Athletic advance to the last-16 of the prestigious FA Vase cup competition

Tring's Mark Riddick getting the winning goal for Athletic in the last round of the FA Vase. The club is now just three wins away from a Wembley Stadium final.
Tring's Mark Riddick getting the winning goal for Athletic in the last round of the FA Vase. The club is now just three wins away from a Wembley Stadium final.

Tring Athletic enjoyed a terrific 5-1 win over Hullbridge Sports on Saturday to advance into the last-16 of the FA Vase.

The draw for the next round of the national competition, which sees the final played at Wembley, took place on Monday and Tring will travel to Melksham Town on Saturday, February 3.

The Wiltshire side play in the Western League Premier Division – comparable to Tring’s league in the pyramid – and are fourth in their table.

On Saturday at The Grass Roots Stadium, the pitch was playable but heavy after much rain leading up to the tie and perhaps unsurprisingly the crowd of 217 – the eighth biggest in the competition that day – saw a scrappy first-half.

There was little to choose between the sides but Athletic opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a strange goal. Following a promising Tring attack, Sports’ full-back Shawn Coe tried a hasty clearance which struck team-mate Gus Douglas and rebounded in for an own goal.

The game improved dramatically in the second-half for Tring who doubled their lead within three minutes of the restart. Mark Riddick, who was outstanding throughout, won the ball off Joe Pattison and crossed for Jack Read to score from close range.

Just before the hour it was 3-0 through Chris Vardy for his 88th goal on his 200th appearance. Full-back Chris Mason set up the goal with a fine cross before Vardy eased past a defender and the keeper with some lovely touches.

Hullbridge pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 65th minute but Tring made it 4-1 six minutes later when Riddick headed home a Max Hercules corner.

Hercules fired home the fifth in the first minute of added time after being set up by Tommy Twelves and George Carbery to cap a memorable afternoon that will go down in the club’s annals.

Dreams of a Wembley will now be put on hold as Tring need league points to pull away from the bottom of the table. Tring were due to host Cockfosters last night (Tuesday) and then entertain Hadley this Saturday.