Tring Athletic looked like they were heading towards an undeserved defeat on Saturday until George Brinkman popped up to score his first goal for the club five minutes from time to earn them a 1-1 draw
On their second half performance Athletic will feel they should have claimed all three points but they will be relieved to have got something from the SSML Premier game against a Biggleswade United side good enough to knock Aylesbury United out of the FA Cup four weeks ago.
From the start both sides produced some great football, building from the defence and trying to play the ball to feet. The visitors had several early attempts on goal without hitting the target and the game settled into an evenly contested encounter. Midway through the half Athletic won three corners on the bounce as United struggled to clear their lines but nothing came from these opportunities.
The visitors were looking sharp going forward and when Athletic needlessly gave the ball away in midfield they quickly took advantage, with centre forward David Iwediuno producing a slide rule pass to pick out the clever run of Sergio Urbano who calmly slid the ball past keeper Jack Hopwood to put his side ahead in the 25th minute.
Athletic were getting in good positions but failing to find the right final pass and the nearest they came to an equaliser was a thumping long range shot from Sam Joliffe that wasn’t too far off target. The visitors just shaded the first 45 minutes and were good value for their one goal lead.
Athletic were a different side from the restart, playing with a high level of intensity and commitment they dominated the second half. United keeper Tom Wyatt pulled off two brilliant early saves from a deflected Adam Scotcher shot and a close range header from leading scorer Chris Vardy. Then Sam Joliffe cracked a shot just inches wide.
With the visitors being pushed back by the ferocity of the Athletic attacks they were unable to mount any meaningfully breaks from their own half. Brinkman’s super cross caused chaos in the visitor’s defence who managed to scramble the ball away.
Luke Dunstan superbly wriggled his way to the bye line and his cross looked destined for the net but it hit Sam Joliffe in the six yard box and somehow bounced wide of the goal.
With time running out the home supporters must have wondered whether it was not going to be their day but with five minutes left on the clock Brinkman choose a terrific time to open his account for his new club when he timed his run into the box with perfection to skillfully convert a flicked on long throw.
With time up United Captain Lee Bilcock produced a game saving tackle to deny Adam Scotcher as he raced through on goal and then the visitors nearly snatched a late dramatic winner when Iwediuno fired in a fierce shot. This was their only genuine effort on goal in the second half and would have been an unfair and cruel blow to Athletic, but fortunately for them it went wide of the far post.
This was an enthralling and high quality game between two good sides and both will have their disappointments, United for being unable to hold onto their lead for another five minutes and Athletic for being unable to take advantage of their second half domination and convert the numerous chances they carved out.
Athletic’s next encounter will be a trip to Winslow United for a FA Vase game on Saturday.
Tring: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Jack Seaton (16 Jamie Warne 66) 4 George Brinkman 5 David O’Connor 6 Dan Steadman (Capt) 7 Ryan Sturges (14 Jack Sunderland 83) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Adam Scotcher 11 Luke Dunstan . Subs not used: 12 James Banfield 15 Stuart Stedman.
Biggleswade United: 1 Tom Wyatt 2 Matt Cooper 3 Carles Balboa 4 Kane Farrell (12 James Cooper 58) 5 Lee Bilcock (Capt) 6 Gareth Hunt 7 Jamie O’Neill (17 Martin Russell 80) 8 Antonio Mitri 9 David Iwediuno 10 Sergio Urbano 11 Charlie Joy (15 Lusungo Ndovi 76). Subs not used: 14 Paul Donald GK Dan Boughton.