Kings upset the league leaders

Kings Langley overturned the form book to defeat the league leaders Weymouth and inflict just their second loss this term on Saturday.

Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 4:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 6:01 pm
Kings Langley's Luke Wade-Slater, left, hit a 25-yard blast to put his side 2-1 up against Weymouth on Saturday. (File picture by Chris Riddell).

The 2-1 victory also saw Kings move out of the bottom three relegation places for the first time in months as they rose up to 17th place in the 22-team Southern League Premier Division South table.

The shock result of the day which knocked Weymouth off the top of the table came after a committed team performance that was probably the best seen at Langley’s Sadiku Stadium home ground so far this season.

The hosts were on the offensive from the second minute when a Dean Hitchcock driving central run and shot rebounded to Stevie Ward but Weymouth keeper Jordan Seabright dived at his feet to deflect the danger for a corner.

Three minutes’ later the home fans were given the rare sight of the not-slightly-built Rene Howe up-ended in the opposition half by central defender Jordan Rose, who was shown a yellow card.

The resulting Jacob Cook free-kick was partially cleared by the Weymouth wall and Ward was on hand to take responsibility to drive a ferocious shot into the far corner for a 1-0 lead.

A Josh Carmichael bicycle kick was met by an equally spectacular save from Kings’ keeper Alex Tokarczyk, who was soon involved in a coming together with Calvin Brooks in the area. The referee waved away any penalty claims and the ball broke into the visitors’ half to Howe and Rose repeated his earlier show-stopper by sending the big striker crashing to earth again.

The response was predictable and added two more cards to the defender’s collection as Weymouth were left to continue the match with ten men.

For 20 minutes Weymouth launched attacks on the home goal, but with newly-introduced Junior Osborne slotting in well with the inspirational skipper Jorell Johnson and Callum Adebiyi, and Gary Connelly providing the wide cover, Kings soaked up the pressure and then broke through Mitchell Weiss. The crowd held its corrective breath, but Seabright was equal to the task, winning the one-on-one battle and Weymouth remained in the game.

They looked to have done more than just that when two minutes into the second-half Josh Wakefield put Brooks through a defence that had lost its concentration for the first and only time in the match to score with ease for the 1-1 equaliser.

But Kings responded with character, gradually wrestling the advantage back and playing with a confidence that has not always been apparent of late.

There seemed little danger to the visitors when Luke Wade-Slater picked up the ball far on the right, but the talented Stevenage loanee unleashed a stunning 25-yard drive that hit the back of the net via the far post to make it 2-1 as the home fans erupted.

Kings’ management of the game for the final half-hour was superb – at one time the visitors were unable to touch the ball for over a minute – and in the closing minutes a corner was diverted onto the bar by the fingertips of Seabright.

So Kings recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time since their epic last-day survival on their debut season in the Premier and if fortune could be said to have smiled on them for once, football is full of cases where numeric advantage does not guarantee victory, indeed the opposite is often the case.

Kings were due to be in league action again last night (Tuesday) at bottom side Staines Town as the Gazette was going to press.

They then host fourth-placed Hendon this Saturday in another league encounter.

Kings v Weymouth: Alex Tokarczyk, Gary Connolly, Callum Adebiyi, Jorell Johnson (captain), Junior Osborne, Jacob Cook, Luke Wade-Slater, Dean Hitchcock (Max Ryan), Rene Howe, Mitchell Weiss, Stevie Ward (Roy Syla). Subs not used: Josh Coldicott-Stevens, Toby Syme and Edu Toiny-Pendred.