Kings Langley went out of the FA Trophy at the first qualifying stage on Saturday after losing 2-0 at home to Southern League Premier Central outfit Needham Market.
There was little to choose between the sides when the interval arrived in this tie, but Kings had edged a match in which both teams had tried to play fast-flowing, inter-passing football.
A cagy opening 25 minutes looked to have been broken when a telling Gary Connolly cross fell to Kings’ striker Mitchell Weiss, who picked his spot, but was thwarted by a fine save by the spread-eagled Jake Jessup.
The keeper nearly went from hero to zero when he spilled a Lee Stobbs cross minutes later, with Rene Howe snapping up a shot on the turn only to see it blocked on the post.
Market had chances with a shoot-on-sight policy as Adam Mills and Tariq Issa fired narrowly over, but Weiss ended the half with another shot that produced a full-length Jessup save.
The visitors stepped up their possession rate in the second-half, with Kings struggling to mount any attacks of note and new keeping Alex Tokarczyk pulled off a spectacular flying save from Luke Ingram.
With the game finely balanced, Weiss’ fine instinctive volley on the turn was only inches past the bar, but with thoughts turning to a replay, the deadlock was broken on 60 minutes when a cross from the right caught the Kings’ defence napping and travelled across the goalmouth to the unmarked Mills, who drilled the ball home.
When Mills was needlessly brought down in the box by Max Ryan six minutes later, Joseph Marsden effortlessly converted the penalty and Needham’s place in the next round was assured.
On Tuesday night, Kings lost 2-1 to Cheshunt at home to exit the Herts Senior Challenge Cup in round one.
Connolly netted a 38th minute penalty to put the hosts in front but Cheshunt responded in the second period with goals from Hughes on 60 minute and Adamson ten minutes’ later.
It was another poor result for Kings as they continue to try to solve the puzzle of producing good performances, but with little reward.
This Saturday it’s back to Southern League Premier league action as Kings, now in the bottom three, host 11th-placed Poole Town.