An off key Town get the Blues and fall to defeat on a grey day in Hertfordshire
Town fail to find the net on a damp day against lowly Kings Langley
Match Report by Kevin Hand, Photographs by Granty
Kings Langley FC v Stratford Town Saturday 27 January 2018 3.00pm Evo-Stik Southern Premier League at the CRY Community Stadium.
Kings Langley 2 Stratford 0 (1-0 HT)
* The King’s name is a tower of strength
A double for Matt Ball of Kings Langley was too much for Town on a dreary day in Hertfordshire. The home side had previously impressed in an away draw at Redditch, in the process recruiting full back Arjun Jung from their opponents. Town was short of Francis and Hancocks so Bako and Marsden joined Grocott in midfield.
The pitch was heavy but eminently playable and this seemed to play to the home side’s strengths of direct and incisive play. Town by contrast was less effective with its short passing game and the link play from Stephens to Taylor (on the left) and Ahenkorah (on the left) never quite convincing. Nevertheless, it was a gutsy performance from the ‘boys in blue’ and on another day there would have been reward.
The opening exchanges were dull but with Kings Langley bossing the exchanges. On 14 minutes neat play set up Kieran Turner who fired wastefully over the bar from just outside the box. Town responded with a Grocott free kick that caused consternation in the home defence. The ball was barely cleared when Marsden found Stephens in the inside left channel who fired home with aplomb. The assistant referee’s flag was quick to rule the ‘goal’ out for offside.
27 minutes nearly saw Town in front again. Grocott found Ahenkorah who cutting in from the left fired in a fierce right foot drive. The shot took a wicked deflection and goalkeeper Bennett scrambled to turn the shot onto the angle of post and cross bar and away for a corner.
The stalemate was broken on 35 minutes. On the slippery surface Town defenders were left floundering and Gareth Price scampered down the right before finding Ball 5 yards out. Ball seemed to take an age but eventually tucked the ball away for the opening goal. There was an immediate response from Town with Fry surging forward on the right. His low cross evaded everyone and in the ensuing mayhem Akenkorah followed up with a shot that was deflected for a corner.
Kings Langley’s lead was nearly double early in the second half. After a Thomas foul (and booking) Arjun Jung’s free kick deflected but was brilliantly turned aside for a corner by Connor. Town was to have just 2 further opportunities to restore matters in a dull game of football. A speculative cross from Ahenkorah landed on the Langley crossbar and in a short spell of pressure he was denied again when his shot was cleared off the line. By this time Summerfield had replaced Marsden to add some steel and drive in midfield. But it was all too little and too late and as the game opened up Kings Langley broke from their own half and Ball made no mistake one-on-one with Connor.
Kings Langley, then, were worthy winners with the Town boys looking understandably drained after Herculean efforts against Banbury, Hereford and Weymouth. It was the Town defence that stood out again with Connor, Fry, Gallinagh and Recci all impressing.
* The King’s name is a tower of strength. Richard the Third Act 5 Scene 3