After a disappointing start to the season Tring Athletic are finally starting to turn things around with three encouraging performances over the past week culminating in an excellent 4-1 victory when hosting Ely City in the prestigious FA Vase national competition on Saturday.
The visitors, who are reputedly the oldest senior football club in Cambridgeshire after being formed in 1885, play in the Eastern Counties Premier Division where they occupy ninth place in the table.
Facing an Athletic side languishing near the bottom of the SSML table, Ely must have thought they would be in for an easy afternoon but they soon found themselves two goals down and never looked like recovering from this first-half salvo.
As the first-half progressed, Tring looked the more dangerous and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring on the half-hour mark. George Carbery’s pass released Jack Read who clipped the ball nicely past the Ely keeper.
Eight minutes later Athletic doubled their lead in rather unusual circumstances following a fine move involving Luke Dunstan and Elliott Goward. The latter’s cross led to Ely’s keeper and centre back crashing into each other with a fellow defender slicing the loose ball into his own net.
Athletic scored a third in the 58th minute with Goward, who produced a series of quality crosses throughout the game, again the creator when a corner was returned to him by Max Hercules. He curled a sumptuous cross back into the area where Read glanced the ball home from close range.
With the game as good as won Athletic made some changes and a bit of tetchiness creeped in with Ely defender Alex Brown receiving a straight red card and later Tring’s Sam Joliffe received a second yellow to reduce both sides to ten men.
Visiting defender Ollie Brookes pulled a goal back at the end of normal time when he headed home a free kick but Jack Read replied deep into added time when he clipped the ball over the keeper to claim a hat-trick and keep alive Athletic’s dream of going all the way to Wembley.
The draw for the third round was made on Monday and Tring will host Berkhamsted on Saturday, Dcember 2.
The same sides met in midweek in the Herts Charity Shield quarter final where Berko edged it 2-1.
Athletic have an important Premier Division fixture this Saturday when eighth-ranked London Colney are the visitors to The Grassroots Stadium.