AFC Dunstable 2 Tring Athletic 1
For the second game running Athletic produced some quality football but still came away with nothing to show for their efforts.
They matched their hosts for much of the game but lacked the cutting edge in front of goal to take advantage of their opportunities and ultimately paid the price.
Athletic had a disastrous start conceding a goal within 15 seconds. Despite this setback Athletic showed a lot of character to come back and dominate possession for the next 15 minutes.
The game was nicely balanced but Athletic were dealt a massive blow when Andy Humphreys went off injured in the 31st minute to be replaced by Reon Thomas who responded immediately with a shot but unfortunately it went well wide, and at the break Athletic were still very much in the hunt.
The hosts started the game with a quick goal and Athletic did likewise at the start of the second half, equalising within two minutes of the restart. Reon Thomas nodded on a throw to Paul Jeffrey who tore down the left before whipping over a fine cross that Tony Fields did well to convert.
Dunstable are a good side – they finished third last year and will be amongst the challengers this season – but Athletic appeared to rattle them at times as they argued amongst themselves in language that would have made a certain Scottish celebrity chef blush.
Both sides made changes but the home side’s substitution was to pay dividends when Jason Blackett was in the right place to convert a cross in the 74th minute.
Athletic kept plugging away but Dunstable were in no mood to concede a second equaliser and the nearest the visitors came to a goal came a minute before normal time when Graham Hall headed a free kick wide.
Time ran out and Athletic suffered a 2-1 defeat.