A much-changed Kings Langley side exited the Southern League Cup after a 2-1 defeat at home to Chalfont St Peter on Tuesday.
In common with many other clubs Kings rang the changes for this League Cup tie against the Saints, who they met at the same stage last season.
There were debuts for Jamie Calvin, Boris Kipeya and Charlie ten-Grotenhuis, on loan from Hampton & Richmond Borough, and elevations for five other players.
This understandably led to a lack of cohesion, although the first few minutes were notable for a Dean Hitchcock low shot just wide and a Saints reply when Jack Mullan lost the defence but fired over the bar.
The visitors went ahead on 18 minutes when a corner by Craige Tomkins received a glancing header from Adam Kirby. Kings reacted positively when Connor Toomey found a good position on the left, but shot wide and then Boris Kipeya, showing plenty of pace as a raiding right wing back, executed a superb volley that was inches over.
A Mason Bush low cross saw keeper Garry Malone smother the ball at Joe Gallagher’s feet, but Saints went further ahead midway through the first half when a well-worked interchange gave Tomkins space in the centre and he curled his shot perfectly over the head of Xavi Comas and into the top far corner.
Five minutes later Kings were back in it when another Kipeya run ended with a pass to Gallagher, who swept the ball across to Connor Toomey. The skipper seemed to have taken a touch too many to get into position, but his goal-bound shot took a deflection over Malone for his second goal in four days.
Kipeya came close with a lob at the end of a run that was just wide and the interval closed a half that had been high on effort, if not finesse, from both sides and had retained the interest of a meagre crowd, synonymous with this competition.
The second period was a different story, as the reporting pen remained comatose in the author’s pocket until ten minutes from the end when Comas pulled out a flying tip-over from a Mark Stafford shot and then beat a Tyrone Pink piledriver round the post at the death.
The Saints back line comfortably dealt with the few attacks that Kings mustered and Malone will seldom have had an easier forty five minutes as the home side hardly had a shot on goal. It was a case of ‘passing strangers’ which indeed they were, but although there were some interesting cameos, the managers would have hoped to learn more from this exercise, where many had a point to prove, but few delivered.