Tring Athletic experience the highs and lows of knock-out cup football in space of a few days
After the joys of a win over local rivals Leverstock Green in the Herts Charity Shield in midweek it was Tring Athletic's turn to taste defeat on Saturday when they went down 1-0 at Colney Heath in the Emirates FA Cup.
On Tuesday night Athletic were fortunate to reach half-time on level terms after the Green had failed to take advantage of their superiority in the first half through a mixture of good goalkeeping from Jack Hopwood and missed opportunities.
Athletic had opened the scoring against the run of play through a well taken goal from Jack Read but Green deservedly equalised through David Lawrence.
However, a shrewd tactical switch by Athletic manager Ian Richardson turned the game on its head.
The changes made the Tring side the dominant force after the break.
Jack Read doubled his tally and there were further goals from Chris Blunden and debutant James Shaw to make Athletic’s final winning margin an emphatic 4-1.
In the next round Athletic face another local derby when Berkhamsted will be the visitors to The Grass Roots Stadium..
It was a different proposition when Athletic visited Colney Heath on Saturday for the opening extra-preliminary round of the FA Cup.
It has always been a difficult venue for Athletic, made more so this season as the home team have recruited virtually the whole of London Colney’s title-winning side from last season.
Athletic lost the tie 1-0 but the margin of defeat could have been greater as their hosts missed two penalties.
That being said, Athletic themselves were denied a clear penalty.
Missing key players like midfielders Luke Dunstan and Tommy Twelves as well as their effervescent youngster Max Hercules, Athletic failed to find their usual spark.
They had their moments when they retained possession but they lacked the cutting edge to trouble the home defence.
Colney deserved their win with the crucial goal being scored by captain Sam Doolan following a corner in the 22nd minute.
In the next round Colney Heath will have a home tie against Gloucestershire side Shortwood United who play in the Southern League Division 1 (South and West).
Athletic will be disappointed at going out of the FA Cup so early but they can take heart from last season when they went out to Desborough Town at the same stage but still went on to have a highly successful season.
They have had several days to get over this defeat before opening their Spartan South Midlands Premier Division league campaign at home this Saturday with another challenging game this time against Welwyn Garden City.
City finished just a place below them last season in sixth and will be keen to be amongst the title contenders this year.
After that, they then host Leverstock again at home.