Kings Langley’s FA Cup journey is over after they were beaten 1-0 by AFC Rushden Diamonds at Gaywood Park on Saturday.
This was an absorbing cup tie between two evenly matched teams that, although short on incident and thrills, demonstrated the fine line between success and failure.
Ninety minutes of football, in which both defences coped with everything thrown at them, came down to five seconds of inspiration when Diamonds’ Sam Brown launched a huge throw-in to the near post and Dan Quigley reacted to turn the ball into the net.
The visitors took control of the opening 10 minutes, without anything on target, but Kings came back to see an Ollie Cox 20-yarder fly just wide and a Gary Connolly shot on the turn go even closer.
Diamonds then had a Tommy Berwick header disallowed for handball on the half hour and a further header wide from a good position, but the best chance fell to the lively Connolly, who miscued his shot.
The second half opened with Kings on top; a teasing Alex Campana cross was just out of reach of his team-mates and a thunderbolt from Danny Hutchins was superbly blocked by a defensive barrier.
Then came the defining moment when Diamonds landed the killer blow.
Kings battled to the end, as the pressing midfields of both teams ran themselves to a standstill, but a Stuart Deaton header was the closest they came as Matt Finlay in goal was so well protected, he was not called on to make a save of note.
So Diamonds progress and Kings were left to reflect, after an encounter that was intriguing, but never boring.