King Langley survived an eight-goal thriller to advance to the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy after beating
Phoenix Sports 5-3 in an action-paced clash on Saturday.
There was an explosive start to the tie that had the relatively small crowd at Phonix’s Barnehurst home on the edge of the seats at half-time, by which time there had been two penalties awarded, three cautions and seven goals.
With five players out, Kings boss Chris Cummins went for a 4-1-4-1 formation, switching Charlie Pattison to right-back and installing Louie Collier for his first start since January.
The game was barely a minute old when an exchange of passes down the left between the hosts’ Kehinde Aileru and Lewis Clark resulted in the latter’s cross being firmly headed home by Phoenix skipper Jack Hopkins.
But home euphoria lasted exactly a minute as Louie Collier delivered a low cross that Kane Farrell reacted to first to beat keeper Steve Phillips.
The Isthmian League South East side’s response was slower – three minutes this time – as Kings’ keeper Melvin Minter was tempted into no-man’s land by a home pass to Ben Allen on the right and the young winger conjured up an unlikely goal with an impressive lob of the back-pedalling stopper from an acute angle.
The action switched to the other end and Stevie Ward was brought down by a clumsy challenge in the box, but Phillips guessed correctly to save his penalty.
Jack Hopkins was then fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a ferocious challenge on Kane Farrell.
Parity was restored on 14 minutes when a Farrell ball put Louie Collier one-on-one with Phillips and his finish across the keeper was coolness personified to make it 2-2.
Kings went ahead for the first time three minutes’ later when a corner from the ubiquitous Farrell was met by a superb glancing header from Mitchell Weiss to make it 3-2.
All this and there was only just over a quarter-of-an-hour played.
By those standards, there was a relatively quiet period until five minutes before the break, when Farrell completed a hat-trick of assists with a diagonal forward ball to Weiss, who beat Phillips via a deflection off Clark for a 4-2 edge.
The home side refused to be overawed and again brought themselves back into touching distance on 42 minutes with a powerfully converted penalty by Harry Harding after Roddy Collins was adjudged to have brought him down in a tussle.
The second-half resembled a normal game after that.
Callum Adebiyi and Kane Farrell cleared off the line to bail out a Kings’ defence that still looked vulnerable at times.
Weiss missed a chance for a hat-trick, but few other incidents occurred until substitute Max Hercules kept the ball in play down the left, slipped it to Kyle Connolly and blasted home the return ball on 77 minutes for a 5-3 lead to finally settle an absorbing and entertaining encounter.
The FA Trophy draw on Monday saw Kings given an away tie to Southern League Premier South teams Salisbury or Dorchester Town, who were due to play a replay last night (Tuesday).
In midweek, Kings went down 2-1 at home to Leiston in the Southern League Premier Division Central. Clearly struggling from a reaction to their FA Cup exit the previous Saturday, Kings slumped to a humiliating home defeat against bottom side Leiston, who picked up their first away win this term with a battling performance.
A glancing Ward header from a Harry Crawford cross gave Kings the lead on 25 minutes but the visitors responded through Harry Knights’ thunderbolt from 12 yards on 36 minutes and Will Davies finishing off a long ball with quick feet on 81 minutes.
This Saturday Kings, now in 15th place, visit bottom-but-one side Redditch United.