Mo Camara 44
Star Man George Marsh Cheshunt
The form of the two tightest defences in their respective leagues was going to be a factor in this match and so it proved, Cheshunt having conceded only two from eight matches & Berkhamsted four from eleven. A single goal scored just before half time by Ambers striker Mo Camara was the difference, good midfield interplay saw the ball switched quickly right to overlapping fullback Enock Ekongo who crossed accurately for Camara to rise highest and head the ball down & into the corner beyond the reach of the keeper.
Both sides had started with a high tempo, Toomey for Berko, Re & Beckles Richards for Cheshunt looking threatening in the final third, Berkhamsted gave Cheshunt an early warning when hitting the post 15 minutes in, but further attempts on goal from both teams were wide or high until Camara broke the deadlock.
Having been booked in the first half Camara then found himself in the spotlight again, but this time for a second yellow and subsequent red, after two challenges involving Berko’s Ryan Kinnane ending up on the floor. Cheshunt reorganised to play all of the second half with only ten men, & upped their work rate to such an extent it was not apparent they were a man down, repeatedly smothering Berko’s build ups in midfield. Ambers keeper George Marsh made a huge contribution when Lucas Kirkpatrick struck a rising drive form the edge of the area on the Berko right, Marsh dived to parry it out, but only into the path of substitute Alie Bangura who struck the ball goalbound first time, only to see Marsh rise up from the first dive and twist around to tip his shot over the bar, in a game changing moment of brilliance.
Zack Newton went close for the Ambers with a long range effort with the Berko keeper stranded, and Cheshunt continued to work the flanks to create openings. The home crowd had to endure eight additional minutes, due to time taken to care for Ryan Neufville, stretchered off with a facial injury after a collision in a crowded Cheshunt penalty area. Astute substitutions for fresh legs and a team spirit saw Cheshunt home comfortably, but without adding to the scoreline.