Extra-time joy for Tring Athletic in the Herts Charity Shield

Chris Vardy made a welcome return to the Tring starting XI
Chris Vardy made a welcome return to the Tring starting XI

For the third time this season Tring Athletic entertained St Margaretsbury and again were the victors as they ran out 2-1 winners after extra-time in the Herts Charity Shield quarter-finals.

Athletic’s starting line-up saw several changes from Saturday’s game, including the welcome return of the ever popular Chris Vardy who left recently to join Dunstable Town.

Athletic were the first to threaten, with half chances falling to Vardy and Joe Naylor.

The game then evened out and both sides were looking to attack at every opportunity.

After just 12 minutes Athletic put together an excellent move involving Luke Dunstan and Lee Stobbs, before the latter crossed into the penalty area where Joe Naylor looped the ball into the net off a defender.

Chances were being created by both sides, the game was open and entertaining and St Margaretsbury’s first shot on target came after 25 minutes as Davy Edmee forced keeper Liam Smith into an easy save.

In the 26th minute St Margaretsbury were forced into a substitution when injured full-back Sonny Stephens was replaced by Roel Harper.

In the 37th minute Sam Joliffe ran into the box before crossing to Vardy whose firm header was saved by keeper Luke Pierce; the loose ball fell to Naylor who tucked it away, however this was then ruled out for offside.

Athletic pressed again, winning two quick corners which were easily dealt with.

Right on half-time St Margaretsbury very nearly equalised but for two terrific saves by Liam Smith. First he tipped a shot onto the bar, the ball fell to Roel Harper who shot from a few yards out but Smith bravely blocked this before defender Dave O’Connor hacked the ball away.

Although Athletic were first to create a chance in the second half when Lee Stobbs’ shot was gathered by keeper Luke Pierce, it was then St Margaretsbury who were looking the more determined and were rewarded with an equaliser after 62 minutes.

The impressive Edmee collected the ball before cutting inside and unleashing a shot past Smith.

Athletic came back into the game, winning a corner from a free-kick and then Jack Seaton - a welcome sight back in the first team following his long lay-off through injury - just heading over from another free-kick.

Both sides introduced substitutes and were striving to find that second goal, however neither keeper was called on to make too many saves and extra-time beckoned.

The first period of extra-time saw Kieran Turner firstly have a shot saved by Pierce and then firing into the side netting with another shot following good build-up work.

The second period of extra-time saw Athletic’s Lee Stobbs embark on one of his trademark runs which resulted in a corner. From the corner the cross was missed by the keeper, and the ball fell to Bertie Squires-Adams who shot over the bar.

But a few minutes later another run by Stobbs saw his cross turned in by Turner with just a few minutes left.

Tring Athletic: Liam Smith, Lee Stobbs, Dave O’Connor, Jack Seaton (Matt Jarvis), Sam Joliffe(c), Kevin McManus, Chris Mason, Kieran Turner, Luke Dunstan (Jack Westlake), Chris Vardy, Joe Naylor (Bertie Squires-Adams).

St Margaretsbury: Luke Pierce, Sonny Stephens (Roel Harper), Jordan Gill, Madju Kinona, Simon Grove-White, Jason Coughlan, Chris Webb, Ciaran Docherty, Davy Edmee (Lewis Tripp), Frazer John (Rhys Walker), Lee Roberts.