Athletic's magnificent seven
Tring Athletic swept into the third round of the FA Vase on Saturday after an emphatic 7-0 victory at Wellingborough Town.
It was Athletic’s opening match in the prestigious national competition this season and after a tentative first-half, they came out emphatic winners over the United Counties Premier outfit.
There was a hat-trick for skipper Kieran Turner, for the second week running, and another from the hard working Ashton Campbell. Between them, the duo have scored 30 goals already this season.
The game was played on an excellent playing surface and it was Athletic who had the better of the early exchanges.
However, after eight minutes the Northamptonshire hosts created the first opportunity when Shaun Wilkes was played through the middle, but young debutant Patrick Sinfield in Athletic’s goal saved well.
Tring then created two chances, one for Turner and another for Campbell that were easily dealt with by the home side. Neither side were dominant and Athletic were finding it difficult to produce their usual flowing football.
Further chances were created by both sides to no avail, but then a mesmerising dribble by Turner in the 27th minute saw him fire low and hard into the far corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Just three minutes later Athletic made it 2-0 in controversial circumstances. The ball was played over the home defence for Campbell to collect and run towards goal but he was unceremoniously bundled over. The referee, without consulting his assistant, immediately awarded a penalty. It looked debatable and to compound things for the hosts, he also sent-off Carlos Lewis for being the last man and preventing a scoring opportunity. Following a lengthy, delay skipper Turner stepped up to fire the spot-kick into the corner for a 2-0 edge.
With 10 minutes left of the first period Mark Riddick’s shot was well-saved by keeper Justin Greatorex.
A series of corners followed for the visitors and from one of these a Campbell header flew just wide.
The second-half began with the ten-man hosts dominating play. Just two minutes after the break Boro’s Adam Randall shot from distance but again Sinfield saved well.
Further chances fell to Boro but Athletic weathered the storm.
Athletic then put together a terrific move. The ball was fed to Campbell whose shot was saved, however it ran to right-back Ben Johnson, who somehow hit the post rather than the gaping goal.
In the 59th minute Athletic scored their third. A quick break from defence by David O’Connor saw him play a superb crossfield pass to Turner, who ran at the defence, checked inside and found his favourite side of the goal with a brilliant finish.
Athletic were in the ascendancy and following a run down the left by Turner, his cross found Johnson free in front of the goal, but he misjudged the flight of the ball.
In the 78th minute substitute Kyle Johnson fed Campbell, but his shot flew wide.
Campbell, however, wasn’t to be denied. Two minutes later a flowing move down the left wing found him bearing down on goal before shooting low into the net for a 4-0 advantage.
Tring made it 5-0 with six minutes left when Alex Campana fired into the far corner.
A Campbell shot was then dropped into the goal by the Boro keeper two minutes later and then Campbell wrapped up the scoring with his hat-trick on 90 minutes to make it 7-0.
It was a great result and all-round performance by Athletic, who will now host Biggleswade in the next round, ironically, the team that Tring are also battling for top spot in the SSML Premier Division.
There will be 64 clubs in action at this third-round stage with 32 ties played on Saturday, December 1.
Winning teams will net £1,125 from the competition’s prize fund, while losing clubs pick-up £375.
Tring are back in action again tonight (Wednesday) when they travel to Hitchin Town in the Herts Senior Challenge Cup.
They then host sixth-placed Colney Heath in the league this Saturday as Tring, in second place, try to keep up the pressure on leaders Biggleswade.
Tring v Wellingboorugh: Patrick Sinfield, Ben Johnson (Joe Fitzgerald), Chris Mason, Mark Riddick (Kyle Johnson), David O’Connor (Chris Crook), Carl Mensah, Tommy Twelves, Roy Byron, Ashton Campbell, Kieran Turner, Alex Campana. Subs not used: Elliott Goward, Billy Busari.