Tring Athletic 1-0 Dunstable Town
19th October 2019
A last gasp goal from Tring Athletic's Jacob Carter was the only difference between the two sides as Dunstable Town made the short trip to the Grass Roots Stadium on Saturday.
After an abject display in a 0-4 loss to Arlesey on Tuesday, the Blues were back playing their flowing brand of football, bolstered by a full debut for Joe Hankins, and with Dan Blackman and captain Seb Smith having returned from injury in midweek.
Another debutant was goalkeeper Dan Gould, who started well when he tipped a shot from a Malik Rickman cut back round the post.
Dunstable's first chance of note came in the thirteenth minute, when Chris Stapleton fizzed a low ball across the box, arriving at the feet of Joe Hankins, who took a touch and hit it on the turn, but dragged it wide of the mark.
Stapleton was at it again shortly afterwards, with a darting run through the midfield, and with the ball looping up off of the leg of a defender, the ball was there to be hit, but Stapleton couldn't keep his effort down, and Tring keeper Charlie Mann watched it sail over the crossbar.
Towards the end of the first half, Tring had a good spell of pressure, winning a succession of corners, but the Dunstable backline stood firm.
With half time approaching, Jack Harvey came the closest to breaking the deadlock so far, finding himself with space to unleash a twenty-five yard drive, which Mann had to get to, as it was heading straight into the top corner.
There was still time for another chance for the Blues, with Eric Ameyaw winning the aerial battle from the resulting corner, but he wasn't able to direct it on target.
The second half was an even contest, but Dunstable continued to be more incisive, albeit without converting any of their chances.
With twenty minutes left to play, substitute Andre Elliott played a long ball down the line, which Tring's Jack Sunderland tried to see out, but with Stapleton looking to latch onto it, it was the Dunstable attacker who managed to nod the ball on, and while Hankins was on hand to receive the ball from Stapleton, his shot was too high.
Evans Lamboh replaced Jack Harvey shortly afterwards, and looked hungry to make an impact.
Into the last ten minutes, the visiting Blues were still pressing for a winner, and a Daniel Trif through ball found Stapleton just outside the box, but he couldn't get a clean enough contact on his shot, which went wide.
Minutes later, Tring's Tommy Fletcher was looking to play out from the back, but found himself under immediate pressure. Looking to play the ball back to his goalkeeper, he decided against doing so, only to find it was his only option. Dunstable fans were on the edge of their seats as a heavy back pass went narrowly wide of the goal.
With only a minute left of the ninety, Dunstable's hard work was undone. With Tring winning a free kick in the middle of the field, Jacob Carter made a run along the left, and a quickly dinked free kick was taken on the outside of Carter's left foot, looping up and leaving Gould helpless in the Dunstable goal, securing three points that maintains Tring's lead at the top of the league.
Blues manager Gareth Jackson said of his side: 'I can't fault the lads, they did all I wanted them to do, but we were punished for switching off one time. If we perform to that standard regularly though, there will be plenty of wins to come.'