Tring Athletic stretched their unbeaten run to eight games as hit-man Chris Vardy bagged a hat-trick to earn a 3-0 victory over Stotfold on Saturday.
The first effort on goal came after nine minutes when a Kieran Turner shot from the edge of the penalty was saved by Adam Harpur in the Stotfold goal.
Just two minutes later, Harpur ran outside of his penalty area to make a clearance and the ball fell to the feet of Dave O’Connor who took the opportunity to immediately return the ball which flew over the goalkeeper’s head but went just wide of the goal.
On 35 minutes Athletic were awarded a free-kick just outside the box; and Lee Stobbs’ effort was fumbled by Harpur, but fortunately for him a colleague was on hand to clear Vardy’s shot off the goal line.
However, there was no denying Tring’s leading scorer one minute later as he coolly lobbed the Stotfold keeper from the edge of the penalty area to open the scoring in impressive style.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Athletic nearly increased their lead when good interpassing between Vardy, Stuart Stedman and Kieran Turner saw Turner shoot through a defender’s legs and just wide of the far post.
Stotfold had a good opportunity to equalise after the break when Ryan Ellis put in a good cross but Jaiden Irish failed to head in from just six yards.
Tring almost doubled their advantage in the 72nd minute as Stobbs curled a shot against the outside of the post, and then just a minute later Vardy picked up a poor headed clearance and rounded the keeper to tuck the ball away for 2-0.
Stotfold then had two good chances, both falling to skipper Ben L’Honore, who put a header just wide and then shot over from a good position when Athletic struggled to clear the ball.
Vardy was the victim of an off the ball incident soon afterwards and an eagle eyed assistant referee spotted the infringement; Stotfold’s Jake Long received his second yellow card, followed by a red, while also conceding a penalty.
Vardy stepped up and shot confidently into the roof of the net for Tring’s third and the completion of his hat-trick.
In the dying seconds Vardy, Ellis and goalkeeper Harpur all went for the same ball, resulting in Ellis being carried from the field on a stretcher.
There is no mid-week match for Athletic this week but then two matches a week for the next couple of months.
Tring Athletic: Matt Evans, Sam Jolliffe, Dan Stedman (c), Dave O’Connor, Stuart Stedman (Jack Sunderland), Lee Stobbs, Ryan McMahon, Luke Dunstan, Jack Westgate (Ryan Sturges), Chris Vardy, Kieran Turner (Bertie Squires-Adams); Subs not used: Chris Mason and Kevin McManus.
Stotfold: Adam Harpur; Jake Long, Daniel Harper, Michael Simpson, Michael Payne, Ben L’Honore (c), Drew Cardines, Jaiden Irish, Louis Taylor, Kumanie Scarlett, Aeden Gaffney: Subs: Mark Ellis (used); Rob Verdia; Luke Burkett (used); Ryan Ellis (used); Nathan Godfrey.