High-flying Tring Athletic had a tough match on Saturday at home against Potton United but they prevailed 1-0 with a goal from Luke Dunstan seven minutes from time.
Athletic were well below their best although some credit must go to the opponents, who battled for everything.
It brought to a close an excellent September for undefeated Tring, who won all six of their games and they remain in second place in the SSML Premier table, just a point behind Biggleswade FC who picked up a win in midweek to go above them.
Athletic have been banging in the goals in recent weeks but they had to show another side to their game against a tough Potton team who made life difficult for them.
It was Athletic’s first-ever encounter against the Bedfordshire outfit, who transferred over into this division from the United Counties League where they finished runners-up last season in Division One.
The hosts started well enough with Tommy Twelves releasing Kieran Turner in the seventh minute with a fine defence-splitting pass, but the Potton keeper did really well to make a great save from Athletic’s leading marksman.
But Potton started to battle for every ball and pose a goal threat themselves with Tring stopper Connor Sansom robbing winger Danny Webb who later got away down the right and sent over a great cross that was just missed by his colleagues
Sansom got down quickly to tip a shot from Ryan Lewis just round the post as a very competitive first-half ended with little to choose between the teams.
The second period continued in much the same vein, with Athletic not playing their usual free-flowing football and Potton fighting for every ball.
Athletic’s Joe Fitzgerald clipped the bar with a cross and Turner tested the keeper with a couple of shots, but seven minutes from normal time came the defining moment with a bit of quality that had been missing during a generally scrappy game.
The instigator was Ashton Campbell, who sent over a sumptuous cross to the far post where Dunstan literally rose to the occasion to produce a prodigious header to finally break the deadlock.
The win puts Tring on 23 points after nine games, with 28 goals scored.
Strangely, a quirk of the league schedule means Tring were due to play at Potton last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press.
Athletic then visit third-placed Arlesy Town this Saturday in an early top-of-the-table clash.