Tring Athletic put in a poor performance on Saturday at ninth-placed Hadley and were lucky to escape with just a 1-0 defeat.
Hadley held an official opening of their new facilities at Brickfield Lane on what was national ‘Non-League Football Day’ and then proceeded to celebrate the occasion by ending Athletic’s recent good run of four unbeaten games.
With new facilities and a superb pitch, the home team dominated much of the match and would have won more convincingly but for some missed opportunities and some great goalkeeping from Tring’s netminder Jack Hopwood.
The only goal of the game came in the 13th minute when the ball was slipped through the square Athletic defence to release Yemi Buraimoh who finished smartly past Hopwood.
Thereafter the game seemed to be a personal contest between Hopwood and Lewis Francis, with the former foiling the Hadley striker on a number of occasions.
When Francis did get the ball past Hopwood, he missed the target.
Athletic’s only real chance of a goal came on the half-hour mark when a pass forward from their young full-back Ben Johnson was missed by the home defence to set Chris Blunden free. The normally lethal Athletic number 9, who had bagged eight goals in his previous four games, lobbed the keeper but his effort cleared the crossbar.
Athletic kept going to the end but couldn’t find their normal rhythm and struggled to open up the solid Hadley defence, which held on quite comfortably to win.
It was a frustrating and disappointing afternoon for Athletic, who have done well in cup competitions this season but have struggled for league points.
Tring find themselves in 18th place in the SSML Premier Division table with just one win from their nine league outings so far this term.
But they have further opportunities to put that right over the next week.
They were due to be in action again last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press at near-neighbours Leverstock Green (see p54) then this Saturday entertain seventh-ranked Leighton Town.