Kings Langley went down 2-1 in a pulsating encounter at home to Hitchin Town in the Southern League Premier on Tuesday.
The Canaries, in green plumage, produced arguably the best all round team display seen by the Kings faithful this season to journey home with the three points in the bag.
Compact in defence, tigerish in midfield and pacy up front they had Kings hanging on to their tails for much of the first half, with Danny Boness athletically saving a Kyle Anthony back header and then being in the right position to hold a Robbie Burns gift chance.
The young keeper was in action again to tip a Burns header over, but the striker was ruled offside as Town turned up the heat with a succession of corners.
However, when wing back Kane Smith beat Connor Toomey at the flag to deliver a pin-point cross, Burns was on hand to fire them into the lead in the 25th minute.
The pace of the game was unrelenting, with Kings giving as good as they got in most areas, but they couldn’t find the final ball and were limited to an early Josh Hutchinson chance past the post and a thumping header against the bar from the same player as the half came to an end.
The restart saw the introduction of Jack Waldren on the left wing produce some opportunities, but Hitchin delivered a killer blow two minutes in when a corner was headed home by Brett Donnelly.
Kings refused to throw in the towel and gradually upped their possession ratio, putting the back three under serious continued pressure for the first time.
A Steve Ward shot was over from a good position and the surging runs of Emmanuel Folarin on the right were beginning to trouble the visitors, with a shot just past the post and another well held by Michael Johnson.
Josh Hutchinson was also denied by Johnson, but with four minutes to go, an intriguing encounter was set up for a grandstand finish as Folarin squared to Ryan Hope and the midfielder’s searching diagonal cross into a crowded box was met by the head of Hutchinson.
The home side threw everything forward, but the lifeline gradually slipped from their grasp as the back three dealt competently with the pressure and the final whistle brought the curtain down on a show that had not only been contested in an exemplary fashion, but given a large and appreciative crowd full value for their entrance fee.