Kings Langley slipped to yet another Southern League Premier Division defeat at St Neots Town on Saturday but put in a spirited showing against a form side.
The crowd had barely settled in their seats when Kings won a corner and Brendan Ocran’s low centre saw Sam Tring slide in to force the ball under the body of a falling defender and past the keeper.
A stunned St Neots, who are in a rich vein of form and in eighth place in the league, hit back and had the ball in the net on eight minutes, but the assistant ruled the ball had gone out before the cross.
Kings survived an onslaught to bounce back with Turner and Ocran looking pacy on the wings, but then came the first of two incidents which unsettled the visitors. A St Neots ball into the path of Dion Sembie-Ferris was accurate, but had a strong suspicion of offside, as the winger ran on to beat Kings’ keeper Martin Bennett, but the goal stood.
Minutes later it got worse when Lewis Irwin rose to head home from a corner to make it 2-1.
But there was to be another twist as a sweet Michael King through ball set Mitchell Weiss free and his low cross was turned into his own net by Johnny Herd for 2-2.
Then came the second controversial moment. With both sides going forward at pace, Weiss looked to have been put through again, but was blocked by Liam McDevitt, who had already been booked. The hosts breathed a sigh of relief as the official resorted to a lecture and the Saints ended an entertaining first-half with 11 men.
The second period saw the Saints up the pressure and Bennett pulled off a good save from Irwin on the hour and then a superb tip over from Nabil Shariff 15 minutes later.
The relentless pace of the home attacks was testing the Kings’ defence, marshalled by Jorell Johnson, to its limits, but as the clock ticked down it seemed they may hold out for a valuable point.
But the introduction of Dylan Williams was to be the tipping point as, with eight minutes to go, the substitute unleashed a spectacular swerving, dipping shot that gave Bennett no chance to make it 3-1.
Defeat leaves Kings in 21st place in the standings. They were due to host Chesham United on Boxing Day as the Gazette was going to press.
In midweek, King tasted victory in the second round of the Herts Senior Challenge Cup when taking on Premier League side Watford – albeit one predominately comprising their under-18s squad. The goals came from Gareth Price, Kieran Turner and Michael King against a solo reply from Harvey Bradbury.
Langley will next travel to Welwyn Garden City for the quarter-final.