Late rally is not enough for Tring Athletic at Hadley

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Tring Athletic waited until they were two goals behind before mounting a late surge which should have seen them get at least a point out of their trip to Hadley.

Tring have never achieved much success in their visits to Hadley, with just one draw to show from five visits, but they started positively and were the more effective side during the first quarter of the match.

Kieran Turner was prominent in Athletic’s best moves, nearly picking out Chris Vardy with a clever pass then linking up nicely with the same player before firing a shot just wide.

Soon afterwards, a Turner free-kick just skimmed the head of Adam Toone with the goal at the mercy of Athletic’s big centre-back.

After their shaky start, Hadley – under the tutelage of former Spurs and Chelsea player Micky Hazzard – gradually started to get their act together and began to dominate.

Home skipper Nick Chrysanthou fired in a good long range shot but it was comfortably collected by Athletic keeper Jack Hopwood.

Despite ending the first half strongly, the home side had created little in the way of genuine goal scoring opportunities.

However, Hazzard’s half-time team talk must have done the trick for Hadley as they started the second half in a far more threatening manner.

Within two minutes of the restart, former Arsenal player Jernande Meade struck the post with a terrific free-kick before Jermal Baptiste was played through but denied by Hopwood.

Athletic were finding it hard to break out of their own half, with Hadley’s Louis Bowen heading a corner over and the tricky Meade becoming more and more influential.

A goal was on the cards and it duly arrived in the 58th minute when Laste Dombaxe struck a superb free-kick that gave Hopwood no chance.

Hopwood was called into action again in the 71st minute, denying Baptiste with a fine save, But Athletic were living dangerously and Hadley doubled their lead in the 77th minute through Baptiste.

Athletic decided to shake things up and adopt a more attacking approach, bringing on teenagers Ollie Hogg and Taylor Collins, and they soon combined to bring the visitors right back in the game.

In the 82nd minute, Hogg released Chris Vardy down the left with a super pass and Athletic’s leading scorer outpaced the defender before crossing to Collins to finish for his 16th goal of the season.

Tring pressed in search of a leveller, with Toone seeing a header cleared off the line, but time eventually ran out and Hadley held onto the victory by the skin of their teeth.