Kings Langley turned in a decidedly below-par performance at playoff contenders Royston on Saturday, showing only sporadic glimpses of their recent good form in a 4-0 reverse.
Kings featured two changes from the starting line-up that had secured a creditable draw at Banbury last time out with David Femiola coming in for a first start in place of the injured Max Fraser and Josh Coldicott-Stevens returning in midfield.
The hosts’ last outing had been an away defeat to Kings and they were clearly in the mood to avenge that result.
The early home pressure generated several dangerous chances but last-ditch defending and competent keeping by Martin Bennett initially kept the hosts at bay.
But a breakthrough was looking increasingly inevitable and it duly arrived on 17 minutes when Adam Marriott bundled the ball home from a cross.
Kings almost restored parity when a superb header by Mitchell Weiss was blocked on the line but this turned out to be a rare highlight for Kings.
Only a brilliant goal line clearance from Jorell Johnson kept Kings in the game as the hosts finished the half in the ascendancy.
The introduction of Steve Ward in the second period increased Kings’ attacking potency and from one of his trademark dribbles Claudio Ofosu brought a great save out of Josh Tibbetts.
Alas, Kings’ renaissance was short lived as minutes later, following a short corner, Dan Braithwaite was on hand to tap the ball home after Kings failed to clear to make it 2-0.
In the 65th minute the result was put beyond doubt when Marriott scored his second of the match with a great low drive into the corner which gave Bennett no chance for 3-0.
There were brief cameos for youngster Harrison Kenny and Gareth Price from the substitutes bench as Kings sought to salvage something from the game but despite their best efforts it was the hosts who produced the last significant action of the match.
Fittingly, it was the industrious Rohdell Gordon who provided the finale.
The pacey wide man cut in from the left and fired a low shot into the left-hand corner of the net to complete an impressive individual performance and put the icing on the cake of a thoroughly deserved 4-0 victory, leaving Kings to reflect on a bad day at the office.
Kings, still in 21st place and in the bottom-four of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier table, this Saturday travel to Somerset to take on tenth-placed side Frome Town.