After two seasons of success, Kings Langley were given a reality check as they went down 2-0 to Beaconsfield SYCOB in the Southern League Division One Central on Monday night.
There was little to choose between the sides for the first 15 minutes as what turned out to be a rare mistake at the back presented Ollie Cox with a sight of goal, but his shot was blocked by a recovering Beaconsfield defence.
The Rams broke forward almost immediately and a flowing move through the middle found Sam Deadfield just onside.
His shot was brilliantly parried by Langley keeper Ant Ladyman, but an unmarked Elliott Carey had the easiest of tasks to tap in the rebound to open the scoring.
Kings striker Mitchell Weiss was giving the defence plenty to think about, firing just over minutes later and going close with a header from a free-kick.
However, the home side were using pace on the wings to devastating effect; Rob Gerrard cutting inside to bring a flying save from Ladyman.
As the interval beckoned, a cross from the right found Lee Togwell in space and his powerful shot doubled the lead.
Kings had changed formation to no avail, and too many passes went astray as a succession of long balls were easily dealt with in the second half.
When they did string their usual passing game together, they looked far more dangerous, forcing a couple of late flutters in the Rams’ defence.
But it was a disappointing night for the visitors and a warning that this will be a different world from that of the last two seasons.