Kings Langley kept up their pursuit of the top two with a vital SSML Division One victory against a Harpenden side on the crest of six wins and two draws in their last eight league matches.
Determined to avenge their early season drubbing at Gaywood Park, Town went for it from the off, stretching the Kings defence, and Ant Ladyman pulled off a full length save to tip the ball round the post from the prolific Harry Hunt.
The home side seemed to be mastering the heavy pitch better than Kings – who seemed determined to keep it in the air – and it was no surprise when Town went ahead when Hunt robbed Dean Hitchcock and his low cross gave Mark Hitchcock a simple tap in.
Jack Johnson hit the post soon afterwards, but the interval arrived with Harpenden good value for their lead.
Kings changed tactics to an adventurous 4-2-4 and the visitors began to work their way back into the game with Nick Jackson coming agonizingly close with a shot on the run.
Then, after 65 minutes, came the vital breakthrough as Jackson had a shot charged down, immediately lofted the rebound to Danny Hutchins (pictured) on the left wing and his run to the byeline ended with a perfect low cross for Craig Preston to convert from close range.
As the game entered the last ten minutes, it was balanced on a knife edge, but the initiative had changed and Hutchins became Kings’ hero when he blasted a 25-yard free-kick into the far corner of the net past Matt Lord’s despairing dive.
Callum Adebiyi was solid in defence and Tom Carter impressed in the hole, but it was a win of character, ground out after not playing particularly well – exactly the credentials needed to win honours.