Tring Athletic’s disappointing run of SSML Premier Division results continued as they went down 4-1 at St Margaretsbury on Saturday afternoon.
Returning to action after a break of two weeks without a game, Athletic were again without their inspirational captain Chris Salmon and found themselves a goal down after just four minutes.
St Margaretsbury full-back Ed Taylor found himself in space in Athletic’s area before beating keeper Matt Evans at the near post.
Athletic’s first attack saw Kieron Turner’s shot turned away for a corner after six minutes, while new signing Ollie Hoggs saw his debut cut short as he collected an injury after just 11 minutes; Ryan Sturges coming on to replace him.
Athletic had two excellent chances to equalise – firstly Sturges and Chris Vardy combined well, but home keeper Lee Robinson saved with his legs, before Kevin McManus stole in at the back post to earn a corner.
It was the hosts who struck again after 29 minutes, though, when Michael Green’s clearance cannoned off centre-forward Ricky Light who then bore down on goal and netted at the second attempt.
The beginning of the second half was evenly contested, however Bury scored what looked like another goal in the 62nd minute following a direct free-kick from the edge of the area.
From the kick the ball hit the bar and rebounded straight to a home player to score, but the referee disallowed the goal for offside, without consulting his assistant who had not raised his flag.
This bit of good fortune seemed to inspire Athletic as, just three minutes later, they pulled a goal back through Sturges following substitute Taylor Collins’ persistence.
Athletic were now in the driving seat and created a number chances – Chris Vardy having a header and shot saved for corners by Robinson – but it was the hosts who struck twice late on to secure the points.
In the 80th minute the referee awarded them a penalty which appeared a bit harsh, with Kevin Ashwood scoring from the spot, and just three minutes later they added a fourth goal when Brett O’Connor slotted the ball home following a defensive error.
St Margaretsbury were the better side for most of the match, although before the game they were just one place above Athletic in the table and on the same number of points.
At the time the Gazette went to press, Tring were preparing for a trip to London Tigers in the SSML Premier Division.
On Saturday, Julian Robinson’s side travel to struggling Ampthill Town in the second round of the FA Vase.
Ampthill are without a victory yet this season.