Kings Langley lost 1-0 at Frome Town in the Southern League Premier South on Saturday, writes Roy Mitchard.
After the upturn in results in the previous two matches, Kings travelled to Frome in optimistic mood and made just one change, Dean Hitchcock back in for Stevie Ward.
The hosts started on the same number of points as Kings, their form somewhat erratic, with a mauling at home to Basingstoke followed by a win at high-flying Merthyr.
A sunny afternoon formed the backdrop to what promised to be an entertaining game, but unfortunately what followed was mediocre.
There was no doubting the work-rate put in by both sides, but the game cried out for some midfield creativity to open up the defences that were always in command.
Town managed one shot on target in the first-half, a Kane Simpson low effort that Charlie Burns saved, while Kings were unable to trouble James Carey at all.
The hosts certainly had the best of the half, a not unusual situation of late for Langley, and strung series of passes together to little effect, but the ball generally spent much of its time airborne.
The second period opened with Kings at last getting into passing mode, but to much the same limited effect, although a Callum Adebiyi cross gave Mitchell Weiss a volley well-saved by Carey.
The pendulum swung Kings’ way as they came more into it, exerting a lengthy period of pressure, but Sam Teale at the heart of the home defence soaked up all that was thrown at him. Gary Connolly and Jorell Johnson did the same at the other end.
As the clock ran down, a goalless draw seemed increasingly likely, given the inability to fashion good chances, but Town were operating with more width, both wide men hugging the touchline at times and this policy was to pay off with five minutes to go. Kriss Miller’s deflected cross from the right found Rick Davies on the far side to half volley into the opposite corner.
There was controversy five minutes into time added-on when newly-introduced Stevie Ward bust into the box with pace and he and the attending Ollie Knowles clattered to the ground. It was a 50/50 decision for the referee who chose to come down on the side of ‘no penalty’ but added salt in the wound by unjustly booking Ward for simulation. It was a cameo that summed up a day for Kings that had started in optimism and ended in disappointment and the frustration of the M25 at its worst.
Next up, Kings host second-placed side Tiverton Town this Saturday.