Kings Langley crashed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle on Saturday in Hendon, paying the price for a lack lustre first-half display that saw their high-flying hosts secure a two-goal advantage they never looked like relinquishing.
Hendon started much the brighter and their crisp passing on their astro surface had Kings stretched from the off.
The lively Zak Joseph was central to the hosts’ attacking initiatives and Kings quickly reverted to a 4-4-2 formation to nullify the relentless attacking threat but it was to no avail as after 17 minutes Joseph chased a seemingly lost cause and deftly pulled the ball back to the in-rushing Niko Muir to side-foot home.
Kings had the occasional sortie into the Hendon half through Callum Adebiyi, who worked tirelessly throughout, heading just wide from a corner, and Gareth Price went close after an exquisite Michael King through ball.
These were rare moments in an opening period dominated by Hendon and it was no surprise when they increased their advantage in the 31st minute through Matt Ball.
Kings problems were compounded when the goal also signalled the departure of striker Price through injury, replacement Sam Tring heralding another enforced change in formation to 5-4-1.
The second goal at least seemed to galvanise Kings into a rapid response when a brilliant run by Stevie Ward set Kieran Turner free on the right and his pin-point cross was emphatically headed home by Adebiyi.
Alas, it was only a reprieve as within five minutes the hosts had restored their two-goal lead when Dave Diedhiou headed home for 3-1.
With everything to do in the second period, Kings started in enterprising fashion with Dean Hitchcock producing some penetrating distribution in his last match before a six-month sabbatical in South America.
For a time Kings had the ascendancy but they could not force the vital breakthrough despite the strenuous efforts of Michael King, returning to the club for a second spell, and some piercing runs by the irrepressible Ward.
But the hosts remained resilient in defence to competently navigate their passage to the next round.
In midweek, Kings grabbed a much-needed 1-0 league win when hosting Dunstable Town thanks to a 34th minute Hitchcock penalty.
Last night (Tuesday) Kings were due to host Hemel Town in the Herts Senior Challenge Cup first round and this Saturday entertain Basingstoke Town in the league.