Stobbs delivers as Athletic battle back to sink Wembley
Tring Athletic bounced back from last weekend's Dacorum derby drubbing at Berkhamsted with a 2-1 victory against a Wembley side sitting one place above them in the SSML Premier Division table.
Initially Athletic struggled to get into gear and it was no surprise when the visitors took the lead, but they showed character to raise their game and battle back to claim all three points with goals from Jay Caines and Lee Stobbs.
Tring had the first attempt on goal when Chris Stapleton, making his league debut, produced a shot that forced a good save from the keeper.
But gradually Wembley stamped their authority on the game and Jack Hopwood made a crucial double save to firstly deny Joe Wright and then Yassine Fehmi-Gil.
The visitors were playing some nice football and creating the better chances, and Kevin McManus had to clear a goalbound shot from Fehmi-Gil ,with keeper Hopwood making a follow up save from the same player.
On the half hour mark Wembley got the goal their play deserved with Nathan Jallow scoring from close range after a fine move had carved open the home defence.
The visitors were now very much in the driving seat, but the game changed nine minutes later when Caines scored a cracking equalising goal.
Linking up with Kieran Turner on the left of the area, Caines fired in a superb shot from an acute angle that soared past the keeper into the far corner. It was a superb strike from the 19-year-old making only his ninth appearance.
Athletic looked a different proposition in the second half, with the lively Chris Stapleton producing a superb diving header from a free-kick which flew past the keeper into the roof of the net. Unfortunately celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Undeterred, Tring won another free-kick in the 53rd minute and this time they were not to be denied. Sam Joliffe’s set piece was partially cleared to beyond the far post to Stobbs who drilled a fierce shot through a crowd of players into the net for his seventh goal of the season.
The balance of play now swung in Athletic’s favour and the visiting keeper did well to save from Turner at the near post after a typical mazy run.
Midway through the half Athletic came close to extending their lead when Joliffe’s header hit the bar.
Both sides made changes and the visitors kept trying to play from the back, but they were creating less chances than they did in the first half hour and Athletic were able to comfortably hold on for a fine win.
Managers Ian Richardson and Paul Bonham will be delighted at the response they got from their young side against a strong experienced Wembley team that started the game so strongly. The victory pushed Athletic up two places to eighth in the table.
Athletic have two games next week with the visit of Stotfold on Tuesday before they face a difficult trip to title chasing Hoddesdon Town on Saturday.
Tring Athletic: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Kevin McManus 3 Chris Mason 4 Ben Seaton (15 Luke Dunstan 61) 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O’Connor 7 Lee Stobbs (12 Jack Westlake 85) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Jay Caines (16 Ryan Sturges 77) 10 Kieran Turner 11 Chris Stapleton. Subs not used: 14 Jack Seaton 17 Taylor Collins
Wembley: 1 Grigioli Zulmatashvili 2 Adam Humphries 3 Jonathan Iley (14 Junior Bushiri 70) 4 Wayne Walters 5 Carl Pearce 6 Steve O’Reilly 7 Ian Bates (Capt) 8 Nathan Jallow (12 Harry Whiter 34) 9 Joe Wright 10 Yassine Fehmi-Gil 11 Adam Murad (15 Taiwo Edun 70). Sub not used: 16 Zaied Sabti.