Point a piece in battling game

Table-topping and unbeaten Berkhamsted FC were the latest Sharpenhoe Road visitors for this latest round of league fixtures and likely to provide a stern challenge to Rovers much-improved home form this season. Rovers keeper Kyle Forster was in action in the 3rd minute saving comfortably from Berko left-back Joshua Chamberlain free-kick. Rovers midfielder Sam Gibson might have done better than blast wildly over the bar from a good position at the edge of the box after 10 minutes. Rovers captain Victor Osobu was next in the action when his right wing cross was diverted for a corner which was cleared to Nathan Tshikuna who’s cross into the box was headed narrowly over by Rovers centre-back Lewis Thomas. Berko midfielder and captain Ben Spaul then made the best scoring opportunity of the match thus far when, after an incisive run through the inside right channel, his fine cut-back across the Rovers penalty area had no takers. Berko’s centre-forward Lewis Toomey cut in from the left after 20 minutes but his shot failed to bring Forster into action. Rovers had a spell on top and, in quick succession, efforts by John Sonuga, Osobu and Thomas were comfortably dealt with by the Berko defence. On 29 minutes it looked as though Berko centre-back Ryan Kinnane had headed in from a corner but somehow Forster got a touch to divert his effort for a further corner from which Toomey had a header held again by Forster. The final action of the half saw Tony Williams Jr rather fluff his lines when, after a fine run down the left, his shot at goal flew harmlessly into the side netting and we had stalemate at half-time.

Berko began the second half strongly and were bossing possession without threatening a score but eventually the Rovers defensive will was broken after 58 minutes when a superb left wing cross by Lee Stobbs was pounced on by Toomey and the deadlock was over. Berko were on top and might have added to their tally with efforts by Jonathan Lacey and Stephen Hatch on the hour but were saved by Forster. A controversial moment when a strong claim for a Berko penalty was ignored by the referee possibly turned out to be pivotal in the end result. A rash of Rovers substitutions were made in an effort to inject life into the home cause and, late on, Rovers did force a little pressure on the Berko defence in search of an equaliser. Tshikuna almost forced an equaliser when his shot was fumbled by visiting keeper Xavier Comas Leon but he recovered quickest to smother the loose ball. However, this match was not quite over, and Osobu took a decisive hand in added time when he cut inside from the right wing and found the bottom corner with a fine left-footed effort to level the match score. Unbeaten Berko would travel home wondering how they were denied all three points, which their overall superiority deserved, but give Rovers some credit for their late fightback.

Final Score: Barton Rovers 1 (Osobu 90+2) Berhamsted FC 1 (Toomey 58)

Rovers Team: Fortser, Jibodu (Griffiths 84), Olineran, Thomas, Sonuga, Gibson, Osobu, Dummett, Vincent (McKenzie-Lowe 62), Tshikuna, Williams Jr (Lukulay 62)

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