Athletic settle for point as the Hares kick back

07/01/12'Tring Football Club vs. Harefield United. Graham Hall fighting for the ball.
07/01/12'Tring Football Club vs. Harefield United. Graham Hall fighting for the ball.

Football

Tring Athletic 1 Harefield United 1

A goal from Reon Thomas just before the break proved to be insufficient to yield maximum points after the Hares produced a spirited fight back in the second half to share the spoils.

Although the visitors deserved to go away with something, Athletic will feel they missed an opportunity to make it a third consecutive win after spurning opportunities in the first half to build up a healthy lead.

The home side started strongly and should have taken the lead after only nine minutes.

Athletic were the more dominant and dangerous looking side and Graham Hall’s terrific pass found Reon Thomas in space on the right and he whipped over a super cross, which was spilled by the keeper, but with the goal beckoning there were no Athletic players there to snap up the gilt edged opportunity.

Just past the half hour mark the Hares created their first genuine chance when a fine pass picked out Kemo Mephela in the area, but he failed to beat Mike Underwood who got down quickly to make a good save.

This seemed to encourage the visitors who enjoyed a spell where they played some good football and became more threatening going forward.

As half time approached Athletic conjured up some further scoring opportunities and in the 40th minute Athletic finally found the net when Reon Thomas cleverly headed home from close range a nice cross from Paul Jeffrey to put his side 1-0 ahead.

It was the centre forward’s second goal for Athletic to add to the winner he scored in the previous game at Colney Heath.

The home side nearly doubled their lead four minutes later when Reon Thomas’s cross-field pass picked out Andy Humphreys in the area, but his shot was kept out by the keeper who made an excellent save with his legs.

At the break Athletic were ahead but they will feel they should have led by a bigger margin than 1-0.

The second half started with the Hares doing most of the pressing and the home players struggling to get going. Athletic were having great difficulty in keeping possession and the visitors won a number of early corners.

Eleven minutes into the half a firm cross from the left seemed to have been over hit until the Hares centre back Lee Benning appeared out of nowhere to send a bullet header past Mike Underwood and level the scores at 1-1.

Athletic now knew they had a battle on their hands. The visitors were showing much more confidence than they did in the first half and when their full back James Peake moved forward he decided to try his luck with a long range effort, which went wide of the post, but it was a sign of their growing belief that they could win the game.

Both sides made changes with Louis Stead, making a welcome return from injury, Vinnie Iannone and new signing Sam Adae coming on for Athletic whilst amongst the Hare’s subs was Jack Reader who added pace and movement to their attack.

Athletic recognised the threat and started to see more of the ball. Midway through the half Louis Stead slipped a pass out right to Tony Fields whose cross was nearly converted by Vinnie Iannone.

The game was evenly matched and Jack Reader worked his way to the byline and put over a dangerous cross, which Mike Underwood did well to come out and collect. With time almost up both sides failed to take opportunities to grab a late winning goal.

Athletic will feel they let two points slip away. But the draw did not prove to be too disastrous in the end as the two teams above them, Haringey Borough and Leverstock Green, both lost.

So Athletic remain in sixth place level on points with Leverstock Green, who have a slightly better goal difference and one game in hand, and two behind Haringey Boro.