Comrades show their title credentials with battling win over the Tigers

Ed Canham, seen in action earlier this season, was on target for Berko on Saturday before being shown a red card
Ed Canham, seen in action earlier this season, was on target for Berko on Saturday before being shown a red card

Berkhamsted moved back to the top of the SSML Premier Division thanks to a battling 3-1 win over London Tigers on an energy-sapping pitch.

Tigers went 1-0 up in the first half, before the hosts were reduced to ten men when Leroy Guytahin was shown a straight red card.

Leading scorer Connor Calcutt levelled things up for Berko, and the visitors took the lead after half-time when Ed Canham bundled home.

Canham was then sent off for a second yellow card, but Berko wrapped up the win through substitute Adiel Mannion.

Comrades boss Mick Vipond was pleased with the win, in a game which could have been a potential banana skin for the title challengers.

“It’s a massive win for us because they have got some decent players and have picked up a few good wins this season,” said Vipond. “It’s never an easy fixture.”

“We were a little bit rusty and they were some of the worst conditions you could ever play football in.

“There are still two and a half months of football left and we’ve just got to try and keep winning if we can.”

The dreadful playing surface was always going to make the game difficult, but both teams created early chances.

James Towell almost reached a tantalising Calcutt cross and, at the other end, Jabir Laraba placed the ball wide with just Carl Tasker to beat.

Frankie Jowle was doing well on the worst part of the pitch and he set up Josh Chamberlain whose shot was saved.

Berko were on top in terms of possession, but fell behind when Jack Copson was left with two men to mark and Marcus Lansiquot netted from the resulting deep cross.

Soon afterwards, however, the Tigers were reduced to 10 men when the assistant referee spotted Guytahin elbowing Canham – with the former getting a red card and the latter being shown a yellow.

With the extra man advantage it seemed only matter of time before Berko would get on level terms, and the equaliser duly arrived shortly before the interval when Towell laid the ball back for Calcutt to net his 36th goal of the season.

Berko went in front early in the second half when a Chamberlain corner was bundled home at close range by Canham, before Calcutt headed another dangerous Chamberlain corner against the bar as Berko continued to press.

It became a 10-a-side game when Canham got his second yellow card as he mistimed a tackle, and Vipond responded by bringing on James Shaw and Mannion in the hope of clinching the points.

And sure enough, the away fans’ nerves were settled when Mannion chipped the keeper superbly to make it 3-1 with five minutes left to take Berko top of the table.