Kings Langley’s 17-game unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday night as Hertford Town ran out 3-1 winners against the champions elect.
Hertford raised their game against the runaway SSML Premier Division leaders, using Kings’ own successful tactic of intense pressure with pace and power from the start.
It was not against the run of play when Town took the lead as a cross from the right was volleyed home from close range by Kardan Campbell.
Town threatened to over-run their visitors, with Sam Ruff firing just wide, but Kings dug in and the runs of Mitchell Weiss and Lewis Toomey began to make an impact.
They were back on level terms in the 20th minute, when Ollie Cox lashed home the rebound after Harry Ricketts had parried an effort from Toomey.
Both sides looked for the next goal, but it was Hertford who restored their advantage when a free-kick from the home keeper caused consternation in the visiting box and Campbell blasted home his second strike of the game.
Kings resumed the second half with a period of pressure of their own, and a superb angled 25-yard rocket by young Steve Ward hit the far post and travelled back across the face of goal before being scrambled away to safety.
However, that proved to be the turning point as Louis Rose then gave Town a two-goal buffer from the penalty spot that an out of sorts Kings never looked like reducing.
It was a reality check, but Kings will look to put the loss behind them and take the penultimate step towards the title with a win at Biggleswade United on Saturday.