Tring Athletic’s young charges earn their stripes against the Tigers
Tring Athletic’s young side showed that they are coming of age as the season ticks on with a fine 4-1 win over a tough and talented London Tigers outfit.
The Tigers resorted to some strong arm tactics that ultimately saw them reduced to nine players during the last quarter of the match.
Athletic took a worthy two-goal lead into half-time through Kieran Turner and Chris Vardy, which the visitors halved from the penalty spot early in the second half.
But once Taylor Collins restored Athletic’s two-goal margin, the Tigers lost their cool and had two men dismissed.
Vardy then registered his 23rd goal of the season to send the visitors home with their tails between their legs.
Athletic played with verve, energy and pace and off took the game to their guests from the off with some fine attacking moves.
Early on, Ryan McMahon tried an audacious volley which landed on the top of the net.
After starting on the back foot, Tigers showed they had quality players in their ranks - particularly up front where Hesham Benmansour and Jabir Laraba linked up nicely.
The latter would have scored but for the intervention of Kevin McManus who has been superb since joining Athletic at the start of the season.
Athletic took the lead in the 13th minute when a super passing move released Turner who thumped a shot in off the post.
It was a cracking goal from Turner who has now bagged 12 goals this season - a terrific return for a midfield player.
Tigers went into the game on the back of a good draw against second placed AFC Dunstable the previous Saturday, and they started to get into the game and enjoy a lot of possession.
But Athletic, who were missing captain Chris Salmon and fellow central defender Adam Toone, were rock solid at the back and the visitors failed to test Jack Hopwood in the home goal.
A minute before the break Athletic took a short corner and Stuart Stedman’s precise cross picked out the unmarked Vardy who headed home to give the home side a valuable two-goal lead going into the break.
However, The visitors started the second period positively and were rewarded with a penalty in the 56th minute which Laraba confidently dispatched to give his side a way back into the game.
Despite this setback, Athletic didn’t buckle and they restored their two-goal lead within seven minutes.
The goal stemmed from a corner which Tigers failed to deal with. Ryan McMahon seized on the loose ball and smashed a shot against the post, with Collins on hand to tuck away the rebound.
The visitors then started to lose their discipline and had two players sent off in the 67th and 89th minute.
Athletic took full advantage by adding another goal in the 86th minute when Rob Tomlin, who had another fine game, sent Vardy away with a great pass and Athletic’s leading scorer rounded the keeper to score goal number four.
This was a good all-round performance from Athletic who refused to let their opponents intimidate them.
Earlier in the season they may well have buckled but their young players are gaining valuable experience every week and are now made of much sterner stuff.
The result keeps Athletic sixth in the SSML Premier Division table but they have two testing fixtures coming up with a visit to promotion chasing AFC Dunstable on Wednesday and then on Saturday they make another short trip to local rivals Berkhamsted.
Tring Athletic: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ryan Sturges 3 Stuart Stedman 4 Kevin McManus 5 Dan Stedman 6 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 7 Rob Tomlin 8 Ryan McMahon (14 Ollie Hogg 74) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Kieran Turner (15 Luke Dunstan 74) 11 Taylor Collins (12 Stewart King 83). Sub not used: James Butler.
London Tigers: 1 Benard Nasufaj 2 Ilyes Mohammed 3 Jonathan Davite (Capt) 4 Emmanuel Njodzeka 5 Gabriel Chiedozie 6 Gregory Ngeno 7 Sebastian Philogene 8 Abdullahi Wassan 9 Hesham Benmansour 10 Jabir Laraba 11 Ivan Petrov (12 John Startini 60). Subs not used: 14 Bilal El-Garni 15 Ali Soussi 16 Arlys Pampolim.
Tring scorers: Kieran Turner (13), Chris Vardy (44, 86), Taylor Collins (63)
London Tigers scorer: Jabir Laraba (Pen, 56)