertain Staines Town in the FA Youth Cup.