If there was a match that Baldock didn’t need right now it was probably this one. Tring Athletic were sitting at the top of the table and Baldock were stuck at the bottom but you never know.
Baldock started brightly enough and were the better of the two teams in the first 15 minutes. O’Brien had the best of the chances when his curling shot from the edge of the box hit the post. The pressure must have been telling on Tring as they then went of a suicidal spell which saw Tring midfielder, Lovell, red carded in 22 minutes. This bit of the action was off the ball, and I missed it, but it ended up with Lovell on the ground holding his face with O’Brien in close proximity. I feared the worst, but the Linesman had seen something which I can only assume was some short of assault on O’Brien! - as you don’t get sent off for ‘simulation’. Lovell was off but the Tring Goalkeeper had managed to get involved and he was off to the ‘sin bin’ to cool down. The subsequent free kick broke to the edge of the box where Gill blasted high over the bar. The sending off seemed to affect Baldock more than Tring as they failed to take advantage of the Tring Keeper being off the pitch and play became scrappy with the sub Keeper not being tested at all. When the original Keeper came back on, his first job was to pick the ball out of his net as a cross found Gill at the back post whose header back in was met by Piggott who coolly slotted past the Keeper in 39 minutes. That was it for the first half.
The second half started in monsoon conditions and the first decent chance fell to Tring when their man found himself clean through on the Baldock goal but he only managed to hammer it off the bar from about 10 yards. The game continued to be scrappy but in 60 minutes James managed to make progress to the edge of the Tring box and managed a shot which the Keeper saved low to his right. Tring started to leave more men up front and left gaps at the back which were almost exploited firstly by Piggott, after some good work by Coppin and O’Brien, and then Gill almost connected with a good cross from O’Brien. Baldock were coming under some pressure from Tring and were making chances on the break and were looking for a second goal. Tring were finding it increasing difficult to defend and a short corner to James saw him blast a low shot just past the Keepers far post. Furness then then made a great break from defence and met Piggott coming in the opposite direction, from an offside position, Furness continued past him and got all the way to the Tring six yard box before running out of steam – understandable at this stage in the game and in these conditions. O’Brien almost got a goal when his wayward cross came off the top of Tring bar in added time, no doubt Obi would claim a shot.
Baldock deserved their win but Tring must be thinking that they shot themselves in the foot with some dubious tactics which saw their players throwing themselves onto the ground at the slightest contact – not what I was expecting from the League Leaders.
Not sure who the man of the match, as it was a bit of a battle, and there were a number of contenders but our defence stood firm and looked solid with Clark and O’Donoghue looking confident at the heart of it.
Harpur, Donkin, Furness, Coppin, Clark, O’Donoghue, Gill, James, Piggott, O’Brien (C), Finch. Subs, used: Anthony, Doolan
Correspondent - BTFC Fan - J.Graham