Tring Athletic bounced back from a rare loss in midweek to win 4-0 away at London Tigers on Saturday to stay in second place in the league table.
Athletic put in an impressive performance, with Kieran Turner bagging a hat-trick and newcomer Kyle Johnson netting a goal on his debut.
After their brilliant ten-game winning run came to an end on Tuesday night following their narrow 1-0 defeat to Hadley, the Tring outfit faced a difficult away trip to the unpredictable Tigers.
Any fears Athletic would suffer a hangover as a result of their first league defeat of the season were dispelled by an authoritative performance and a four-goal blitz.
The damage was done in a five-minute spell either side of half-time when Athletic banged in three goals, with the fourth coming late in the game.
Turner showed his predatory instincts by scoring a hat-trick and the crucial opening goal coming from Johnson, making his debut after moving from Aylesbury FC.
Athletic were helped by the return of two key players, defender Dave O’Connor and captain Luke Dunstan.
The game was played at the ground of Southern League side Northwood FC. The big pitch and decent playing surface meant Athletic were able to play the ball around nicely.
Neither side created too much in the first-half but the game exploded into life three minutes into injury time when Johnson deftly headed home a superb cross from Alex Campana to enable the visitors to go in at the break with a 1-0 edge.
Within four minutes of the restart Athletic had built-up an unassailable three-goal lead with Turner getting the first from a header and his second from a fine volley.
Tigers made three substitutions, bringing on some talented attacking players to throw caution to the wind. For 20 minutes it forced Athletic into some serious defensive duties and the Tring keeper Connor Sansom produced some fine saves. When he was beaten, defender Joe Fitzgerald was on hand to make a goal line clearance.
Athletic saw out the mini-recovery from the hosts and with six minutes left on the clock knocked the final nail into the Tigers’ coffin with a well-worked goal.
Turner and Jack Read linked up nicely, with the latter’s perfectly weighted through ball picking out Turner, who finished clinically for his hat-trick to take his tally to 12 goals from 17 games this season.
His overall club record rose to 60 goals from 131 games – a remarkable return for a midfielder.
It was a fine bounceback performance from Athletic and after Tuesday’s defeat robbed them of the chance to hit the top of the table.
They still remain in second place, hot on the heels of Biggleswade FC who are just two points ahead having played the same number of games.
Athletic were due to have a tricky visit to Rayners Lane last night (Tuesday) for a League Challenge Trophy clash as the Gazette was going to press.
They then travel to United Counties Premier Division outfit Wellingborough Town in Northants this Saturday for an important FA Vase second-round game.
Tring did really well in the competition last season, making the last-16 and were just a few games away from a Wembley final. With a few more players set to return from injury, they will be hoping to have a near-full squad to pick from.