Kings manager Hobbs exits by mutual consent as interim boss Conroy gets draw in first clash

Steve Conroy managed to pick up a point in his first match as Kings Langley's interim boss in Saturday's league match with Merthyr Town at The C R Y Community Stadium, Gaywood Park.
Mitchell Weiss battles for the ball against Merthyr. (Picture: Chris Riddell)Mitchell Weiss battles for the ball against Merthyr. (Picture: Chris Riddell)
Mitchell Weiss battles for the ball against Merthyr. (Picture: Chris Riddell)

A serious injury to Merthyr keeper Cameron Clarke in the 82nd minute with the scores level at 2-2 delayed the match for half an hour before the encounter played out the remaining minutes in a somewhat muted atmosphere.

Conroy recalled Chris Gosling from his Leverstock Green loan, while former Hitchin Town defender / midfielder Alasan Ann was signed and named in the squad.

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Merthyr began at pace and their talisman Ian Traylor was put through only to fire over on five minutes, but Kings matched it with a Michael King in-swinger from a Gosling pass just clearing the junction of bar and post.

The visitors drew first blood just past the half-hour mark when Jaye Bowen saw Kings’ keeper Martin Bennett off his line and lobbed him to register an opportunist’s goal.

Kings kept in the game with some neat passing and King had the ball in the net in the opening minute of the second half, only for an infringement to rule it out.

Fifteen minutes later, King left no room for argument, latching on to a Mitchell Weiss side pass to ripple the back of the net with a 25-yard rocket.

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The game had opened up as both sides went all out for the points and flowed from end to end, but as it entered the last fifteen, a superb crossfield pass gave Merthyr skipper Ashley Evans the space on the right to bear down on Bennett and find the far corner to make it 2-1.

Undaunted, Kings surged back with Gary Connolly’s low 30-yard shot tipped round the post by Clarke.

Minutes later, the raiding full-back was at it again, swinging a looping diagonal cross into the box for Weiss. A brave back-header from Kings’ leading goalscorer arced over a defender and keeper into the net, but concern was immediate for the keeper as the collision between the three left Clarke apparently unconscious. As he was attended to, Clarke became responsive and was taken to hospital.

After the re-start, the game went through the motions to the final whistle.

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Langley have endured a poor run of form this season (13 losses, seven draws and just four wins), including their biggest defeat for nearly six years the previous weekend in a 7-2 loss against Frome Town.

The club released a statement last Tuesday announcing the exit of boss Paul Hobbs.

It said: “It is with regret that Kings Langley announce the departure from the club of first-team manager Paul Hobbs and assistant manager Andy Stratford.

“The decision has been arrived at mutually between Paul and the club. The club would like to acknowledge the huge debt of gratitude owed to Paul and Andy.

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“Both came in at a moment’s notice in difficult circumstances and had an immediate positive impact on the team, which ultimately secured the club’s status in the Southern League Premier Division.

“They depart with the club’s very best wishes for the future and sincere appreciation for the work they have done during their period of tenure. Until a successor is found, head coach Steve Conroy will take charge of team matters.”