Hullbridge were gunned down by Tring Athletic in their FA Vase 4th Round clash on Saturday
Tring Athletic 5 Hullbridge Sports 1 (Buildbase FA Vase 4th Round)
Saturday 6th January
Report by Scott Lanza / Photo by Neil Hunwicks
With a place in the last sixteen at stake it was no surprise that both teams opened the game determined to challenge for every ball and it was quite frantic at times. However Tring were able to settle themselves down and coped with the heavy pitch a lot better than Sports did. And ultimately were able to get a grip on the game whilst Hullbridge were only able to show brief moments of their capabilities.
It was the hosts who had the opening chance of the game when Luke Dunstan cut inside and cannoned a shot into the side-netting. Hullbridge found their hosts strong in the tackle with Perry Hurst and Michael Salako both coming under robust challenges that won them two free kicks. Jimmy Cox unfortunately wasted both opportunities firing one straight into the Tring wall and they other being smashed way too high to pose any threat.
Tring took the lead in the 13th minute when Elliot Goward worked his way into position and had a shot saved by Russell Hartley. What happened next was simply a calamity as Hullbridge’s defence didn’t clear their lines at all well. Shawn Coe’s attempted clearance crashed into team mate Gus Douglas and ricocheted into their own net. It was a horrible way to concede and Tring immediately took the game by the scruff of the neck and tried to get the ball as often as possible into the Hullbridge box. A long ball reached Chris Vardy who hurtled down the right flank and sent over a cross which Dunstan almost connected with at the back post. Vardy was a constant thorn in Hullbridge’s side as he had the speed to get on the end of most of the long balls that were being fed to him.
A Cox header did force Jack Hopwood to make a save on the line whilst being challenged by Salarko. Having gone behind due to a defensive error, Hullbridge then nearly equalised via a lapse themselves; Dan Steadman slipped, allowing Salako to easily chip the keeper, but the ball rattled against the cross bar and bounced away to safety. It had been Hullbridge’s best chance of the half and they were then presented another opportunity when a wayward Tring pass came to Cox who lobbed Hopwood but the shot hit the side-netting. Hullbridge ended the half in control having spent rather a long time to get into the game.
However Hullbridge were not able to take that momentum into the second half as within three minutes of the re-start they found themselves two goals down. A ball bobbling around the Hullbridge box was turned into the net by Jack Read at close range.
Tring upped their game once again after scoring; soon afterwards Max Hercules darted down the left wing, found Read who placed a shot inches wide. Cox did have shot blocked by Hopwood and Hullbridge did try and go forward but in doing so it opened up gaps at the back which Tring exploited. Just before the hour mark Vardy showed some sublime skill as his back-heel wrong-footed Harley and the Tring striker then finished the job off by shooting into the bottom left hand corner.
Hullbridge were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute which Cox converted. For a moment it looked like it may be a life-line – but any such ideas were extinguished in the 71st minute. Hercules held up the ball before setting up Dunstan, whose shot was kept out by a quality save from Harley. But the resulting corner was met by the head of Mark Riddick who timed his run to perfection with his powerful header crashing into the back of the net.
Luca Frankis headed a Hullbridge chance narrowly over in the 75th minute but Read was involved in another Tring foray into the Hullbridge box, which only ended when stern Matt Tapley put in a challenge. Read then went even closer in the 80th minute when he quickly turned and fired off a low shot that was
Tring were able to add further gloss to their victory when a fine delivering from George Carbery was volleyed past Harley by Hercules in stoppage time. After a slow first half the hosts seemed to be more up for it in the second period, winning all the important battles, backed up with clinical finishing. They now go into the 5th Round draw for the first time in their history. Hullbridge, who had started slowly in the first half, picking up a bit of momentum towards the end of it, didn’t start their engine at all in the second half. After an amazing FA Vase campaign it sadly petered out on Saturday with barely a whimper.
Tring Athletic: Jack Hopwood, Colin Parrott, Chris Mason, Mark Riddick, Dan Steadman (Capt), Dave O’Connor (Steve Nott-Macaire 73’), Max Hercules, Tommy Twelves, Chris Vardy (George Carbery 81’), Luke Dunstan, Eliott Goward (Jack Read 30’).
Scorers – OG (13’), Jack Read (48’), Chris Vardy (59’), Mark Riddick (71’), Max Hercules (90+1)
Hullbridge Sports: Russell Harley, Shawn Coe, Sam Taylor, Joe Pattison, Rob Hodgson, Gus Douglas, Michael Edgar (Matt Tapley 52’), Harry Watkins, Michael Salako, Jimmy Cox (Capt), Perry Hirst (Luca Frankis (71’).