Sat 23rd Dec 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Berkhamsted 3-1 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Jack Read (pen)
WE PAY THE PENALTY FOR POOR DECISIONS
Our near neighbours extracted some revenge 3 weeks after being dumped out of the FA Vase by us with this ultimately comfortable win in front of 200 spectators their biggest attendance of the season . All 4 goals came in the second half, 3 of them in the last 10 minutes with only one being scored from open play.
We left the Broadwater Stadium not only disappointed at the result but also at the manner of defeat as we felt the 2 penalties awarded against us should not have stood.
Despite missing 4 key players (Sam Joliffe, Dave O'Connor, Colm Parrott and Elliott Goward) we started well and we really should have been a goal or two ahead after only 10 minutes. Both opportunities fell to Chris Vardy but the normally lethal striker failed to convert them.
The first opportunity came after only 6 minutes when Max Hercules latched onto a pass that was missed by the home defence and then squared the ball nicely to Vards who side footed wide from only 6 yards. Three minutes later Tommy Twelves (who again did another grand job stepping back into central defence in the absence of Sam and DOC) sent George Carbery free with a super pass who in turn picked out Vards who was unable to apply the finishing touch.
Our hosts retaliated with Alex Campana firing a shot just wide of the far post and then they missed a good opportunity when a fortunate ricochet sent Ashley Morrissey through, but with only Jack Hopwood to beat he sent his shot wide of the target.
Max Hercules stung the hands of home keeper Carl Tasker with a fine shot and Jack Hopwood and his defenders did well to cut out some dangerous crosses but an even first half ended scoreless. HT Score 0-0.
First strike of the second period saw Jack Read force a diving save from Tasker but in the 50th minute came the first controversial incident that would change the course of the game.
After blowing for a free kick the Referee then decided to speak to our Captain Dan Steadman ( it was good to see him back in action after being absent from the First Team starting line up since the end of October through injury) but whilst this distraction was taking place Berko decided to take a quick free kick which resulted in a penalty for an alleged tug. Seething with a sense of injustice we had to stand and watch Adam Mead put his side ahead from the spot. Score 1-0.
The goal swung the balance of play in Berko's favour and we struggled to recapture some of the fine attacking play we produced in the first half. Worse was to follow after Ben Johnson was given his marching orders in the 77th minute after the young full back had been issued with a second yellow card.
Now facing a mountain our task escalated to Himalayan proportions when Ashton Campbell tucked a shot past Jack Hopwood to put Berko into a commanding two goal lead. Score 2-0.
Max Hercules had a half chance following a quick break but the men in yellow were firmly in control and there was only going to be one winner, which unfortunately was not going to be us. They went close again when the influential Alex Campana hit he bar.
In keeping with the Xmas period there was another pantomime moment when the home side were awarded yet another penalty when Hoppy was alleged to have caught Ashton Campbell. The general consensus was that there was no contact, a fact that the Berko player evidently confirm with the Official but never-the-less a penalty was still awarded. Again Mead ignored all the kerfuffle to coolly plant the ball past Hopwood. Score 3-0.
The Referee then decided to go for his hat-trick by awarding us a spot kick for a foul on Luke Dunstan. Jack Read converted the penalty but there was little Xmas cheer for us. Score 3-1.
We nearly pulled another goal back but Chris Vardy was foiled by a fine save from Tasker but Berko comfortably went on to extend their unbeaten run in the League. FT Score 3-1.
The result had significantly different impact for both clubs, with the 3 points cementing Berko's position at the top whilst the picture for us is less rosy as we dropped to the bottom of the table after Crawley Green leapfrogged over us following their fine 3-1 win at London Colney.
But we have games in hand over nearly all the teams just above us and over the next 9 weeks we play 8 teams that are in the lower half of the table. So our destiny is in our own hands but we must start by being more ruthless in front of goal and if necessary being more street wise.
B:1 Carl Tasker 2 Adam Mead 3 Dan Weeks 4 Ben Bateman 5 Jon Humday (Capt) 6 Kyle Anthony 7 Alex Campana 8 Jack Stevens 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Josh Chamberlain 11 Ashley Morrissey. Subs not used: 16 Jack Stevens 17 Dan Weeks. Subs used: 12 Stacey Field 14 Dan Jones 15 Ashley Lewis Subs not used: 16 Steve Hawes 17 Josh Thompson
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson 3 Chris Mason 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) (15 Steve Nott-Macaire) 6 Tommy Twelves 7 Max Hercules 8 Luke Dunstan 9 Chris Vardy 10 Jack Read (14 Josh Hart 90+2) 11 George Carbery (12 James Butler 74). Sub not used: 16 Luke Jones
B:Adam Mead 2 Pens (50, 85), Ashton Campbell (80)
TA:Jack Read Pen (90)