Kings make history as they stay in the FA Cup hunt

Kings Langley players celebrate en route to their historic FA Cup success on Saturday against Corinthian Casuals. (Picture by Chris Riddell).
Kings Langley players celebrate en route to their historic FA Cup success on Saturday against Corinthian Casuals. (Picture by Chris Riddell).

Kings Langley advanced to the final qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history after beating Corinthian Casuals 3-0 on Saturday – and gained victory over a side who knocked them out of the competition in 1949.

Seventy years ago Kings were defeated 3-1 by the famous amateurs of Corinthian Casuals in The FA Amateur Cup at Home Park, writes Roy Mitchard.

That ground has long since been replaced by the houses of Roman Gardens and the cup has become the FA Trophy, but on Saturday Kings were finally able to avenge that result to reach the final qualifying stages of the FA Cup.

It was a winning start for new Kings boss Chris Cummins, former Watford director of youth football, and a fitting finale for interim manager Ryan Jackett, who has been superb in the role and will now form part of Cummins’ team.

Kings started at pace, with a speculative shot by Mitchell Weiss just wide, before the tone of this robust encounter was set with a fifth-minute booking of visiting midfielder Mathias Bakare.

Harry Crawford put a curling shot just past the post and a minute later Kings reverted to the long ball with a good old-fashioned clearance by Lloyd Doyley, latched onto by Weiss, who showed strength and skill to win the ball while closely marked, shrugged off a defender, cut inside and found the back of the net with a shot that had sufficient power to continue its goal-bound journey via the shoulder of diving keeper Dan Bracken.

Kyle Connolly was the next name into the book as the hosts reacted to some strong arm tactics, while Bracken was perfectly placed to block a first-time Max Hercules shot from a Doyley cross.

Casuals produced some moments of danger on the half-hour when a Nathan Pinney cross found no takers, before a flowing move and cross saw Shaun Okojie’s effort go just past the post.

The second period started with Kings’ Roddy Collins being booked and Weiss missing a chance when he robbed Bracken with only a defender on the line to beat, but put the ball straight at him.

To his credit, Weiss spent the next 15 minutes seeking atonement which duly arrived when a move between Josh Coldicott-Stevens, Crawford and Charlie Pattison was finished by Weiss with a superb volley from the latter’s cross.

Kings now had breathing space and within two minutes they could see the finishing line as Collins rose majestically to head home a Hercules corner to make it 3-0.

At that point Casuals’ frustration boiled over and Muhanad Maan was shown a straight red card for a raking challenge on Gary Connolly.

But the home fans were long since beginning to celebrate another step in this remarkable FA Cup journey.

The club understands there are two fans who witnessed the cup clash 70 years ago and is appealing for them to come forward so they can be made guests of honour at a home match of their choice later this season.

On Monday Kings were in the hat for the fourth and final qualifying round and were drawn to play away at National League South side Maidstone United, with the tie taking place on Saturday, October 19.

Last Tuesday night Kings exited the Southern League Challenge Cup in the first round when going down 3-0 at home to AFC Dunstable.

Local players Jamie Calvin, Danny Warwick, Owen Deamer, Jack Halcomb and Charlie Webster came to the rescue for the injury-hit Kings, where the scoreline was incidental to the backcloth of drama that preceded the game.

The competition has long struggled to inspire interest in clubs or supporters and the reasons were illustrated on a rainy autumn night that attracted a very small crowd that failed to cover the cost of the officials and saw Kings committed to a match with an injury list of nine first-teamers with an important FA Cup tie just days’ away.

The only response was to sign five players with hours to spare and they did Kings more than proud as Langley threatened to swamp the visitors for the first 20 minutes, before eventually succumbing to a goal on the half-hour from Leon Cashman.

Further Dunstable strikes arrived in the 43rd minute through a Newman Carney penalty and in the 77th from Martell Powell.

Crawford was sent off for Kings after being shown a second yellow card in the second half.

This Saturday Kings host early league leaders Rushall Olympic.

n Hemel Hempstead Town had the weekend off and return to action this Saturday with a crunch league clash.

The high-flying Tudors, in second spot in the National League South table and coming off a battling 2-1 victory over Bath City in their last outing, travel to third-placed Havant & Waterlooville.

The Hampshire side are two points adrift of the Tudors and secured a remarkable 4-1 away win over league leaders Wealdstone in their last game – just the second time The Stones had lost this term.

Due to the break, Hemel were due to play a friendly at Vauxhall Road last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press when hosting Southern League Premier Central side Hitchin Town.

Hemel boss Sammy Moore said the club have had a productive week of practice.

In other club news, keeper Danny Boness was voted as Hemel’s player of the month for September.

The stand-in keeper, deputising for injured Sam Beasant, helped the Tudors win three of four games and secured two clean sheets.