Biggleswade United provided some early Christmas cheer for their fans by recording a deserved 3-1 victory over Tring Athletic at Second Meadow on Saturday.
On a mild December afternoon, Cristian Colas’ team won an entertaining contest which means they maintain their 100 per cent Spartan South Midlands Premier record in December, writes Richard Thomas.
With as many as five games in hand over some of the teams above them, United will head into the festive period in high spirits, good form and with their hopes intact of clawing back ground on the league’s top teams.
The game began in an open fashion and it did not take long for the first chance of the afternoon to arrive. Tring’s Kieron Turner found himself all alone in the Biggleswade box, but home keeper Tom Wyant saved well down low.
Two minutes later, however, it was United who drew first blood when some good work by Kane Farrell ended with the ball being played out to Dave Iwediuno on the left.
The forward kept his cool superbly, cutting inside onto his right foot before calmly placing the ball beyond Jack Hopwood in the Athletic goal.
Both sides continued to push forward but it was the home team who were creating the better opportunities. Lusunga Ndovi played in the dangerous Nick Elliott, but his effort has kept out by the feet of Hopwood.
On 20 minutes it was 2-0. Farrell swung in a corner from the right which was expertly met by the head of captain Martin Russell, the defender guiding his effort into the top corner of the net to double United’s lead.
Despite falling two goals behind, Tring were not finished and it looked for all the world like they would pull one back almost immediately.
Lee Stobbs was played in behind the Biggleswade defence and although Wyant came out to thwart him initially, the winger’s pull-back looked certain to be finished off by Chris Vardy. However, some desperate goalline defending by United somehow prevented the striker from halving the deficit.
The visitors from Hertfordshire were not to be denied though and on 34 minutes they got their goal. Chris Stapleton crossed from the left, Vardy met it with the faintest of touches and wrong-footed Wyant at his near post.
Shortly before the half time break, Athletic threatened to level things up but Stapleton’s header from Stobbs’ ball in was straight at Wyant.
Chances were fewer and further between after the restart as the frantic nature of the first half perhaps took its toll.
Full-back Farrell got in behind the Tring defence, but his first touch was slightly too heavy and Hopwood was able to smother the danger.
The visiting shot-stopper had to be alert again moments later. Farrell turned provider by sending in a free-kick which was diverted goalwards, but Hopwood dived smartly to his right to keep it out.
United eventually made the points safe 15 minutes from time. A long ball over the top was successfully chased down by Elliott, who had little in the way of support from teammates and was faced with a tight angle to goal. However, the attacking midfielder managed to squeeze his finish into the smallest of spaces between Hopwood’s sprawling dive and the post, restoring the home side’s two goal lead. It was an excellent finish.
There were no further opportunities for either team as Colas’ team saw out the game comfortably in the end.
The Spanish coach will now hope his players can use the momentum generated by recent results to go on the sort of winning run that will be needed to get United back in amongst the league’s leading pack.
Biggleswade head to Stotfold on Tuesday, December 27.