Wembley dreams dashed as Athletic are dumped out of the cup


Tring Athletic will have to put the champagne back on ice for another year after their dreams of FA Cup glory were snuffed out by Southern League side North Greenford United.

Athletic were still in contention against the team managed by former Chelsea player Neil Shipperley until the final minutes, but finished on the wrong end of a 3-0 away defeat.

The Tring side conceded an early goal to their opponents, who play one level higher in the football pyramid, but rallied to share the honours during much of the game.

After weathering the early storm Ath posed problems for the home side from Graham Hall’s corners and free kicks. Twice Michael Green got his head to set pieces but both times keeper Lee Pearce was able to save comfortably.

Midway through the half Greg Deer found the net and even though the goal was ruled out for offside the Athletic midfielder was adamant his strike should have stood because the ball was played to him by a home player.

In midfield Trevor Gibbs grew in prominence as the game wore on, and Athletic continued to threaten from set-piece plays.

A Stuart Stedman free kick fell to Chris Salmon whose snap volley was clutched by Pearce, and then the keeper had to stretch to tip over a Jack Seaton header from a Graham Hall corner.

Pearce was then grateful to a defender who cleared a goalbound Salmon header from the following corner.

At the other end Salmon and Michael Green produced classy challenges to snuff out threatening Greenford attacks.

After the break Athletic continued to create chances but never really tested Pearce.

The home side made the most of their speed on the break to strike the crucial blow in the 78th minute, and a third soon after flattered the home side.

Athletic return to league action tomorrow, Tuesday, with a visit to London Colney.