The season could not have started any better for Tring Athletic as they beat Hodesdon Town 2-0 in to make it two wins from their opening two competitive fixtures.
Last Tuesday, Julian Robinson’s side progressed through to the next round of the Herts Charity Shield with an impressive 3-0 victory at Hatfield Town.
And they did even better on Saturday, with a hard fought 2-0 home win over much fancied Hoddesdon in the SSML Premier Division, with Chris Vardy and Kieran Turner getting on the score sheet.
After their comfortable midweek success, Athletic knew they would face a stiffer test against a Hoddesdon side that had a change of management and influx of new players during the summer.
Both sides had early goals ruled out for offside and Athletic new boy Dave O’Connor went close when he headed a corner over the bar.
The visitors looked confident in possession and Athletic had to be alert to break up their sharp attacks.
Athletic also had their moments going forward, with Stuart Stedman and Luke Dunstan whipping over tantalising crosses that required just a touch.
Ten minutes before half-time, Hoddesdon were awarded a free-kick just outside the box and Athletic had a lucky escape when Max Mitchell hit the post and Mark Summers skied the loose ball well over the bar.
Three minutes into added time it was Athletic’s turn to win a free-kick in a promising position and, although the keeper saved Vardy’s effort, it was at the expense of a corner from which Athletic were able to capitalise.
O’Connor headed the set piece towards goal and the alert Vardy was able to head past the keeper for the opening goal.
The second half saw the visitors raise the pace of their game and enjoy more of the possession.
Athletic keeper Matt Evans was well protected but he was forced to make a good save from Ricky Light and should have been tested when Josh Lillis was presented with a great shooting opportunity but the Hoddesdon player blasted the ball high over the bar.
Gradually the visitors’ attacks started to lose their menace and, with eight minutes to go, Athletic made the game safe when Turner was fouled in the area and netted the resulting penalty to make the score 2-0.
Hoddesdon pressed forward but the mean Athletic defence was in no mood to give them a way back into the game and they held on for an excellent win.
Tring will hope to add to their tally on Tuesday when they visit Holmer Green, and then on Saturday they entertain local rivals Leverstock Green in the FA Cup.
Tring: 1 Matt Evans 2 Lee Stobbs 3 Stewart Stedman (12 Paul Jeffrey 67) 4 Dan Steadman 5 Chris Salmon (Capt) 6 Dave O’Connor 7 Sam Joliffe 8 Ryan Sturges 9 Chris Vardy 10 Kieran Turner (14 Jack Sunderland 86) 11 Luke Dunstan (15 Jamie Irons 65). Sub not used: 16 Callum Gregory.
Hoddesdon: 1 Lee Robinson 2 Ollie Sharman 3 Ed Horey 4 Charlie Edwards 5 Jack Bartlett (16 Tom Cowell 81) 6 Ryan McMenemy 7 Ricky Light 8 Josh Lillis 9 Mark Summers 10 Max Mitchell (15 Phil Lowen 65) 11 Jessie Waites. Subs not used: 12 George Lyons 17 Eddie McCoughlin.