Tring Athletic booked their place in the first round proper of the FA Vase following a hard fought replay against Rothwell Corinthians at The Grass Roots Stadium on Tuesday night.
Tring were made to battle for the win, which arrived courtesy of two goals from the ever reliable Chris Vardy – setting up a trip to Barking.
Athletic should have scored straight from the kick-off when Jack Sunderland’s powerful shot was fumbled by visiting keeper Chris Hurling and Chris Vardy saw his follow-up effort saved by the keeper for a corner.
Athletic, however, did take the lead after just eight minutes. Sunderland was the instigator, playing the ball into a crowded penalty area, where Chris Vardy was on hand to guide the ball into an open goal at the back post.
In the 37th minute Kieran Turner hit the side netting following an Athletic corner, but it wasn’t all one-way traffic as Rothwell put together a number of useful moves without causing home keeper Matt Evans to make any saves.
Athletic looked set to head into half-time with the lead, but Corinthians levelled things up in added time as a free-kick taken by Jordan Henson from about 30 yards was misjudged by Evans, with the ball sliding underneath his dive and into the net.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was fairly even, with neither side dominating, although Athletic won several corners without troubling Hurling.
Rothwell then had a period of good possession, pegging Athletic back into their own half, but slowly Athletic got themselves back into the game.
Lee Stobbs was played through in the 67th minute, his shot was blocked; the ball fell to Vardy a few yards out, but he miscued, and then Kieran Turner was also unable to finish.
Rothwell had a chance in the 69th minute when defender Luke Phillips shot just wide, but one minute later Athletic scored what proved the winning goal.
An excellent move down the right involving Stobbs and Turner saw the latter cross to the near post where Vardy flicked the ball into the net off the keeper.
Rothwell came back and, but for an excellent save by Evans in the 78th minute, could easily have equalised.
The visitors continued to press forward and with about 10 minutes left to play, Aaron Watts collected a ball inside Athletic’s penalty area and thought he was fouled. The referee rightly waved play on but things became heated and Watts was red carded, with Sam Joliffe also booked.
Rothwell continued to push forward, winning a number of corners, but in stoppage time Chris Vardy was put through and shot just wide of the post.
TAFC: Matt Evans, Lee Stobbs, Jack Sunderland, Dan Steadman (c), Sam Joliffe, Kevin McManus, Jack Westlake (Ryan McMahon 67), Chris Mason (Ryan Sturges 60), Chris Vardy, Kieran Turner (Bertie Squires-Adams 85), Luke Dunstan.
Rothwell Corinthians: Chris Hurling, Jordan Ainsworth (Oliver Magee 80), Luke Phillips, Kalon Peniasko, Ben Johnson (c), Dan Cooper, Joey Wright, Dom Page, Aaron Watts, Jordan Henson, Merson Styles.