Tring Athletic eased through to the next round of the South Midlands League Challenge Trophy with a 4-1 win over Aston Clinton on Saturday.
These two neighbouring teams met back in November when the visitors won 2-1 but the tie had to be replayed after a player registration issue, and again Athletic prevailed.
The margin of victory was more emphatic this time but on a quagmire of a pitch, which didn’t help either team, the home side can feel that the score line didn’t reflect the flow of the game in which they competed on equal terms for large parts, only to be let down by some wayward finishing.
Athletic scored two early goals and didn’t relinquish their control, adding further goals late in the first-half then again in the second to put them in a commanding position, before Aston, who play two divisions below Athletic, grabbed a late consolation.
“That certainly wasn’t a 4-1 game,” said Aston boss Jordan King. “Both sides created numerous chances but the difference between the two sides was how clinical the Tring forward line was compared to us.
“We gave a very good account of ourselves and the players gave their all. We have walked off the pitch with our pride still intact. They are a strong side and I wish them all the best for the rest of the season. We can now focus on the league and Division Two cup which are our priority.”
Former Aston player Chris Stapleton headed in Kieran Turner’s precise cross to put Tring into an early lead, and roles were reversed four minutes later when Stapleton turned provider to tee up Turner for a second.
Undeterred, the home side created some good chances with Liam McEllhinney forcing a good save out of Jack Hopwood and Lewis Workman shooting across goal.
But Sam Joliffe’s penalty on the cusp of half-time virtually sealed the tie before Stapleton’s second wrapped up the win for Tring although Neil Roberts scored a deserved consolation for the home side.
Tring host Colney Heath this weekend.