Tring Athletic showed character after their dramatic last-minute disappointment in the Herts Charity Shield final (see p39) on Tuesday by bouncing back with a hard-fought win at Edgware Town.
The hosts are hovering above the drop zone but have twice this season beaten Athletic, who were missing five players.
Two late goals made it look easy but Athletic had to fend off a strong second-half showing from the London outfit to extend their good run of form to four straight league wins with 12 goals scored and none conceded.
As a result they moved up a place in the table to fifth, a point behind Wembley but with two games in hand.
There was an initial flurry of chances at both ends and a home forward got an early sight of goal but hit a weak shot at Tring keeper Jack Hopwood before Town colleagues Dan Pett and Andre Da Costa had half-chances.
Athletic responded with Jack Seaton hitting the bar with a header and George Carbery having a good shot.
After that promising start the game went into a stalemate with the visitors enjoying more possession but without getting on top.
With a strong, blustery wind not helping Athletic, they also had to acclimatise to the 3G pitch.
In the 36th minute Tring’s Luke Dunstan was bundled over in the box but for the second consecutive match but George Carbery missed the penalty.
However, Athletic smelt an opportunity as half-time loomed and two minutes into added-time Chris Vardy swept home a ball from Ryan Sturges for his 18th goal of the season for 1-0.
Into the second-half and Edgware brought on top scorer Adem Ali and he made an immediate impact with a shot that Hopwood tipped onto the post. Later he produced another strike that forced Hopwood into a good save.
The hosts now looked a different proposition but Athletic showed why they had one of the best defences in the division with the versatile Jack Seaton standing in at centre back having an outstanding game.
Athletic’s second goal came in the 74th minute when Luke Dunstan turned provider with a superb run to cross for Chris Stapleton to finished off superbly for his fifth goal in three games.
The third came as normal time ended when Jack Read got the final touch.
With near rivals Wembley and Biggleswade United dropping points ,Athletic are in pole position to take over fourth spot.
They were due to travel to Stotfold last night (Tuesday) then entertain Colney Heath on Saturday.