Kings Langley 3 Hanwell Town 3
By Clive Cooke
Travelling to meet high flyers King's Langley who came into the game on a run of seven successive wins, including a deserved 1-0 win the previous week at League leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds, such was our own good form that we were very confident of giving a good account of ourselves which is exactly what happened. Indeed, only a hotly disputed last minute goal by the home side prevented us from returning home with the three points.
Our side showed just one change from the side that had drawn 2-2 with Potters Bar the previous week, Joe Chandiram replacing Ahmed Mohammed who dropped to the bench alongside Tom Inch recovering from his injury, the again available Tom Kennedy, Gavin Childs-Cadette and Danilson Vicente.
From the outset we were on the front foot and could well have taken an early lead when Michael Buckley, today producing a performance more like the old Michael, sent a free kick swinging into the King's Langley penalty area. The ball reached Tom Duffy in an excellent shooting position on the far post but Tom's effort was weak and it was comfortably saved by the home keeper Xavi Comas. We took the lead in the fourteenth minute with a goal out of nothing by Bradley Simmonds, but a goal that will be remembered by all present for a long long time. Receiving the ball just inside the King's Langley half wide out on the right touchline and spotting Comas off his line, Bradley fired a great shot over the rapidly back pedalling keeper into the roof of the home side's net, a truly remarkable goal. Stung by this early reverse, King's Langley almost immediately equalised when the division's leading goalscorer, Mitchell Weiss, for what turned out to be the only time in the half, such was the display of Tom and Ryan Kinnane, created a shooting chance for himself but his shot sailed just wide of the far upright. However, King's Langley's equaliser was not long in coming. Oliver Duffy, dwelling on the ball, was dispossessed by David Hutton and he scored with an excellent strike across Martin Herdman into the far corner of our net. Two minutes later, Hutton was instrumental in the goal that put King's Langley ahead. Switching the ball quickly from right to left he found Matt Bateman in a one on one situation with Calum Duffy and Bateman held off Calum to drive a low shot into the corner of our net, much to the delight of the small batch of home supporters.
However, their joy was short lived as we made it three goals in six minutes through a tremendous volley by the hard working Tom Hunt, who lashed a great shot across Comas into the far corner of the home side's net.
King's Langley were forced into an early substitution when their Stephen Ward limped off to be replaced by Lorenzo Ferrari. The half finished with Tom Hunt being shown the first yellow card of the game when chasing back to dispossess Jack Stevens.
The talk in the boardroom at the interval dwelt on an entertaining half with four excellent goals and a hope for more to come in the second period.
Early in the half, Martin made a great save to turn Weiss's cross shot over the bar as King's Langley made the brighter start to the half. Seven minutes into the half, we replaced Simon Armstrong with Tom Kennedy who quickly became involved in an unfamiliar wide midfield role. King's Langley then missed a great chance to take the lead, a corner from the left found their centre back and captain Stuart Deaton unmarked on the far post but somehow he managed to screw his shot wide. Tom was the brought down on the edge of the penalty area but Joe Chandiram's free kick was weak and the chance had gone. Just after the hour mark, Tom was replaced by Danilson Vicente and he put us ahead with virtually his first touch of the ball. Another precision Buckley free kick was swung into the penalty area, a miss kick followed and the ball somehow found Danilson on the far post. For what seemed to be an age, he managed to get the ball under control before turning to fire a low shot through a crowd of players into the net.
Desperate to get back on level terms, King's Langley made another attacking substitution with Manny Duku replacing Jack Stevens and he was quickly into the action just failed to take control of an excellent through ball by Hutton. Both Ferrera and Bateman were dangerous out on their respective flanks but Calum and Lee Grace stood firm and as the game entered its ninetieth minute it seemed likely that the points were to be ours.
However, with Ferrera having seemingly run the ball out over the byline for a goal kick, a corner was given much to our chagrin particularly Martin who could have stopped the ball from going out of play. Worse was to follow as Hutton's corner resulted in an almighty scramble in our goalmouth. King's Langley's full back Emmanuel Folarin got the final touch as the ball was scrambled goalwards only for it to be cleared from underneath our crossbar by Tom Duffy. Nobody was certain if the ball had crossed the line or not other than Assistant Referee Jon Panconi who signalled that it had.
Ryan Kinnane got booked for his protest but the goal stood much to the delight of the home side. Tom suffered an injury in the incident and Ahmad Mohammed came on for the little time remaining.