Sat 2nd Dec 2017
The Buildbase FA Vase 3rd Round Proper
Sponsored by Tony Stedman
TAFC First team 1-0 Berkhamsted

TAFC goals: Christopher Vardy

We can look forward to the draw on Monday for the next round of the FA Vase after overcoming close neighbours and rivals Berkhamsted in an enthralling cup tie at The Grass Roots Stadium. The game attracted an official crowd of 285 who contributed greatly to a compelling derby game with both sets of supporters making plenty of noise to make it a cracking atmosphere.

To add to the carnival feel we had a penalty shoot out before the game and mascots came out with our players all from Tring Tornadoes. It was terrific to see so many youngsters from Tornadoes at the game and a big thanks to the coaches and parents for coming along and making it such a great occasion. Lets hope we can continue to work closely together in the future and see more local youngsters coming through into the First Team.

Its fair to say that if this game had been played a month ago the result would have probably been different as we had just lost 5 games on the trot and could not buy a victory. Since then we have rediscovered our form and now look a different proposition having won 5 of our last 6 games. Ironically our only set back was a narrow 2-1 defeat to Berkhamsted in a game we felt we were unlucky to lose.

Even so we were facing a tough task against a side sitting at the top of the table on an unbeaten run of 17 games. We had to reshuffle our defence with a number of our centre halves missing so the versatile Tommy Twelves dropped into the centre of the back four alongside skipper Sam Joliffe and the pair produced a superb performance.

We also brought in Colm Parrott at right back for only his second start to form a youthful partnership down the right with fellow teenager Max Hercules (their combined age is still less than Stuart "Beamer" Stedmans!) and they did well to restrict the danger presented by opposition winger Ashley Morrissey. Chris Mason and Elliott Goward did the same on the opposite flank to curtail the penetrating runs from Alex Campana.

We started on the front foot with Max Hercules forcing a great save from Carl Tasker after only 2 minutes following a move instigated by Max and also involving Chris Vardy and Elliott Goward. Encouraged by this early opportunity we made a crucial breakthrough just 6 minutes later.

Having kept possession of the ball skillfully down in the opposition's right hand corner we recycled it back to former Berko player George Carbery who whipped in a sumptuous cross to the near post where Chris Vardy had stolen in front of the big defenders to head the ball emphatically past keeper Carl Tasker. After a tough start to the season Vards is starting to look like his old self and its great to see him score in his last 2 games. Score 1-0.

Further half chances fell to both sides. A super cross field pass from Luke Dunstan, who had another influential game, picked out Elliott Goward who cleverly rounded the defender but could only find the side netting from a tight angle.

Former Athletic man Chris Blunden was twice foiled by late interventions from Chris Mason and Sam Joliffe and later fired a shot from some distance way over the bar after a fine piece of play by Berko. The visitors main threat came from set pieces struck by Adam Mead who has enjoyed some success against us in the past. By and large we dealt with this threat quite well but Jack Hopwood had to punch one effort away and failed to catch another although a foul was given for the latter.

As half time approached we went close when Chris Vardy was inches away from reaching a fine cross from Elliott Goward who himself was just unable to get a shot away after being picked out on the edge of the area by a fine pass from Max Hercules.

Chris Vardy has looked much sharper in recent games and was set up by some terrific play by Max and Elliott. His shot was on target but Tasker produced another good save. Just before the interval Chris Vardy was fouled right on the edge of the area as he tried to round the last defender. Unfortunately we were unable to take advantage of the free kick.

We had been the better side during the first half and deservedly went in at the interval with a one goal advantage but we knew the game was far from over. HT Score 1-0.

We went mighty close to doubling our lead within 22 seconds of the restart when Chris Vardy met Goward's cross only to see his effort just go agonisingly wide of the far post.

But as expected it was the visitors who picked up the pace with Josh Chamberlain forcing a fine save from Jack Hopwood (it has to be said his first major one of the game) who then cut out Alex Campana follow up cross. Campana then struck a fierce long range shot that flew well wide of the target.

There was some apprehension when Adam Mead stepped up to take a free kick given on the edge of our area but Jack Hopwood was equal to the task tipping the well struck set piece over the bar. There was then an unfortunate halt to proceedings when the floodlights failed which delayed the match by about 48 minutes.

Play resumed with the visitors winning three corners on the trot and showing a determination to get back into the tie. They were dominating possession but their attacks were failing to break open our well organised and stubborn defence. Everyone played their part in a determined effort to keep hold of our slim lead and provide Jack Hopwood with plenty of protection, which we did very successfully.

Centre back and Captain Jon Munday headed over a couple of corners but clear chances were thin on the ground for Berko. With the visitors leaving gaps at the back as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser we started to venture forward.

Elliott Goward put over another fine cross with Chris Vardy waiting in the middle but Carl Tasker had read the situation well and cut out the danger. Luke Dunstan, who was immense throughout, forced a fine save from Tasker with a terrific long range shot. Later Max Hercules was set free in acres of space down the right and the 17 year old nicely picked out debutant Luke Jones in the area but the former Sun player was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.

With time almost up the visitors had one last opportunity from a free kick which hit the post and following a melee in the area the ball was smashed over the bar from a promising position. There were calls for a handball and penalty from the visitors who claimed that when the ball rebounded off the post it struck Tommy Twelves on the arm. Tommy later denied this (as you would expect!) and the officials obviously agreed with him as they waved away the appeals. Seconds later the final whistle went.

Perhaps there was a bit of good fortune for us at the end but overall we were well worth the victory based on the number of clear chances created. FT Score 1-0.

A terrific performance from the players who showed great spirit particularly during a challenging second half. We defended superbly when required and restricted a potent Berko team, who had scored in every game this season, to few genuine chances.

This is the second season running we have reached the 4th round of this prestigious national cup and we join only two other South Midland teams still remaining in the competition, namely Leighton Town and Biggleswade FC. The next round will take place on 6th January 2018.

Despite a big improvement in our recent form we still sit near the foot of the table and need some points but we do have games in hand and a couple of wins will see us shoot up the table.

Our next fixture is on Wednesday when we travel to Hadley for a Premier Division Cup game. We always seem to struggle against them so this will be another testing game.

On Saturday we were supposed to play Biggleswade FC but this game has been postponed..


TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Colm Parrott 3 Chris Mason 4 Mark Riddick 5 Luke Dunstan 6 George Carbery (15 Luke Jones 76) 7 Max Hercules 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Tommy Twelves 11 Elliott Goward (12 Jack Read 81). Subs not used: 14 Dave O'Connor 16 Jack Seaton 17 Steve Nott-Macaire.

B:1 Carl Tasker 2 Adam Mead 3 Max Farrelly 4 Steve Hawes (15 Dan Jones 72) 5 Jon Munday (Capt) 6 Kyle Anthony 7 Alex Campana 8 Ben Bateman (12 Sean Coughlan 68) 9 Chris Blunden (14 Ashton Campbell 72) 10 Josh Chamberlain 11 Ashley Morrissey. Subs not used: 16 Jack Stevens 17 Dan Weeks.


TA:Chris Vardy (8)




Tring Athletic v Berkhamsted FC
Sat 2 Dec 15:00 - F A Cup Attendance 285
Tring Beat Berko In Vase
By Phil Hobbs

Tring just won the derby on Saturday in front of 285 fans, the biggest Buildbase FA Vase crowd in the southern half of the draw.

Report by Grant Hastie

Carl Tasker made the first save of note to keep out Max Hercules in the second minute. Berko lost possession and ex Comrade George Carbery crossed for Chris Vardy to loop a header over Carl Tasker into the bottom goal in the 10th minute. It proved to be enough to put Tring in the last 32 of the FA Vase.

Adam Mead as ever was dangerous from free kicks but Jack Hopwood saved a long one. Chris Blunden shot over the bar against his old club to finish a rare passing move. Tring worked hard to continually surround Berkos midfielders, so the Comrades frequently bypassed midfield with Mead and Munday hitting long balls out of defence. As half time approached Steve Hawes fired over from a curling free kick by Mead.

Berko were hoping it would be a game of two halves, like the last meeting between the sides and they would come into the game playing downhill after the interval. However, Vardy put the first real chance wide after the restart. At last Berko forced Hopwood into a real save from Josh Chamberlain. Hopwood again saved a Mead free kick.

Then at 10 past four the electricity supply to the ground failed. However the floodlights were back on to allow a resumption close to 5pm. The game resumed with Berko taking a corner and they forced several on the trot but the Tring defence held firm. Alex Campana found Jon Munday but his strong header into the ground bounced over the cross bar. Another Berko effort was blocked on the line as they strove for the equaliser.

Ben Bateman was brought down, giving Mead the chance to take another dangerous free kick but Hopwood again saved it. Berko threw on three substitutes in a 5-minute period to pep them up for the last quarter of the game. At the other end Tasker saved from Luke Jones at the expense of a corner. There was nearly a last minute equaliser as a long free kick struck the post, but Kyle Anthonys follow up shot went over the bar from close range. There were appeals for handball but the referee waved them away.

Berko have played 27 games this season and Tring Athletic became the first team to stop them scoring and inflicted their first non-shoot-out defeat since Slough Town knocked the Comrades out of the FA Cup.

Berko: Carl Tasker, Adam Mead, Max Farrelly, Steve Hawes (Dan Jones), Jon Munday, Kyle Anthony, Alex Campana, Ben Bateman (Sean Coughlan), Chris Blunden (Ashton Campbell), Josh Chamberlain, Ashley Morrissey. Subs not used: Jack Stevens and Dan Weeks.

Report taken from Berkhamsted F C Website
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