Athletic overcome jinx to remain at top of the league
Away trips to Hadley have not been productive for Tring Athletic over the years with just one win from 10 visits, but they overcame the hoo-do to win 3-1 on Saturday and stay top of the SSML Premier.
Tring have always found the Barnet-based side tough opponents on their own turf but this season Tring appear made of sterner stuff.
Athletic had to do it the hard way, conceding a goal after only 10 minutes when they failed to deal with a corner and the ball pinged around their area before bouncing off a defender for an own goal.
It was a sloppy goal and perked up their opponents who had failed to score in their three previous games.
Hadley’s big centre forward David Laird scored again a minute later but it was ruled it out for a foul in the build up.
Tring were knocked out of their rhythm for a spell but quickly got into their stride nine minutes after going behind with a super goal set up by midfielder Luke Dunstan.
Striding through midfield, Dunstan slipped a perfect pass to Ashton Campbell, who tucked the ball away with aplomb. It was an impressive finish from summer signing Campbell, who now has nine goals from 10 games this term.
With play swinging end-to-end, both sides had chances with Tring stopper Connor Sansom superbly tipping a shot round the post, while home net man Gregg Marsh kept out a Campbell shot.
Tring had a big let-off on 49 minutes when Sansom spilled the ball near Laird, but his shot wafted well wide of goal.
Two minutes later Tring punished the hosts profligacy by taking a 2-1 lead. From a throw near the opposition area, Dunstan clipped in a lovely left-footed ball to the far post. Campbell missed an attempt to get a touch but did enough to put off the keeper as the ball nestled just inside the post for Dunstan’s 29th goal for the club. It was a fitting reward for another terrific performance from a player who is still only 21 but already closing in on his 200th appearance. Hadley pushed forward seeking an equaliser but were not helped when Shaz Anwar received his marching orders for a second yellow card.
With gaps appearing in Hadley’s defence, Tring looked likely to score again and did so on 87 minutes when Jack Read headed home a superb Campbell cross from close range.
It was Tring’s fifth straight win and maintained their unbeaten run in the league.
Boss Ian Richardson said: “Although we were not at our best, we reacted well to going behind so early.”
Next up for Tring are two tough games home and away against eighth-placed Potton United.