Match Preview: Tring Athletic (A) – League
By Leon Waite – @leonwaite98
United return to Second Meadow for the first time in precisely a month on Saturday as they welcome familiar opponents in Tring Athletic. The inclement weather halted the majority of non-league football last weekend, including United’s trip to league leaders Berkhamsted, so Cristian Colas’ men have had two weeks to contemplate a 3-1 defeat at Leverstock Green last time out.
That result was in keeping with the team’s wretched away form, with the 2-1 success at Edgware Town a week prior to that not proving to be a turning point- although the Green have been quite formidable at home. Performances at Second Meadow have remained positive and United romped to a 6-0 win over Hadley on their last outing on home turf so there isn’t a shortage of confidence heading into this week’s action.
Athletic have recovered from their early-season struggles and whilst last campaign’s fifth-placed finish is unattainable, they should have enough to stave off relegation as they sit sixteenth in the table.
But their inconsistent league form that has yielded a single win from their previous seven matches doesn’t paint the full picture of a season characterised by a terrific run in the FA Vase, concluding in a 2-1 reverse at Melksham Town in the fifth round. That was over a month ago and comprehensive defeats to Stotfold and most recently a 5-1 loss at Edgware have followed with a narrow win against London Tigers coupled with a 2-2 draw at Colney Heath sandwiched in between those two losses.
The Hertfordshire-based club have failed to beat United in normal time in their last six meetings yet remarkably they have knocked them out of two cup competitions this year on penalties, with Colas’ troops prevailing 2-0 in the league game at the Grass Roots Stadium.
The Second Meadow faithful have been bereft of footballing action for a month so they will be clamouring for more home success on Saturday, KO 3pm.