People should have been talking about a cup shock this morning as Tring Corinthians were by far the better side against Ampthill Town last night in the SSML Challenge Trophy.
Ampthill were in the Premier Division last season, are halfway up Division One and, indeed, started the brighter – but Corries have a fresher look about them these days with a more committed group of players leading the way and the Division two side took the lead on 15 minutes.
Good work by debutante Will Salmon and Arran West on the right set up Ben Alcock who smashed the ball home.
Ampthill pressed again, without really causing many problems, and were again caught on the sucker punch when Alcock set Callum Kerr free. Kerr expertly rounded the keeper to make it 2-0.
On 45 minutes it should have been three. Kerr was set free again and clattered in the box but tried to stay on his feet and, inexplicably, the ref failed to award a penalty.
The second half started poorly for Corries. A defensive slip let an Ampthill striker through and his shot was put into the net by a striker in a clear offside position but the goal was awarded.
Parity was restored on 60 minutes when a free-kick was headed home for 2-2.
It was now that Corries produced their best football of the game to totally dominate the last half hour as chance after chance was created.
Alcock had a deflected shot palmed over the bar and then hit the outside of the post.
Joe Jary, who has been Tring’s best player in the last four games, fired into the keeper’s legs from close range.
Carl Aldridge, on his debut, fired just wide. On 90 mins, Kerr went through again but was denied by a fine save from the keeper and the lottery of penalties ensued – in a game that Corries really should have buried.
Wheeler-King, Alcock, Myatt, Kerr and Smethers all converted for Corries but all five were similarly despatched for Ampthill, including one that slid in off the inside of the post.
Agonisingly, Lee Groves fired against the underside of the bar with his sixth penalty and the Trophy dream was over for Corries for another year.
Managers Colin Phillips and Kerry Gordon were disappointed but expressed their pleasure at the performance and the fact that there is real strength in depth at the club now with exciting young talent coming through.
Tring Corinthians: Travers, West, Smethers, Groves, Wheeler-King, Salmon (Aldridge), Myatt, Alcock, Miles (Jary), Kerr, Howe (Wills). Subs not used - Jeffs, Lear.