Hillingdon Borough 0 Tring Athletic 2
TRING Athletic stayed hot on the heels of Royston Town in the hunt for second place in the MSSML Premier Division with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Hillingdon Borough.
Third-placed Tring are level on points with Royston who currently occupy runners-up spot by virtue of a one-goal superior goal difference.
Athletic will travel to fifth-placed Colney Heath in their last league game of the season knowing a big win should be enough to secure the coveted runners-up position.
Tring’s victory over Hillingdon was not a classic, but efforts from Ryan Redford and Andy Mullins were enough to secure the vital three points, with Ashley Addison playing a big part in both goals.
After an even opening to the game, Tring were forced into a 13th-minute substitution as injured goalkeeper Tom Vincent was replaced by Mike Underwood.
And Underwood was almost beaten immediately, but Daniel Barrance’s header hit the outside of the post and flew away to safety.
Redford than forced Hillingdon keeper Richard McCabe into a fine save, before the visitors saw their appeals for a penalty waved away after Gary Dixon appeared to have been brought down in the area.
Both sides continued to create chances, but it was Athletic who made the decisive breakthrough courtesy of Redford.
After a poor kick from McCabe, Addison played the ball through to Redford, and the striker finished stylishly for his 30th goal of the season to put Tring ahead.
The hosts came out strongly at the start of the second half and pushed for an equaliser, but they were continually thwarted by solid defensive work from Athletic’s Henry Thomas.
Buoyed by the strong play at the back, Tring began to press forward again and Dixon should have done better when found by Graham Hall, before Redford shot wide.
Athletic manager Phil Casserley introduced Louis Stead from the bench soon after, and the substitute almost made a quick impact as his free-kick struck the crossbar.
In an end-to-end encounter, it was Hillingdon who went close to scoring next as Leon Maloney’s shot was tipped onto the post by Underwood.
But Tring wrapped up the win with 15 minutes to play as Addison delivered a fine cross onto the head of Mullins who sealed the crucial three points.
“It was a good win for us but unfortunately everyone else around us also won so it’s going down to the wire,” said Casserley.
“I thought we were solid and defended well so I was chuffed with the performance.
“I’m confident of picking up second but anything could happen. The main thing is that we’ve put ourselves back in contention with four wins after two unlucky defeats.
“If we could secure second place and win a trophy it would be a great season for us.”