The opening match of Kings Langley’s new Southern League Premier campaign felt like a re-run of the final matches of last season.
Kings looked the better side on the road at Gosport Borough on Saturday, dominating for long periods, but they went home with nothing in a five-goal encounter, thanks mainly to defensive errors and missed chances.
There were debuts for keeper Garry Malone, defender Harry Tucker, striker Alan Fleming and substitute Davide Pobbe. Fleming was in action in the first minute, just failing to convert a Mitchell Weiss cross from the left.
The first 15 minutes was all Kings, as Callum Adebiyi and Weiss always looked dangerous on the flank and when Gosport’s first chance came when a cross eluded everyone, it was a pre-cursor to the hosts’ somewhat unexpected opener eight minutes later, as a poor Josh Coldicott-Stevens back pass was seized upon by Ryan Penneray to give Malone little chance on 23 minutes.
Kings responded with a low shot by Jacob Cook being tipped round the post by Gosport net man Mark Childs, but the hosts were to extend their lead on 38 minutes when Patrick Suraci accepted Arjun Jung’s header from defence to unleash a wind assisted cross-cum-shot into the far top corner.
The scoreline seemed unjust but was given a slightly fairer look when Kings were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box minutes later and Weiss drilled a low, left-foot shot though the smallest of gaps into the net.
The opening period of the second-half was to be a replica of the first, with Kings in the ascendancy, searching for parity which seemed inevitable. When Jorell Johnson found himself in space to execute a first-time close-range shot, that moment seemed to have arrived, but Childs pulled off a magnificent save, tipping the ball onto the bar, where it rebounded off the line into his arms.
Two minutes’ later, Fleming did well under pressure to get the ball central to Dean Hitchcock, but the midfielder’s shot went wide.
Childs pulled off further saves to deny Kings and the visitors’ misery was compounded when in the 82nd minute Patrick Suraci broke down the left, outfoxed Jung, Tucker and Malone to give Connor Hoare the easiest of chances to convert to make it 3-1.
In time added on a frustrated Adebiyi did what he’d been doing all afternoon with another rampant surge down the left and this time took it upon himself to finish in style, but it was all too late and the hosts played out the final minute for victory.
Kings were next due to host Harrow Borough for their first home match of the new campaign last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press.
They then entertain Taunton Town this Saturday.
Kings v Gosport: Garry Malone, Arjun Jung, Callum Adebiyi, Jorell Johnson (captain), Harry Tucker, Jacob Cook, Stevie Ward (Lee Stobbs), Josh Coldicott-Stevens (Davide Pobbe), Mitchell Weiss, Dean Hitchcock, Alan Fleming (Edu Toiny-Pendred). Subs not used: Elliott Godfrey, Louie Collier.