Tring Athletic hit back to share the spoils with Cockfosters

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Tring Athletic shared a 1-1 draw with Cockfosters in Tuesday night’s SSML Premier Division fixture at The Grass Roots Stadium.

This was the first meeting of the season between the two sides, with Cockfosters sitting just above Athletic in the league table, although they have played three games more.

Athletic started on the front foot, with Kieran Turner having a cross cut out by visiting keeper Austin Byfield and then winning a corner following some good approach work.

The game then became fairly even with both sides threatening but without causing any problems to either keeper or defences.

The first meaningful shot at goal came in the 23rd minute when Cockfosters’ Emmanuel Melford-Rowe fired straight at Tring keeper Matt Evans from the edge of the penalty area.

In the 27th minute, Cockfosters’ tricky number 7 Ben Hart made room for himself before shooting, but again this was dealt with comfortably by Evans. It was then Athletic who had a good spell; first Kieran Turner cut in from the left but keeper Austin Byfield turned the ball around the post for a corner, then Joe Naylor lobbed over the bar after being played through by Luke Dunstan.

Further opportunities fell to Kieran Turner but he was not having any luck, with the visitors managing to clear the danger.

Following a fairly even first half and with Athletic kicking downhill it was again the home side who started the better.

The industrious Turner took on two players but his shot from a good position had no power and the keeper easily gathered.

It was then the turn of Dunstan who burst through and into the area but his shot was blocked by some desperate defending.

Soon afterwards, Athletic were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out and to the left of goal, however Turner’s shot hit the defensive wall before tamely rolling through to the keeper.

Following a Cockfosters corner Athletic broke quickly, the ball was played to Turner just outside of the penalty area but his shot went high and wide.

Athletic then made a double substitution, with Ben Seaton and Ryan Sturges coming on for Jack Westlake and Naylor.

Cockfosters still had a fair amount of possession during the second half and in the 65th minute, and rather fortuitously, opened the scoring.

A long ball was played deep into Athletic’s half, but there appeared to be no danger as Kevin McManus played the ball back to keeper Evans. However, the ball bounced on the edge of the area, and with both players converging another header by McManus eluded Evans – leaving Cockfosters’ Sivi Bao to run the ball into an empty goal.

This did not deter Athletic as they continued to press, winning several corners and equalising in the 79th minute when Ben Seaton was brought down on the byline following a good run into the area. Sam Joliffe despatched the penalty confidently with the keeper going the wrong way.

Cockfosters were awarded a free-kick in the 88th minute from just inside Athletic’s half; the ball was played to the far post where defender Jack Grosvenor was in space, but luckily for Athletic, he blasted over the bar.

This Saturday Tring travel to Welwyn Garden City in the league.