Tring Athletic’s trip to East London was a thoroughly miserable one as they suffered a 4-1 defeat to Essex Senior League outfit Barking to end their hopes of FA Vase glory.
Six years ago Athletic secured a 3-2 win on this ground in the FA Cup, but any hopes of repeating that feat practically disappeared within 28 minutes by which time they were two goals down.
From then on Athletic enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but they failed to crack open their hosts’ resolute defence, and Barking then heaped on further misery by added two more goals in the second half. Athletic did finally find the net in the dying moments but it wasn’t much of a consolation.
Tring suffered a couple of set-backs before the game had started with yet another of their talented players being lured away, this time Ollie Hogg joining Leighton Town.
Then striker Jack Sunderland failed a fitness test, being replaced up front by 19-year-old Bradley Turner for his full first team debut.
The game didn’t start well for Athletic, they found themselves under early pressure and then conceded the opening goal after only 14 minutes when Barking centre-forward Kieran English fired home a well directed shot.
It took a while for the visitors to get into the game but around the 20 minute mark Sam Joliffe went close twice, before Bertie Squires-Adams forced the keeper into a superb close range save.
But while mounting their attacks, Athletic left the back door open and Barking’s leading scorer Wale Odedoyin ran through to score in the 28th minute.
After a slow start and conceding an early goal, Athletic had come back well but a sucker punch of a second goal meant they went in at half-time with a big task ahead.
From the restart Athletic dominated possession and there was an early shout for a penalty when Barking defender Jay Taylor clearly used his arm to control the ball – but nothing was given.
Athletic were pushing forward in numbers but they were vulnerable to quick breaks and they got caught out by a counter attack in the 70th minute which led to the concession of a penalty.
Barking left-back Ben Turner dispatched the spot kick to douse any hopes Athletic had getting something out of the tie.
Barking were not finished, adding a fourth goal through Odedoyin in the 84th minute.
Athletic did at last get some joy with a goal from Luke Dunstan in the second minute of added time after good play by Kieran Turner, but it was not a moment to celebrate.
This was a very disappointing result for Athletic which they need to put in the back of their minds and concentrate on getting back to winning ways with Southern League side Ware due at The Grass Roots Stadium on Tuesday for a Herts Senior Challenge Cup game. On Saturday Tring make a trip to Wembley for a league match.
Barking: 1 Jason Willis 2 Brad Ling 3 Ben Turner 4 Jay Taylor 5 Billy Rix 6 Steve Willis 7 James Barlow (12 Eden Nelson 62) 8 Ben O’Brien (Capt) 9 Kieran English (14 Michael Begg 68) 10 Joe Pearman (15 Billy Reynolds 79) 11 Wale Odedoyin. Subs not used: 16 Ricky Tabard 17 Glen Goldby.
Tring Athletic: 1 Matt Evans 2 Lee Stobbs 3 Bertie Squires-Adams 4 Kevin McManus 5 Dave O’Connor 6 Dan Steadman (Capt) 7 Luke Dunstan 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Bradley Turner 10 Kieran Turner 11 Jack Westlake (17 Ryan Sturges 60). Subs not used: 12 Chris Mason 14 Ryan McMahon 15 Jack Sunderland 16 Stuart Stedman.