Colney Heath fell one stage short of the Herts Senior Challenge Cup as they lost away to Berkhamsted.

A first-half double from Connor Toomey had put the Comrades in front but they had to survive a much better second period from Colney. 

In the end though, it was the holders who advanced with a 2-0 victory.

The first half was as you would have expected, Southern League Berkhamsted with the possession but Colney Heath defending manfully.

An injury to Billy Owen on 20 minutes proved a pivotal moment.

The Colney man was caught by a firm but fair challenge from Dan Newton but the clash made Owen worry for his ligaments, and he was taken away on a stretcher.

The short delay didn't stop the home side from having more of the ball but Colney's intensity took a hit and the Comrades took the lead three minutes later.

Crosses always seemed like they would prove beneficial for Berko and so it proved as Sami Bessadi flung in a inch-perfect delivery for Toomey to sweep home.

Connor Sansom had to get down low round his left boot and did get a hand to it but couldn't keep it out.

The second also came from the right Max Bustamante this time with the delivery.

Toomey was being watched closely by Sam Denham but the yellow-shirted midfielder was still able to get his head to it, guiding it up and over the Mags keeper.

Sansom had also been called into a few saves, pushing one shot away for Jamie Willing to clear and then doing the same, Denham this time supplying the finishing thump away.

He also had to push a scruffy Bessadi ground skimmer away while Willing cleared off the line when Kyal Williams sent one towards goal.

Colney had showed little going forward, most attacks floundering at the home defence, but a long hanging ball into the middle did find Kai Thomas-Fraser at the back post.

His header lacked power but did head towards goal, hitting the upright.

The rebound then fell to Brad Dixon-Smith but he seemed almost surprised and headed tamely into the arms of keeper Jamie Head.

Berkhamsted made a potentially planned sub at the break, bringing Jerimia Luwero on for Matt Bateman and the first couple of minute of the second period saw them win a couple of corners.

However, it soon became a different game, as the Magpies stirred into life.

George Sippetts whipped in a cross that was just in front of Ollie Lawford and then the latter bent a fine free-kick over the wall that Head had to tip over.

Sam Ejjayha had a shot just go over despite being off balance and some wonderful feet by Kelechi Etienne in the box created space for a shot that was vitally blocked.

Berkhamsted were realising they couldn't coast through the second half but bar a few scrambles in the Heath area, they were forced into slowing the game down and trying to break the away side's rhythm.

It always had the feel that it was going to be Berko's day and although both sides created late chances, with Colney pushing hard until the final whistle, there was no further goals.

Match details

Colney Heath: Sansom, Thomas-Fraser, Dixon-Smith, Camara, Willing, Denham, Owen (Etienne 21), Ejjayha, Sippetts, Lawford (Fonti 61), Hughes (Fulton 61).

Sub (not used): Knaggs, Irons.


Booked: Lawford 54, Etienne 62, Denham 77


Berkhamsted: Head (Cannon 79), Newton, Williams, Martin (Frederick 66), McClelland, Massingham, Ismail, Toomey, Bateman (Luwero 46), Bustamante, Bessadi.

Subs (not used): Da Silva, Stalmach.

Goals: Toomey 24, 37



HT: Berkhamsted 2 Colney Heath 0

Added time: 7

Referee: Christopher Poole (Welwyn Garden City)

Attendance: 165