Kings Langley earned a point on their travels to Cambridgeshire on Saturday but will feel hard done by after a contentious decision denied them all three points against St Ives Town.
After the fireworks of Kings’ opening two high-scoring matches [seven Kings’ goals], yesterday’s encounter lacked much of the previous excitement and proved a frustrating afternoon for Langley as they were denied what would have been the clincher by a controversial call.
With new defender Emmanuel Folarin finally receiving international clearance on the morning of the match for Kings, the management were handed a selection problem and his inclusion in the starting line-up meant Sam Tring was the somewhat unlucky defender to make acquaintance with the bench.
Another King to have a personally disappointing afternoon was Stevie Ward, who departed with a strain after 11 minutes, meaning Langley had lost a player in the first quarter-of-an-hour in two of their first three matches.
The visitors started with a high tempo and Mitchell Weiss had two shots on the run saved by Town’s keeper Kai McKenzie-Lyall in the opening ten minutes before Saints had their first sight of goal with James Hall shooting wide.
As the half-hour mark approached, a Kieran Turner cross from the left was headed straight at McKenzie-Lyall by Gareth Price, but a minute later a trademark diagonal cross from the right by Lee Stobbs was stabbed home through a crowded defence by sub Josh Coldicott-Stevens (who had replaced Ward).
After just three matches, Stobbs has now provided six assists, so it was a case of normal service being resumed!
Kings proceeded to dominate the rest of the first half, with a fierce Turner drive tipped over by McKenzie-Lyall being the closest they came to adding to their lead.
But the second period was a different story, as the Ives brought on Ben Seymour-Shove and looked a different team. Hall immediately missed a good chance for parity.
The controversy came in the 57th minute when Weiss cut inside at the by-line from the left to deliver a cross for Coldicott-Stevens to fire home. But ‘out of play’ was signalled by the assistant on the far right touchline and the goal was disallowed to the dismay of the visitors. And while post-match photography supported the claim that the goal should have stood, it was, of course, irrelevant.
St Ives took advantage of the let-off to increase the pressure on Kings and the goal that had looked to be coming duly arrived on 65 minutes when a left-wing cross was met on the volley by Seymour-Shove.
The emphasis had changed and Kings net man Kyle Forster tipped over a point-blank Dubi Ogbonna header as Langley found themselves holding on for a point. Ultimately, it was to be an attitude shared by both teams as Forster pulled off another smart save and Weiss shot just wide in the final minutes of the match, which probably merited the over-used ‘a game of two halves’ cliché.
Kings Langley: Kyle Forster, Gary Connolly, Callum Adebiyi, Emmanuel Folarin, Jorell Johnson (c), Dean Hitchcock, Lee Stobbs, Stevie Ward (Josh Coldicott-Stevens, 11), Mitchell Weiss, Gareth Price (Louis Bircham, 81) and Kieran Turner (Jack Waldren, 75). Subs not used: Sam Tring and Brendan Ocran.
Next up for Kings is a tough test in the league next Saturday, August 26, when they entertain unbeaten Kettering Town at Gaywood Park.
The Poppies, who are third in the young table, have triumphed in all three of their matches so this campaign and won 3-0 yesterday (Saturday) when hosting Basingstoke Town.
Langley are now in tenth place in the Southern League Premier standings and are themselves yet to taste defeat with two draws and a win from their trio of matches.