Hosts Kings Langley knocked Hemel Town out of the Herts Senior Challenge Cup at the first-round stage on Tuesday night in a local derby.
The 3-0 win sets up a second-round home tie against Watford.
Kings boss Paul Hobbs was without both of his top strikers and gave first starts to Ceykan ‘Jay’ Karagozlu and Warren Plowright while new signing Michael King led the line on his second start in a young team with an average age of 22.
Hemel fielded only five of the team that saw league action the previous Saturday and they started in blitzkrieg mode that saw Sam Tring and Gary Connolly clear off the line in the first seven minutes.
Town’s Paul Walsh had the ball in the net but the referee spotted an infringement and as the pressure continued, Ebby Nelson-Addy watched an in-swinging shot pass just over the bar.
Kings had to wait until the 26th minute for their first serious effort, which ex-King Danny Boness blocked in the Hemel goal, and minutes later had to be at full stretch to deny King.
The hosts then started to show more confidence and when another attack resulted in a goalmouth melee and defensive protests at a clash between Emmanuel Folarin and Boness, a penalty for a previous handball was awarded.
Boness got a hand on Brendan Ocran’s spot kick but couldn’t prevent it going in.
Within ten minutes, another series of blockaded shots saw the final ricochet fall to Callum Adebiyi on the edge of the box and he met it sweetly on the volley to make it 2-0.
Kings’ fans thought they were dreaming when the ball was played forward to an incoming Ocran on the left and his intelligent cross-goal acute diagonal pass was buried with a maturity beyond his years by 18-year-old Karagozlu.
The latter then turned Kyle Connolly in the box and the trip led to another penalty.
This time Ocran’s penalty hit the underside of the bar and was held by Boness.
A shell-shocked Hemel were able to steady the ship in the second-half but offered little going forward in a tame half by preceding standards.
The Kings defence, in which the central pairing of Connolly and fit again Tring were outstanding, held firm.
Jorell Johnson was a revelation in midfield, Josh Coldicott-Stevens grew into his No 10 role and King was always available as the lone striker, while the introduction of impressive U18s Harrison Kenny (16) and Aiden Collins (17) on the hour was a testament to the future of the club.