After a difficult season Tring Athletic gave themselves a much-needed end-of-year boost with a 3-1 victory over Holmer Green at home on Saturday to move off the foot of the table and up four places to 18th in the SSML Premier Division.
Tring still have a lot to do to be safe but at last they are getting their act together – and have games in hand.
This was the 39th encounter between the two clubs and after a fairly quiet first-half the game improved in the second period.
Athletic enjoyed the better possession and chances and would have won by a greater margin but for a dogged performance from a youthful Green team who were indebted to their keeper Luca Gaster, who made a series of super saves.
The visitors came into the match with three wins and a draw from their last six and they made a positive start at The Grass Roots Stadium.
As the half wore on, Tring started to show more signs of life, winning set pieces and beginning to pose a threat.
Athletic took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Dave O’Connor headed home his second of the season from a free-kick curled in superbly from the right by Chris Vardy.
Jack Read forced another fine save from Gaster two minutes after the restart but the game took a different twist with Green grabbing a surprise equaliser in the 56th minute. A ball down the middle caught out the home defence and Leo Blackman ran through to coolly tuck his shot just inside the post.
The visitors’ elation was short-lived as Tring went back into the lead within three minutes. A Max Hercules corner was headed back across goal by O’Connor for Read to nod home.
Tring were desperate to get a third goal and brought on Jack Sunderland who made an immediate impact when he rose from the bench in the 89th minute. His first contribution saw his shot deflect up in the air and head for the net until Gaster tipped it over. From the corner O’Connor’s header was blocked on the line but Sunderland was quick to stab it home from close range.
This Saturday Tring have the big FA Vase fourth-round game at home against Hullbridge Sports from the Essex Senior League.
A win would take Tring into unknown territory and only three rounds from a Wembley final for this prestigious nation competition.
It’s a big day and occasion for the club and they are encouraging as many people as possible to come along to cheer on the lads.