Leverstock Green rescued a point with a late equaliser, and it was the least they deserved from another hotly-contested local derby. The history between the clubs, with the ex-Leverstock management team at Berko plus the number of players that have moved from Pancake Lane to Broadwater over the summer and during the season, hung over the fixture and probably contributed to the scenes after the final whistle which saw a red card issued.
The Green would have hoped to carry over their defensive solidity from Saturday's clean sheet at Aylesbury into this game, but they were behind inside two minutes. A corner from Josh Chamberlain brushed off the head of a Green defender into the path of Ross Miller, and the former Green player headed his side into an early lead.
Chamberlain himself shot just wide in the 7th minute, but Leverstock began to play their way into the match, and Ken Orenuga and Curt Dizon hit shots just wide in the 13th and 14th minutes respectively. There was another chance for the Green on 32 minutes when a free kick into the box fell for Adiel Mannion, but his shot was gathered by former Green keeper Carl Tasker.
Four minutes before the break Leverstock had the ball into the net. James Dabbs broke from his own penalty area and ran the length of the field before hitting a shot which Tasker could only parry. Orenuga followed up and won what looked like a 50-50 challenge with Tasker before getting up and shooting home. The referee disallowed the goal though, and also booked Orenuga for the challenge.
Leverstock went into the second half a goal down and again conceded early in the second half. Tunde Owolabi, so impressive on Saturday, lost the ball to Lewis Pritchard just outside his own box, and the former Green striker didn't spurn the gift as he slotted the ball under Tom Coulton for a 2-0 Berko lead.
Owolabi gave way to Sam Lyon, and Tom Bambury came on for Orenuga soon after, and on the hour mark Leverstock were offered a way back into the game. Dizon was threatening inside the box before being upended by Jamie Gavin. The referee pointed straight to the penalty spot, and Tobi Akin put the penalty just out of the reach of Tasker's hand to reduce the arrears to 2-1.
For the rest of the game it was the Leverstock side that were well on top. On 62 minutes a shot from Dabbs was cleared off the line by Miller. On 81 minutes Steve Nott-Macaire gave the ball away to Akin on the edge of the box, but Tasker managed to dive at Akin's feet and push the ball away to safety. Tasker was called into action again on 84 minutes to parry away an excellent long-range effort from Kris Tyrell.
It looked as though Leverstock's efforts were going to be in vain, but a minute from time final substitute Marvin Tabi made a run at the box. Tabi's square ball just eluded Bambury, but ran through to Akin, who emphatically swept the ball home for a much-deserved equaliser, prompting much celebration on the Green bench in contrast to the grim faces on the adjacent Berkhamsted bench.
Berko might have won it from a corner in stoppage time but for a goalline clearance from Lyon. The final whistle should have been a cue for both sides to shake hands and acknowledge the sharing of the points, but there were some ugly scenes which resulted in Akin receiving a red card, apparently for retaliating to provocation from one of the Berko players. It was an unneccessary end to what had been an entertaining game and didn't reflect well on either club.