Kings Langley battled back to earn a point against ten man Weymouth in the Southern League Premier on Saturday.
Kings welcomed back Dean Hitchcock and Gary Connolly after one match suspensions, but this was partly offset by the absence of David Hutton, another addition to the injury list.
Manager Paul Hobbs tweaked the formation, bringing in Jonny Munday in the centre of a back three, with Jamie Calvin moving forward to the holding midfield role and a front two of Manny Duku and Jerry Amoo.
Weymouth belied their League position, getting off to a quick start, demonstrating some flowing football and generally keeping Kings on the back foot for much of the half. Ben Thomson had an early chance for the visitors, but his shot was poor and then Xavi Comas had to make an instinctive save from Jordan Copp, before being in the right position to collect Thomson’s shot at the end of an impressive run.
Kings were finding their own opportunities limited, with the midfield being quickly closed down and Duku getting little change out of an assured Stephane Zubar.
Good movement between Gary Connolly and Jerry Amoo ended with Jamie Calvin’s shot off target as Kings grew into the game and then on 44 minutes came a moment of madness from the visiting custodian. Jerry broke clear on the right and with the defence appealing unsuccessfully for offside, was met a good four yards outside the area by a two footed tackle from Dan Thomas, leaving the referee with a red card as his only option.
Defending skipper Calvin Brooks took his place and was tested as the half opened, with an Emmanuel Folarin header just over and a shot from the same player that he gathered at the second attempt.
However, the visitors were still looking a potent force on the break and when the lively Chris Shephard was sandwiched by two Kings defenders at the end of a left wing run into the box, he calmly dispatched the resultant spot kick.
Kings looked stunned and for a while reverted to their first half habit of giving the ball away cheaply, but then showed character and determination to get back at least on terms. The introduction of Steve Ward on the right had added some directness to the attack and when Manny Duku was dragged down on a central run, Dean Hitchcock stepped up to drill a low and precise 20 yard free kick through a populated box and past the valiant Brooks.
It was a fitting reward for the midfielder, who had been inspirational to Kings throughout as he vied with his opposite number, Dean Evans for the man of the match accolade. The game swung from end to end for the last ten minutes, but neither side could notch the winner and grudgingly had to settle for a point apiece.
Last Tuesday’s fixture fell victim to the freezing weather. Kings host Tring Athletic in the Herts Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday, December 6 before travelling to Merthyr Town in the league on Saturday.