Tring Athletic will feel very disappointed at losing 2-1 after a very good performance at last season’s SSML Premier runners-up London Colney on Saturday.
Athletic have had to readjust after losing a number of key players in pre-season but manager Ian Richardson will be pleased at the response he got from his players who competed on equal terms with an in-form Colney side who sit top after starting the season with a four wins from four games.
Athletic started the game positively winning a corner after only 46 seconds and producing their fair share of attacking football.
Mid way through the half Tommy Twelves, who alongside fellow new signing Lessa Boka slotted impressively into efence, saw his deflected shot drift just wide of the far post.
The visitors then nearly shot themselves in the foot when a poor back pass was seized on by Russell Gallagher but from a tight angle he shot wide of the far post.
Athletic then enjoyed a good spell of pressure with Ryan Sturges and Chris Vardy going close, then the former touched a fine cross just over from close range despite having his shirt tugged from behind by the full back.
But against the run of play Colney opened the scoring in the 38th minute. A long clearance was collected by Ashley Morrissey and from quite a way out he lobbed the keeper in spectacular fashion.
Dave O’Connor smashed a presentable opportunity over the bar but Athletic had a narrow escape when Jon Clements met a cross but put his effort just wide. After a good half Athletic were unfortunate to go in for the break a goal down.
Athletic started the second period on the front foot and there was a call for a penalty, which was ignored, when a Chris Vardy header appeared to hit the raised hand of a defender.
But the visitors didn’t have to wait long for a deserved equaliser, with Chris Vardy latching onto a flick from Dave O’Connor and calmly slotting the ball past the keeper in the 54th minute.
Colney came back strongly and forced keeper Jack Hopwood into a couple of saves but Athletic weathered this mini storm and had chances to win the game with Chris Vardy and Chris Stapleton spurning very good opportunities. With ten minutes left Athletic got caught by another sucker punch when they failed to deal with a long routine ball down the middle and sub Archie McClelland ran through to score.
The visitors tried desperately to grab another equaliser and another new player Lanrewajh Ladipo, who came off the bench, struck a sweet volley but it went straight at the keeper and Colney were able to see out the game and maintain their 100% start to the season.
Unfortunately a couple of basic defensive errors were to prove costly but there were a lot of positives to take away from the game.
Athletic’s next match is on Saturday when they entertain Leighton Town for a Premier Division fixture. Despite the close proximity of the two clubs this will be their first ever competitive encounter.
Tring: 1 Jack Hopwood, 2 Tommy Twelves (15 Jack Seaton 84), 3 Chris Mason, 4 Luke Dunstan, 5 Dan Steadman (Capt), 6 David O’Connor, 7 Ryan Sturges (14 Jack Sunderland 84), 8 Sam Joliffe, 9 Chris Vardy, 10 Lessa Boka, 11 Chris Stapleton (12 Lanrewajh Ladipo (72). Subs not used: 16 Paul Jeffreys.