Tring Athletic were knocked out of the FA Vase on Saturday as a single goal was enough to see Ashford United through to the fourth round of the competition.
Athtletic knew they were in for a tough task against Southern Counties East League high-fliers Ashridge, but Julian Robinson’s side started the game positively and were the better side for the first 20 minutes.
The visitors were unable to create many clear-cut scoring opportunities but Chris Vardy was lively and Stuart Stedman whipped in a dangerous cross that just cleared Martin Skinner’s head.
Gradually Ashford clawed back control of the game and Tring were forced onto the back foot as keeper Mike Underwood was required to make some important saves to ensure the teams went in goalless at half-time.
Ashford came close at the start of the second period, but Underwood came out quickly to block and recovered sharply to grab the loose ball.
Soon afterwards, Vardy’s super pass picked out fellow striker Skinner who was unlucky to see his 25-yard effort smack against the bar.
And that was to prove a turning point as Ashford opened the scoring just a few minutes later when James Dryen rifled the ball past Underwood.
For the last 15 minutes Athletic laid siege to their opponents’ goal but time ran out and Tring made the long journey home empty-handed.
They can take heart from a spirited performance but, as has been the case so often this season, they were let down in front of goal.