Tring Athletic registered a much-needed 3-1 win at St Margaretsbury on Saturday with a sublime hat-trick from Chris Blunden.
Both sides were looking for their first league win of the season so it was a tight, nervy affair, but Tring were the better side and fully deserved the points.
Hopefully the three points will lift their confidence and they can now push us on to bigger and better things.
Tring started strongly and within a minute they created a good opportunity when Jack Read sent Chris Vardy away through the inside right channel.
It was a fairly even first-half but in the 32nd minute a Jamie Stephens header from a corner was deemed to have crossed the line despite Ryan Sturges’s attempts to clear the ball away from the Tring goal to give the hosts a morale-boosting 1-0 lead.
Athletic’s failure to put away their chances was looking costly but in first-period added time they finally found a deserved equaliser. Read was sent away down the right and his accurate cross picked out Blunden whose shot squeezed past the keeper to make it 1-1.
In the 77th minute Tring scored the goal that might ignite their season when Vardy and new signing Elliott Goward linked up nicely to set up Blunen, who cracked home a fine shot from the edge of the area to make it 2-1.
It was the signal for the home side to press forward in a desperate attempt to get something from the game but the Athletic defence held firm and gave great protection to keeper Jack Hopwood who didn’t have a serious save to make in the second-half.
The visitors finally put paid to any St Margaretsbury comeback hopes when a super run and pass from Luke Dunstan set up Blunden, who again produced an accurate strike to claim his hat-trick and double his goal tally for the season as Tring powered on for a 3-1 victory.
Injuries and suspensions have had a disruptive effect on Tring so far this season and even for this win they were without three key centre halves so Ryan Reeves was drafted in to make his debut alongside Sam Joliffe and the partnership quickly gelled to form a solid central unit.
Tonight (Wednesday) they travel to Division 1 side Baldock Town for a League Challenge Trophy tie then it’s back to league action on Saturday when newcomers and table-toppers Biggleswade FC are the visitors.