There was cup final heartbreak for Berkhamsted last night as ten-man Welwyn Garden City lifted the Challenge Trophy after a seven-goal 4-3 thriller.
Welwyn were on top in the first half and hit the post twice in one move. Dave Parkinson hit the upright with a free-kick midway through the half, and Ash Kersey followed up but also struck the post as Berko survived.
A wonderful 25-yard strike from Josh Chamberlain put Berko in front against the run of play, with Joe Croft having no chance in goal as the ball flew into the net.
However, Kersey scored from close range to level things up after a Parkinson effort was not cleared.
The second half was a goal-fest, started off when Chamberlain latched on to a bouncing ball and was hauled down by keeper Croft just outside the area.
The referee produced a red card and outfield player Yasin Bhodo took over between the sticks for Welwyn.
He got a hand to Tom Carter’s resulting free-kick but could not stop it crossing the line as Berko again went into a short-lived lead.
However, some woeful defending of crosses let the 10 men hit three goals in a 10 minute burst.
John McGrandles levelled and Parkinson put the Citizens in front, before James Baldry was credited with an own goal after a chance to clear was wasted.
The game was still not over and leading scorer Chamberlain’s low shot across goal beat Bhodoo to make it 4-3 with quarter of an hour to go.
Alex Campana struck the bar for Berko, but the ball did not cross the line and was eventually scrambled clear.
Wave after wave of Berko attacks followed, but Bhodoo saved well from Aaron Nash-Barker with the last real chance as Welwyn held on for the win.
Berko: Tasker, Edwards (Nash-Barker), Carter, Baldry, Canham, Rodrigoe, Jowle (Mead), Hawes, Chamberlain, Campana, Farrelly (Weeks). Subs not used: Evans and Carbery.
On Saturday Berko play Hadley away followed by a trip to Stotfold on Tuesday, both in the SSML Premier Division. Carl Tasker misses the Stotfold game through suspension.
In the Suburban North Northwood visit Berko on Saturday. The reserves are away to North Greenford United on Tuesday 26th.