Key Kings victory keeps side on course for a playoff push

Kings Langley front man Rene Howe netted on Saturday against Salisbury. (File picture by Chris Riddell).
Kings Langley front man Rene Howe netted on Saturday against Salisbury. (File picture by Chris Riddell).

Kings Langley bounced back from a home reverse in midweek to defeat a good Salisbury side 2-1 on the road on Saturday to maintain their playoff ambitions.

It was arguably the result of the day in the Southern League Premier Division, as Kings dented fourth-placed Salisbury’s title hopes and helped erase the memories of Salisbury’s 94th minute equaliser from 18 days’ earlier.

It also helped to take the sour taste out of Kings’ mouths following their 2-1 home defeat to fellow top-four side Metropolitan Police from last Tuesday night.

It appeared Langley had a plan to slow the game down on Saturday and keeper Alex Tokarczyk became the target of a large partisan crowd’s ire with his leisurely goal kicks.

The hosts had the better of the early going with winger Louis Benson and Thomas Whelan looking dangerous.

But Kings’ first foray was a flowing movement of artistry that put them 1-0 up and gave Salisbury’s famous boss Steve Claridge apoplexy.

In the 19th minute Callum Adebiyi and Charlie O’Keefe combined on the left to send Lewis Putman to the corner, where he beat his man with sublime footwork before sending over a cross that was met with an emphatic header by Rene Howe.

For all the pressure Salisbury exerted before half-time, Kings’ only anxious moments were a goalmouth scramble and a header past the post.

The atmosphere ramped up further after the break with Tokarczyk making an excellent save, but he was powerless when Salisbury equalised with a swerving free-kick by Louis Benson.

The sheer number of home attacks then had the travelling Kings’ fans counting down the seconds, but with a minute to go, Kings mounted another keep-ball attack. Putman played the ball square to substitute Josh Coldicott-Stevens and the midfielder unleashed a 25-yard rocket into the net for a stunning 2-1 lead.

The eight minutes of time added-on were ridden out, leaving Kings celebrating a monumental victory. They are only outside the playoffs by goal difference in sixth place.

Last Tuesday night Kings hosted Metropolitan Police and went 1-0 up after only six minutes through Mitchell Weiss. But John Gilbert equalised ten minutes’ later before Luke Robertson scored the decisive goal of the goal in the 35th to give the Met a 2-1 win.

Kings were due to be in action again last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press when mid-table Hartley Wintney were the visitors.

They then travel to third-placed Metropolitan Police this Saturday.