Holmer Green 3 Tring Athletic 0
A MOMENT of first half ill-discipline proved costly for nine-man Tring Athletic as they suffered a 3-0 loss at Holmer Green.
Red cards for Shane wood and David Whicker, as well as a missed penalty from Tony Fields, epitomised a miserable afternoon for Phil Casserley’s side, who slipped to third in the league table after the loss.
But Athletic will feel aggrieved at the nature of the defeat as, already leading 1-0, hosts Green doubled their advantage after 22 minutes in highly controversial circumstances.
Striker Dean Allen handled the ball to evade the challenge of Tring’s Henry Thomas, but both the referee and linesman missed the offence and, as the Athletic players paused, the forward proceeded to slide the ball into the net.
The visitors were furious with the officials’ decision to let the goal stand, and after heated protestations, Shane Wood was dismissed for dissent.
From then on, it was an uphill struggle for Tring and Holmer Green wrapped up the win in the second half.
Athletic got off to a terrible start as the hosts opened the scoring after just two minutes.
Tring, though, looked to respond and Andy Mullins saw his attempted equaliser cannon back off the crossbar, before the visitors were given the chance to reduce the deficit from the penalty spot.
Mullins was tripped in the area, but Fields’ spot-kick was tipped around the post by keeper Dan Little.
Athletic then felt they should have been awarded a second penalty after an apparent hand ball, but this time the referee waved away the visitors’ appeals.
And soon after, Tring were punished further following Green’s contentious second.
That goal effectively ended Athletic’s chances of salvaging anything from the game, and Green wrapped up the win with a third goal after the interval.
Tring manager Casserley was disappointed by the nature of his side’s defeat.
“It was a disaster for us, nothing went right,” he said.
“It was a bad day at the office. Although we weren’t too bad in the first half, we were awful in the second.
“We went into the game without six key players but I thought we had a side strong enough to win the game.
“I was furious with the way some of my players lost their discipline. It was our worst performance of the season without a doubt.”
Despite seeing his team drop out of the runners-up spot for the second time in three weeks, Casserley is still confident of a second-placed finish.
“My feeling is that we have got eight league games left and we need to win six of those to secure second place.”
“We’ve always bounced back well from defeat.”
At the time The Gazette went to press, Tring were preparing for a clash with Hadley at The Grass Roots Stadium.