Thrill Kings are at it again
An opening-day thriller saw Kings Langley stun title favourites Hereford with a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to register a well-earned draw at Gaywood Park.
Ever since their incredible rise up the football pyramid four seasons ago, Langley have proved that they never do things by half, with three of their past four league campaigns going down to the final game.
Indeed, they preserved their Southern League Premier Division status on the last match of the season at home 112 days ago and they returned to the scene of that triumph on Saturday against title hopefuls Hereford.
And it couldn’t have started any better when in the third minute a Lee Stobbs right-wing cross found summer signing Mitchell Weiss who cushioned the ball back to Stevie Ward who found the net from penalty-spot range.
But on 14 minutes Kings were to lose inspirational skipper Jorell Johnson when he took a high kick in the face while heading the ball.
The visitors settled and played some neat passing football, getting the ball in the net, only to have it disallowed for a challenge on Kings keeper Kyle Forster, who was taking more than his fair share of attention on his debut from the crowd in the away end.
However Kings were always looking dangerous on the break, the returning Weiss and debutant Gareth Price combining well up front, and the first-half closed with a Weiss shot cleared off the line by Jack Deaman, while Forster did well to fingertip a Pablo Haysham shot onto the post.
Ten minutes into the second half and Kings struck again when Stobbs crossed from the right, the ball eluded everyone but the predatory Weiss on the far edge of the box who picked his spot to put Kings 2-0 ahead.
Hereford couldn’t believe it and upped the pressure, but the Langley defence stood firm, although their cause wasn’t helped when a second of the back three, Gary Connolly, was forced to take no further part in the game after a collision on the hour.
Still they soaked up the pressure and Gareth Price could have extended the lead with breaks that finished with a shot over the bar and a superb save.
But with 13 minutes to go, the ball was punched out by an under-pressure Forster and volleyed back from the edge of the box by substitute Jamie Molyneux to put The Bulls back in the game.
Two minutes later a looping Mark Preece header from a long throw dropped tantalisingly over Forster’s head and under the bar to make it 2-2 and give the initiative to the visitors.
With two minutes of normal time left, Hereford’s prolific John Mills latched onto a defence-splitting through ball, rounded the keeper and fired home what looked to be the winner.
There was still a twist in the tail, though, as Kings threw everything forward and another Stobbs assist saw his raking cross headed back across goal by Callum Adebiyi for Price to nod home in the fifth and penultimate minute of time added on.
Amazingly, there was still time for Molyneux to hit the post before the referee brought an end to a five-star show that had it all.
Kings: Forster, Connolly (Waldren), Tring, Adebiyi, Johnson (Coldicott-Stevens), Hitchcock, Stobbs, Ward (Pattison), Weiss, Price, Turner. Subs not used: Bateman, Ocran.
Kings were due to travel to Dunstable last night (Tuesday) and then hit the road again to face St Ives this Saturday.