Quick-fire Comrades blast past Hertford to close the gap at the top

Dan Griggs, Berkhamsted FC
Dan Griggs, Berkhamsted FC
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Two early goals were enough for Berkhamsted to claim all three points against Hertford in a comfortable away day win for Mick Vipond’s side.

Hertford were punished twice in the first 15 minutes with goals from Jamie Gavin and Jordon Frederick as third-placed Berkhamsted kept up the pressure on SSML Premier Division leaders Ampthill.

“We had a fantastic start,” said Berko boss Vipond. “If we could keep up the tempo as it was in the first half every game, I would be delighted because it was really good.

“We didn’t play quite so well in the second half but we were very dogged and determined and that was part of it.

“We had to defend and our keeper pulled off some excellent saves.”

The match marked a milestone as Lewis Rodrigoe became the first player to notch 200 first team appearances for Berkhamsted, while forward Aaron Usmani was on the bench after returning to Broadwater from Aston Clinton, where he began his comeback after a long injury lay off.

It did not take long for the Comrades to get into their stride as Gavin headed home from a Josh Chamberlain free-kick to put the visitors in front, before Connor Calcutt set up Frederick whose shot beat Harry Ricketts in the home goal to double the lead.

At the other end, a Jimmy Martin free-kick went wide and Kardan Cambell got booked for persistent fouling. Carl Tasker did well to tip over another Martin free-kick before the interval.

It was more of the same after the break, with Dan Griggs seeing a volley was stopped with a hand just outside the area and Calcutt, Dale Sears and Griggs going into the referee’s notebook.

Hertford tried hard to get back in the game and there was brief spell of pinball in the Berko six-yard-box.

Tasker produced the save of the day, diving to the top corner to tip away a Charlie Smith free kick, while Ricketts held a Calcutt header and James Towell lobbed over the bar as the game wound to its conclusion.

With Ampthill losing to fourth-placed Colney Heath, Berko closed to nine points behind the leaders with three games in hand.

“We’ve just got to keep in that group in the top three,” said Vipond. “There is a long, long way to go yet.

“They (Ampthill) will slip up and we will slip up at some point but there is still a lot of football left to play.”

Elsewhere, the Berkhamsted Reserves went down 2-0 at home to Dunstable Town in the Suburban League after being reduced to 10 men when Lewis Strafford was given his marching orders.