Hatfield Town 1-5 Berkhamsted
Berkhamsted maintained their unbeaten start to 2012 with a thumping win over nine-man Hatfield Town.
After a difficult end to last year, the Comrades have now gone three games without a loss and thrashed Hatfield courtesy of goals from Kerkstun Macpherson, Lawrence Bunker (2), Josh Chamberlain and Aaron Usmani.
In difficult conditions, Berkhamsted ground out the win in the second half and manager Mick Vipond was understandably pleased with the result.
“It wasn’t a great spectacle because of the wind but it was a pleasing win,” he said.
“It was a game of two halves. They used the conditions in the first half and we made the most of it after half-time.”
With Tyler Hatherly suspended, Vipond gave debuts to signings Ivailo Dimitrov from Aylesbury United and Macpherson from Broxbourne Borough.
And McPherson made a dream start to his Comrades career as he put the visitors in front with a curling shot after just five minutes.
Hatfield hit back with a Lee Newman goal after some sloppy Berko defending, and the scores remained level going into half-time.
With the wind in their favour after the interval, Berko took control of proceedings and Bunker put them back in front in the 56th minute.
Josh Smith cut the ball back into Bunker’s path, and the Berko top scorer had no problem in slotting home from six yards out.
Vipond then introduced Matt Wardle and Usmani from the bench, and the former set up Chamberlain to extend the lead.
Hatfield almost halved the deficit with a free-kick which struck the post, but the hosts lost their discipline and were soon down to nine men.
An off the ball kick saw the home side reduced to 10, before the last defender took down Bunker and he too was given his marching orders.
Bunker dusted himself off to dispatch the resulting penalty, and Usmani wrapped up the win with a fifth.
Boss Vipond is particularly pleased with how his side have defended in recent games.
“We’ve only conceded one goal in three games now which is decent,” he said.
“The difference between now and the end of last year is that the squad is a bit stronger. We struggled like mad before Christmas with our injuries.
“We’ve signed a few players since then and that has definitely helped us.
“We are please with how things are going. The clean sheets are the basis for wins and we’ve got a cutting edge going forward now as well.”
Next up for Berko is a clash with Dunstable Town at Boradwater on Saturday.