After hearing the sad news on Saturday that just over fifty percent of the first XI have voted to leave the club and head off to university next year, the old remainers appealed to the young intellectuals for a departing gift of three points that would secure a second referendum on the now seemingly-inevitable Berkxit from division 2S.
It was not to be as Cambridge simply would not budge during the seventy minutes of intense negotiations at the neutral Meadowcroft venue.
Finding themselves one-nil down after the early exchanges, Berko began to rally and found some fluency to penetrate wide, avoiding the Cambridge centre-midfield and erstwhile University of Edinburgh mass-debating champion, number 197. Against the run of play, Cambridge struck again. A sharp counter attack and a scorching long ball found a high striker who neatly deflected past the well beaten Boothroyd; all while Cambridge’s umpire-liaison officer, number 197, was remonstrating with the other official about something else. Pah.
The trademark two-nil-down burst of energy, commitment and guts from Berkhamsted quickly brought the scores level. Pettefer opened the account for the team (and himself for the season!) from a short corner, after injector Vila pounced on a rebound from the post and fed to his captain at left-slip, who blasted into the roof of the net, via a flailing Cambrideg stick. Allam struck soon after, with typical brute-brilliance, again from a short and again deflected into the net by a defender.
At two-all with three minutes to play of the first half, an unlawful tackle in Berko D gave Cambridge a short corner and an opportunity to seize the momentum before the break. Boothroyd was painfully unlucky to be unsighted by a melee of bodies and the rearwards-rushing Berkhamstedians could only wince as they witnessed the ball dribble over the line from a weak push at goal.
The play began to stretch in the second half as bodies tired, though neither team stopped running. Counter-attack followed attack, followed counter-attack. The volume rose in the near-capacity crowd and the umpires were forced to reach for their cards as tempers frayed. When the helmet-haired Cambridge right wing was sent to the bin for something or other, Berkhamsted sensed that reserves of energy would be well invested. Warning: your investments may go down as well as up. Committing high, BHHHC were robbed of the ball, a mid-fielder collected, rushed towards the largely-undefended D and slipped sublimely to his friend who appeared, stealth-like, from stage right and tipped past the veteran net-minder to make it four-two.
Though not without further opportunities in enemy territory, Berko looked unlikely to rediscover the killer instinct until raving-heterosexual, Egg Holderness, picked up top-D, fired the ball into the bottom corner and turned to celebrate. The only problem was that the ball caught the insider of the post and neatly rebounded for a Cambridge player to clear, just before the full time whistle.
Man of the match went to Captain Ali for yet another gutsy demonstration of leading from the back. Idiot-of-the-day has been unilaterally awarded by your correspondent to Egg Holderness for indiscretions innumerable.
With one to play, there is an outside chance that the 1s can reverse the impending Berkxit, though it will almost certainly mean taking another three points from in-form Bedford.