Kings Langley got a great boost of momentum ahead of their historic FA Cup clash this weekend when they thrashed table-toppers Rushall Olympic 4-0 in boss Chris Cummins first league game in charge on Saturday.
Langley have made it to the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history and they travel to National League South outfit Maidstone United this Saturday with a chance to play in the first-round proper up for grabs.
But before that date with destiny, Kings had the small matter of hosting the league leaders Rushall Olympic at the Orbital Fasteners Stadium.
Langley looked dangerous from the off and visiting keeper Jonathan Flatt made two brave saves at the feet of striker Mitchell Weiss in the opening minutes.
When the striker did beat Flatt scarcely a minute later, skipper Mitchell Clarke had to clear off the line.
But the opening barrage finally reaped its reward when a visionary cross-field diagonal pass by Josh Coldicott-Stevens sent Stevie Ward away down the wing and his lay-back was hammered home by Gary Connolly, via a slight deflection.
The loss of veteran centre-back Lloyd Doyley two minutes’ later was a setback, but it gave a debut to newly-signed Bradley Wadkins, with Connolly reverting to right back.
With the traffic virtually one-way, Kings extended the lead on the half-hour when Weiss was felled by a crude challenge in the box and Ward stepped up to convert the penalty to make it 2-0.
There was further punishment for Olympic before the break when a long forward ball from Callum Adebiyi was headed on by Kane Farrell to Weis and his short pass to Coldicott-Stevens saw the midfielder make space before driving the ball into the far top corner for a 3-0 advantage.
The second-half was a more even affair, mainly due to Kings’ game management rather than a scathing team talk and double half-time substitution for Olympic.
The Langley defence again looked solid, giving the visitors little encouragement, and when Coldicott-Stevens sent Weiss racing clear on a counter attack, Flatt had to stand tall to block a first effort and was relieved to see Weiss hit the post with a second.
The footballing philosophy of Cummins was apparent as Kings controlled the closing stages, knocking the ball about and denying Rushall any possession, while a well-organised defence looked composed in heading towards a second consecutive clean sheet.
When they did increase the pressure in stoppage time it was with devastating effect when Coldicott-Stevens and Farrell exchanged side passes, slotted the ball to Weiss and his pass to Louie Collier enabled the teenage substitute to rifle home a 20-yard shot of stunning quality into the top corner to cap the day at 4-0.
The victory leaves Kings in 11th place in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central table after 10 games.
Perhaps more importantly, it put the side in a positive frame of mind ahead of their historic FA Cup opportunity this Saturday in Kent.
Maidstone, in the same division at Hemel Hempstead Town, are in ninth place in the standings and have lost just once at home this season.
Victory would be very much against the odds, but the competition’s rich history is littered with giant-killings and romantic stories.
If Cummins can conjure some cup magic, his name will immediate go down in Kings’ folklore.