Tring Athletic fight back to get the better of Biggleswade United

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Tring Athletic produced a battling display to come from behind and beat Biggleswade United 2-1 in the SSML Premier Division.

For the second Saturday running Athletic found themselves a goal down and struggling to find their form, but again managers Julian Robinson and Ian Richardson came up trumps with some astute changes.

Whereas previously the introduction of Ollie Butler was the catalyst, this time bringing on Taylor Collins and Kieran Turner proved to be the game changer as the two 19-year-olds repaid the faith placed in them by scoring the goals that clinched victory.

With Chris Salmon and Kevin McManus missing, Athletic were short of central defenders so Sam Joliffe was drafted in alongside Adam Toone and the midfielder performed extremely well in an unexpected defensive role.

The home side had won only one of their last six games but that victory was over league leaders Berkhamsted and so they were a side to be wary of and that was illustrated during the first half in which they were the better side.

United began strongly and won two corners within the first 50 seconds; Athletic’s sloppy start was punished after only six minutes when Jude Eboji converted a cross from Jack Boyd.

After this shaky start, Athletic started to impose themselves and Greg Deer’s fine pass found Butler who fired in a shot that the keeper saved.

Later, Butler latched onto a free-kick and whipped over a precise cross which Chris Vardy headed wide of the post.

Midway through the half United won four corners in a row which Athletic struggled to deal with and the visitors were relieved that the final outcome was just a header from Tre Grant that went wide of the post.

Greg Deer’s lovely pass found Chris Vardy but, with only the keeper to beat, his shot went the wrong side of the post.

The home side’s tails were up and Athletic were forced into some frantic defending, with keeper Matt Evans sticking a foot out to save a shot from Eboji and he later beat a shot away from Boyd.

Jason Darvall and Grant both dragged shots wide with Athletic relieved to hear the half-time whistle with the damage restricted to just one goal, although they did fail to put away two very good chances themselves.

Whatever was said during the break had the desired affect because Athletic were a different proposition in the second half.

Deer slipped a lovely pass through to Vardy, who rounded the keeper but his shot was cleared by a retreating defender.

This was much better stuff from Athletic but further tactical changes were made with Sonny Bailey-Aird andTurner coming off the bench.

The two subs were soon combining, with Turner making a great run down the right before supplying a fine cross which seemed to hit Bailey-Aird by surprise after it was missed by a couple of players in front of him.

A further change was made in the 68th minute involving Collins, and his impact was immediate as he struck the equaliser within a minute.

A pass found Collins out to the right of the opposition area and he cut in on his favoured left foot a fired a shot into the bottom far corner.

Collins then tested the keeper with another shot and Butler was denied a goal after he beat the keeper to a free-kick only to see a defender get back to clear his header off the line.

The visitors were now in the driving seat but had to be careful not to over extend themselves.

They nearly paid the price when United broke quickly from their corner but Evans made a great save to deny Tom Cookham.

With eight minutes to go Athletic’s trio of teenagers combined to produce a move that was to cap a fine second half revival.

Butler linked up nicely with Collins who slipped over an accurate cross to pick out Turner.

There was still a lot to do but Turner kept his head to steer a precise shot wide of the keeper and in off the far post.

It was a very cool finish from the youngster to make it five goals from seven games; a handsome return for a midfielder.

The home side tried to make a late rally but Athletic were comfortably in control and held on for a valuable three points to maintain their tremendous record at Biggleswade with only one defeat in 18 visits.

Full marks to the management team for using their tactical nous to make the changes that turned the game around and to the players for turning their fortunes around in the second half.