TRING Athletic’s poor start to 2011 continued at Royston as they suffered their second successive 1-0 league defeat.
Athletic are still flying high in the league, but face an uphill battle to catch table-topping Chalfont St Peter who have opened a 10-point lead over Phil Casserley’s men.
It was a difficult game from the off for the visitors, and they went in to the break 1-0 down, although the margin of Royston’s lead could perhaps have been wider.
Tring improved in the second half, but lacked their usual cutting edge and failed to create many chances.
An 18th minute goal was enough for Royston who took advantage of an Athletic side who are still clearly short of match fitness following a lengthy spell away from competitive action.
Ryan Redford nearly snatched a point for Athletic, but he saw his shot cannon back off the post.
Three late red cards, two for Tring players Danny Gray and Henry Thomas, reflected a frustrating afternoon for the visitors.
Athletic boss Casserley said: “It was disappointing. A lot of my players aren’t fully match fit.
“It’s a huge ask for us to win the league now, but we’ll keep going. We need to get back to winning matches.”