High flying London Colney downed by terrific Tring Athletic

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Tring Athletic had plenty to celebrate on Saturday after their first team won convincingly at second placed London Colney while their reserves were lifting the Suburban Challenge Plate trophy.

The latter had previously claimed the league title a few weeks earlier to make it a season to remember for the second string.

Colney have been one of the main contenders for the title but defeat at London Tigers two days earlier meant AFC Dunstable were confirmed as champions.

Colney still had plenty to play for as a victory would ensure the runners-up spot, but they faced an Athletic side who have a good track record against the top sides.

The visitors started the stronger and within 90 seconds Kieran Turner and Taylor Collins had shots blocked following a corner.

A few minutes later Athletic got caught out when a cross to the far post was headed just wide by an unmarked Jack Nevin.

Home centre forward Jon Clements linked up nicely with Charlie Smith who had a presentable shooting opportunity but he tamely side footed his effort well wide.

Lee Stobbs, who has been in scintillating form for Athletic, produced a superb pass to Kieran Turner who shot just over.

Athletic were playing some nice football, keeping possession and building from the back and they deservedly took the lead in the 32nd minute.

Skipper Dan Steadman’s terrific pass sent Stobbs away down the right and the Athletic winger slipped a pass inside to Turner whose fine cross was converted from close range by Ryan Sturges.

Colney were dangerous on the break and keeper Jack Hopwood did well to come out and block a shot from Spencer Clarke-Mardel after he had been sent through by a fine pass from Clements.

A minute before half time Athletic doubled their lead when Luke Dunstan was caught in the area.

Sam Joliffe confidently dispatched the spot kick to enable Athletic to go into the break with a commanding two-goal lead.

Within 30 seconds of the restart Taylor Collins latched onto a great through ball from Jack Seaton and lobbed the stranded keeper only to see it drift just wide of the goal.

But Athletic did finally grab a crucial third goal when Colney failed to clear a corner and Dunstan fired home a left-footed shot.

Colney were stung into action but Athletic were in no mood to let them back into the game and were able to add a fourth goal a minute from time when Ben Seaton and Turner combined to set up Stobbs who clinically slotted home his 10th goal of the season.

After some recent disappointing performances this was more like the old Athletic and they can look forward to finishing the season on a high note with one league game left and two cup finals.

London Colney: 1 Tom Blackman 2 Dan Power 3 Dave Corran 4 Sam Doolan (Capt) 5 Shaun Murphy 6 Nial Lysaght 7 Jack Nevin (14 Dan Burrows 41) 8 Lee Close (12 Tony Gold 86) 9 Jon Clements 10 Charlie Smith 11 Spencer Clarke-Mardel.

Tring Athletic: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Jack Seaton 3 Chris Mason (15 Stuart Stedman 73) 4 Luke Dunstan (14 Ben Seaton 66) 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Kevin McManus 7 Lee Stobbs 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Taylor Collins 10 Kieran Turner 11 Ryan Sturges (12 Jay Caines 61).