Tring suffer shock FA Cup home defeat

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Tring Athletic suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat in the FA Cup to Desborough Town on Saturday.

In extremely hot conditions there was little to choose between the sides in the early stages of this Extra Preliminary Round tie.

As half time loomed Athletic stepped up their game with Chris Vardy and Jack Sunderland shooting just wide.

They went closest to opening the scoring when, from Ryan Sturges’ chip, Chris Vardy sent a header goalwards forcing keeper Chris Jones into a terrific save.

The heat inevitably took its toll with little goalmouth action until midway through the second half when Chris Stapleton produced a superb shot that went agonisingly just wide of the post.

A draw seem the likely outcome with the United Counties League visitors showing little attacking ambition and seemingly intent on getting a replay.

But in the 81st minute the visitors stunned Athletic when John Dean fired a shot into the far corner to break the deadlock.

Athletic tried desperately to find an equaliser and won four corners in the last few minutes but they were unable to breach the visitors’ defence.

A very disappointing result especially as the visitors showed little ambition, scoring from their only genuine chance and failing to win one corner in the game.

Last Tuesday Tring squeezed through in the Herts Charity Shield.

Hosts Harpenden finished fourth in SSML Division One last season and they started strongly, forcing keeper Jack Hopwood into a couple of good early saves.

But it was the visitors who grabbed the first goal in the seventh minute when Chris Vardy cleverly shot past the keeper after being found by a cute pass from Chris Mason. Both sides missed chances before Harpenden deservedly equalised in the 77th minute through Ben Warren.

Athletic looked like they had clinched the tie when Sam Joliffe rifled home a free kick right at the death but there was more late excitement for the home supporters when Sam Edwards scrambled home the equaliser deep into added time.

The game then went into penalties and Jack Hopwood capped a terrific game by saving three consecutive spot kicks before Ryan Sturges coolly slotted the ball home to win the match 3-2 on penalties.

Tring host Leverstock Green in the SSML Premier on Tuesday night and visit London Colney on Saturday.