Kings Langley turned around their dire league form to spring an upset against Hemel Town in a cup-tie local derby at the CRY Community Stadium Gaywood Park tonight (Tuesday).
The Herts Senior Challenge Cup first-round clash saw high-flying National League South side Hemel taking on the struggling Southern League Premier Division outfit Kings.
Tudors’ boss Dean Brennan had told the Gazette earlier today (Tuesday) that he planned to ‘freshen up’ his team for this tie and he made six changes to the side that beat East Thurrock on Saturday to propel the club into second place in the league standings.
Langley’s trajectory has been the complete opposite this season and they find themselves in the bottom four of their respective league. Before last week’s midweek win over Dunstable Town, Kings hadn’t won in the league since August 15.
Kings reversed the form book to defeat a young Tudors line-up 3-0 to advance into the next round. where they will meet Watford.
Hemel came close to breaking the deadlock early on but were denied by a series of heroic saves by Kings keeper Martin Bennett and defensive clearances.
The Tudors fans were also doing their best to make their voices heard in the stands.
Both teams were playing some positive attacking football and it felt like the opening goal wasn’t too far away.
It duly came moments later via the penalty spot after Kings’ skipper Jorell Johnson’s goalbound header was blocked by a Hemel hand. Brendan Ocran stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick into the net.
The hosts doubled the lead nine minutes later when Callum Adebiyi smashed the ball home.
Kings added a third when Ceykan Karazoglu finished well after a defence-splitting through ball from Ocran.
They nearly hit a fourth from a second penalty but this time Ocran smashed the spot-kick against the underside of the bar and the ball bounced away. It was awarded - the seventh against the Tudors this season to zero in reply - after Karazoglu was adjudged to have been taken down in the box.
It was a more even contest early in the second-half and Hemel went close a couple of times to opening their account.
Hemel starting to put Kings under a fair amount of pressure around half an hour into the second period and a free-kick was parried before being cleared for a corner.
Langley nearly wrapped up the game with a fourth goal on the counter attack but Hemel’s 19-year-old keeper Danny Boness made a good save.
As time ticked away, the Tudors were still looking for a way back into the game but Langley saw it out.
Kings: Martin Bennett , Emmanuel Folarin, Callum Adebiyi, Gary Connolly, Sam Tring, Warren Plowright (Aidan Collins), Ceykan Karagozlli (Harrison Kenny), Jorell Johnson (captain), Michael King, Josh Coldicott-Stevens, Brendan Ocran.
Hemel: Danny Boness, Callum Driver, Joe Howe, Kyle Connolly (captain), Phil Walsh, Matt Spring, Alex Osborn, Scotty Shulton, Sam Akinde, Taylor Miles, Edbby Nelson-Addy.