Kings Langley’s recent revival under new boss Steve Conroy hit a stumbling block when they went down 1-0 at fellow strugglers Dorchester Town on Saturday.
After three draws and a win, including a point against then- leaders Kettering, Kings went down to 18th-placed Dorchester on a heavy pitch that couldn’t have been more different to the artificial pitch of their previous match in midweek at Slough (see below).
It was a slow start from an unchanged Kings side as they struggled to adapt to the boggy field, which adversely affected their close passing game.
The hosts used the wings to their advantage and a Tom Blair cross saw Sam Lanahan head just over, before Kings’ keeper Martin Bennett was quick off his line to block an Archie Collins shot.
Kings gradually got into it and a Callum Adebiyi cross found Gareth Price but he was unable to find room to force it home, while an Arjun Jung shot was blocked by a defence well-marshalled by imposing centre-back Ross Carmichael.
It was from a break off a Kings’ attack minutes later that Carmichael delivered the ball out to Blair on the left and he took the ball in one movement to turn inside Max Fraser before unleashing a shot across Bennett and into the far corner of the net for a stunning goal on 23 minutes.
It seemed to subdue Kings for the remainder of the half as they managed only long balls out of defence and one Price header, easily held.
Kings followed their own script of late and came back out for the second period as a different proposition, the opening salvo being a Matt Ball volley just over.
The industrious Stevie Ward and Price combined to win the ball back and deliver to Kieran Turner, but the winger wanted a little too much time to find his shot, while a Max Fraser run and cross tested the home defence.
Langley built up to an onslaught and Jung and Jorell Johnson had shots blocked near the line, before the introduction of sub Mitchell Weiss looked to have paid off as his fierce shot honed in on the far corner of the net, only to be diverted on the line by a despairing toecap.
Kings were nearly caught out by a break that resulted in Bennett tipping the ball round the post from Lanahan, but they resumed the quest for parity with Price racing clear for a chance which Town keeper Chris Weale saved superbly.
A final attack in injury time saw Weale make a brave block in a crowded area and the ball fell to Adebiyi, whose shot was true, only for the excellent Weale to recover to tip the ball round the post .
Making the long journey home without a point seemed hard on Kings, but they can take some comfort in a courageous second-half display and the knowledge they were beaten by a top-class goal.
Kings have a break from the league this weekend and are next in action on Monday night when they travel to Boreham Wood in the semi-final of the Herts Senior Challenge Cup.