Kings makes FA Cup history despite tumultuous week

Matty Campbell-Mhlope, left, celebrates with his Kings Langley team-mates after netting their third goal in Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup triumph over Folkestone. (Picture by Chris Riddell).
Matty Campbell-Mhlope, left, celebrates with his Kings Langley team-mates after netting their third goal in Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup triumph over Folkestone. (Picture by Chris Riddell).

Kings Langley shrugged off all the back-room drama to make sure they advanced in the FA Cup on Saturday under their caretaker boss Ryan Jackett.

A dramatic week at the club had seen the departure of manager Dean Barker after only nine games in charge, with coach Jackett coming on board as interim boss.

It ended with Kings advancing to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in club history.

Kings said they ‘reluctantly accepted’ Barker’s resignation last Thursday.

In a statement released on Twitter, Barker said it was with a “very heavy heart” that he was walking away, but explained his position had become “completely untenable” and “increasingly apparent” that his expectations would not be realised at Kings.

But Langley put the distractions aside to put in a committed performance at home on Saturday to beat Isthmian Premier leaders Folkestone Invicta 4-0 in the second qualifying round of the famed competition.

Monday’s draw saw them given a home tie in the next round against another Isthmian Premier outfit, Corinthian Casuals, on Saturday October 5.

Mitchell Weiss gave the unbeaten Invicta cause for concern on Saturday as early as the fourth minute when his strike from a Charlie Pattison cross forced defender Matt Newman into a brave block.

Kings had their own wobble when Ira Jackson fired on goal via a rebound from a corner, only for keeper Melvin Minter to make a low save.

Kings’ Josh Coldicott-Stevens sent a powerful 20-yarder just over and a Harry Crawford header was well-held, before the hosts took a deserved lead on 25 minutes. Kane Farrell got the ball after a partially-cleared corner and sent a pinpoint cross to Lloyd Doyley, who half-volleyed the ball into the top of the net.

Invicta keeper Tim Roberts pulled off a superb double save to deny Crawford and Pattison, but Kings had a let-off when Jerson Dos Santos skied the ball over the bar and a prone Minter after a free-kick had been punched clear.

Roberts made another fine save from a Pattison header and a thoroughly entertaining half ended with Invicta’s Callum Davies hitting the bar.

Kings got the vital second goal ten minutes after the break when Kyle Connolly surged down the right and crossed to Pattison, whose acute shot took a deflection across goal, landing at the feet of Weiss, who tapped the ball into an unguarded net.

Kings rammed home the advantage in the final minutes with substitutes taking centre stage. Matty Campbell-Mhlope put Charlie Ruff into a scoring position and although Roberts blocked the shot, the provider was on hand to convert the rebound in the 89th minute to make it 3-0.

Two minutes into added time Ruff latched onto a pass and beat the keeper again to complete a spectacular 4-0 victory and a good day for the club and their young caretaker boss.

Last Tuesday night Kings slipped to their third league reverse in a row in a game that would prove to be Barker’s last in charge as he exited the club two days’ later.

Kings came away from bottom-but-two side St Ives Town wondering how they didn’t win the game with something to spare, never mind losing it 2-1.

A low Gary Connolly cross was drilled home by Ruff in the seventh minute to give Kings a 1-0 lead, but a 36th minute own goal from Pattison and Jack Snelus’s 60th minute strike gave the hosts their first win of the campaign.

With just one win in six league outings, Kings slipped to 16th place in the Southern League Premier Central table.

Kings were due to be back in action again last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press when bottom-but-one club Hitchin Town were the visitors to Orbital Fasteners Stadium.

This Saturday Kings then host fifth-placed Stourbridge, who have won five of their opening eight league games.