Langley snatch a deserved point with a late goal as young debutants impress in their first starts
A Callum Adebiyi goal four minutes from time earned Kings Langley a 2-2 draw at home against top-six side Tiverton Town on Saturday.
Hit by the recall of three loanees and the unavailability of stand-out defender Kieran Turner and Arjun Jung, Kings gave first-team starts to new, young signing Jacob Cook and under-18s midfielder Louie Collier.
Both responded well and looked totally at ease with their surroundings, giving boss Steve Conroy a welcome late-season bonus.
After a blip in form over the last two matches, hosts Kings looked sharp and dominated the first-half, with a saving tackle denying right-back Cook a goal on his debut, while Tiverton keeper Liam Armstrong parried a Gareth Price shot.
A Gary Connolly rocket was then a foot wide and striker Mitchell Weiss shaved a post as Kings went close to opening the scoring.
Tiverton, who received three yellow cards in the first 20 minutes, had only two chances for the prolific Levi Landricombe to show for their first-period efforts, the second of which was foiled by a brave save from Kings’ netminder Martin Bennett at the feet of the onrushing attacker.
The second-half opened in dramatic fashion when Price received a touch from behind from Scott Rogers just two minutes after the re-start.
The referee pointed to the spot and Stevie Ward stepped up to confidently convert his first penalty for the club.
The lead was to last just six minutes, however, as a loose pass saw the on-rushing Bennett seemingly get both hands to the ball at the feet of Landricombe, but suffer a harsh penalty award for the second week running.
Landricombe equalised from the spot-kick and although both penalties had erred towards the soft side, Tiverton now looked to have the psychological advantage for the first time in the match.
Connolly was then forced into a goal-line clearance and Bennett had the satisfaction of a flying save from Landricombe.
Kings were playing some good inter-passing football, with 17-year-old Louie Collier at the heart of much of it and an 18-yard volley from Adebiyi flew past the post before a Josh Coldicott deflected shot caused concern to the visitors’ defence.
But Town’s new-found confidence was to result in Tom Bath volleying home a Nick Hurst free-kick on 77 minutes to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Although Weiss was inches from an instant reply, Kings were staring an unjust defeat in the face.
Another under-18s prodigy, 16-year-old Edu Toiny-Pendred, was introduced off the bench and almost made an immediate impact with a shot just over the bar, but Kings were not to be denied and with four minutes of normal time remaining, an Elliott Godfrey corner was emphatically headed home by Adebiyi to restore balance.
Kings pushed for the winner they felt they deserved, but Town held firm and Bennett had to pull of a superb tip round the post from Bath in the last minute of an absorbing match.
Langley, still in 21st place in the Southern League Premier Division table, visit 17th-placed Farnborough this Saturday.