Kings in play-off roller coaster

Kings' club captain Gary Connolly (number 14 on shorts) settles himself before hitting the late winner on Saturday. (Picture by Chris Riddell).
Kings' club captain Gary Connolly (number 14 on shorts) settles himself before hitting the late winner on Saturday. (Picture by Chris Riddell).

Kings Langley’s had a mixed weekend with a late winner against Dorchester Town on Saturday lifting their play-off hopes but Easter Monday saw them slip to a 1-0 defeat at lowly Walton Casuals.

The three points from the two matches still leaves them in touch of the play-off places in the Evo Stik Southern League Premier Division South with just one game to go.

Kings, who are one point adrift of Poole Town in the fifth and final play-off place but with a vastly inferior goal difference, will need to win their last match at home to already-relegated Frome Town and hope that Poole lose away at bottom side and already-demoted Staines Town.

On Saturday it was club captain Gary Connolly who was Kings’ saviour as he came off the bench to secure the narrowest of victories and keep their play-off hopes alive.

With news of Poole’s win at Metropolitan Police coming through, Kings were running out of time as fellow substitute Lewis Putman began a powerful run down the left in the second minute of stoppage time. He put in a fierce, low cross that was met with a first-time strike at the far post by the incoming Connolly, beating keeper Kingsley Latham to send the home contingent into ecstasy.

Langley had started ponderously and the first 15 minutes belonged to Dorchester in terms of possession, before a shrewd Mitchell Weiss through ball created a chance for Rene Howe, but the striker couldn’t sort his feet out and the chance disappeared.

Dorchester looked more threatening and Kings’ keeper Alex Tokarczyk held a Tom Blair shot, before needing two efforts to deny Billy Lowes’ rising shot.

Kings finally responded on the cusp of half-time when Weiss’ thunderous shot cannoned off the bar after a Stevie Ward pull back.

But the resumption saw Town again on the front foot with Blair putting a low shot just wide.

But imperceptibly Kings were changing the balance of the game with Weiss robbing a tiring defence to shoot from the tightest of angles into the side netting and a wayward defensive header by Nathan Walker calling Latham into action for a spectacular tip-over.

The visitors fought back with Ben Seymour’s snap shot just held by Tokarczyk, before the big keeper made a superb save from an Aaron Rodriguez rocket.

At the other end, the newly-introduced Putman put over a first-time cross that Howe blazed over the bar, a Callum Adebiyi shot was blocked and Latham saved well from Ward.

The match entered the stoppage time and Connolly produced the goal that ensures the tantalising play-off race goes to the wire.

However, on Easter Monday, Kings’ hopes hit a set-back when they travelled to bottom-but-two side Walton Casuals.

The hosts snatched a 1-0 win thanks to a James Ewington goal two minutes before the half-time break.

Walton’s win ensured their relegation battle goes down to the final game of the season, with the club one point adrift of safety from the threes sides of Hendon, Gosport Borough and Basingstoke Town.