Kings Langley battled back to salvage a point in a 4-4 thriller against Royston Town in the Southern League Division 1 Central on Saturday.
Kings came back from the dead in an incident packed match, after being torn apart by the Crows in the opening 20 minutes.
Ant Ladyman was put under extreme pressure from an inswinging corner after 10 minutes and, although he got his fist to it, the head of Ryan Ingrey got the final touch.
Almost immediately another left wing run and cross by Rhys Hoenes was met with a bullet header by Rob Mason and, when the winger was brought down and Mason converted the penalty, the match seemed over.
Ron Yates in the Town goal had hardly touched the ball in the first half hour, but then Lorenzo Ferrari found space on a rare break. Forced wide right, he pulled the ball across goal and the newly introduced Dean Hitchcock found the corner of the net with a low curling shot.
But Hoenes was still running riot on the Crows’ left, and his control, pace and precision cross gave Ingrey his second to restore the three-goal buffer.
However, the pivotal moment of the match arrived on 42 minutes as Scott Bridges, who had dictated the midfield for Town, arrived a second lateto a 50/50 ball with Danny Hutchins and received a straight red card.
Kings had to capitalise quickly and they did so immediately when Ferrari’s goalbound shot was deflected into the far corner by a desperate defender on the line.
The second half could not compete for such drama and would see the Crows defend and rely on quick breaks, while Kings – given some freedom at last – continually knock on the door.
The vital third for the home side came just past the hour mark when David Hutton was on the end of a Stuart Deaton header to drill the ball home, and while no Kings player really caught the eye on the day, it was the new signing who showed his class to be in the right place at the right time to pull Kings level from another Deaton assist with a quarter of an hour to go.
Both sides seemed drained by now and it was almost as if an ending on equal terms was an inevitable antidote to all the changes in fortune that had gone before.