A battling performance by the Stags at Berkhamsted saw them return to the East end with a well deserved point after having to withstand an opening period when they could have let in a couple of goals and a final period when they could have scored two or three more.
The first ten minutes was a particularly good period for Berko who were both unable to score and unlucky not to. Within two minutes striker Ben Porter found himself free on the edge of the Forest’s six yard box but blasted yards wide when it was easier to score.
Then, from a Stags attack, the play went straight back up the other end where Porter was on hand to shoot from about ten yards out in a more central position. This time it was ‘keeper Gavin King who kept the ball out of the net with an excellent point blank save. From the resultant corner, Michael Chennells slammed the ball against the crossbar instead of hitting the back of the net.
Although Berko had most of the chances at this stage it was not all one way sailing. Forest had an excellent chance on 11 minutes when Dewayne Clarke held the ball up on the edge of the penalty area and squared the ball to Ken Charlery. He saw home ‘keeper Mazurek off his line and tried to chip him but narrowly missed the target.
After the first fifteen minutes of frenetic goalmouth incident, the game slowed down and both sides looked to win the midfield whilst still having a few chances on goal. Supporters settled to watch the entertaining spectacle laid on by both sides.
On the half hour forest had an amazing let off when, after being caught out at the back whilst attacking, Porter found himself free once again. This time his shot beat King and hit the right upright only to bounce back into King’s grateful hands.
Four minutes later Paul Armand had his go at troubling the home defence when he ran down the left and put in a beautiful cross that had the defence wondering what to do. However, they were saved by the quick thinking Sam Chapman who headed off just missing his own goal.
More chances fell to both sides with Clarke, for Forest and Chennells for Berko both having good attempts. Then the wall finally fell on the 44th minute when Andy Mullins pounced on a bouncing ball in the penalty area and made no mistake shooting past King’s outstretched right hand.
The final action of the half was when Sol Henry was taken down in the Berko penalty area but referee, Mr Field, not for the first time in the afternoon, gave the benefit of the doubt to the home defence.
The second half was a game of equals for the next thirty minutes but the Stags did have the better scoring chances especially early on when Mazurek saved from Henry then was called on to make a superb save from Armand after he had parried another shot from Henry.
More chances fell to the Stags with Clarke and Henry both coming close. Berko were having their share of the attack but had more difficulty getting a shot in than hitherto. Then Mazurek should have been given a yellow card after showering a fusillade of abuse at the assistant referee. Neither he nor the referee who was only yards away, did a thing.
With only five minutes left, Clarke was hauled down, yet again, on the edge of the penalty area. This time Mr Field was happy to give a free kick. Marvin Walker curled the ball into the goal, it hit the underside of the crossbar and crossed the line. To make doubly sure Halil Kalil followed up and put the ball beyond the grasping hands of Mazurek.
Forest then took the game by the scruff of the neck and could have scored the winner but, in the end the draw was a fair result from this exciting game.