Extra-time heartbreak for Kings in 11-goal clash

Mitchell Weiss in action for Kings Langley against Saffron Walden Town. Picture (c) Chris Riddell
Mitchell Weiss in action for Kings Langley against Saffron Walden Town. Picture (c) Chris Riddell

Ten-man Kings Langley went out of the FA Vase after extra-time in an incredible 11-goal thriller at Saffron Walden Town on Saturday.

Of the 64 ties on offer in the second round of the Vase, the clash between the two sides looked to be one for the purist on recent form alone.

Town had won a staggering 11 games on the bounce until a midweek League Cup slip, while Kings had won nine consecutive games and conceded only two goals.

Despite this, few could have predicted such an afternoon of high drama that ensured that the crowd of nearly 400 in Catons Lane were left to reflect on a game that will live long in the memory.

It was Kings who were out of the blocks the fastest, with Nick Jackson hitting the post after just two minutes as they had the better of both possession and attacking options.

They were rewarded after 14 minutes when Mitchell Weiss delivered a fierce shot that Floyd Croll could not hold to, and Jackson reacted quicker than the defence to rifle the ball home.

For the next 10 minutes, Kings continued to rule, but when Charlie Crowley was called into action with a tip round the post, the resulting corner saw Town defender Ben Lawrence rise highest to head in the equaliser.

Four minutes later, a long throw-in allowed an unmarked Craig Calver slotted the ball home to give Town the lead.

Nine minutes after half-time, an astute flicked through-ball saw Louis Harper steer the ball home, and soon afterwards Graeme Turner appeared to have settled the tie at 4-1.

However, Kings regrouped and got themselves back into the game when Alex Campana’s throw-in got Jackson in behind the defence to cross for Weiss to head in off the post.

Four minutes later, Connor Toomey delivered a through-ball to Jackson, who hit it on the volley over his shoulder and into the net for 4-3.

Just as they were beginning to build momentum, Langley were dealt a big blow as a ball into the box was adjudged to have been deliberately handled by Jack Pattison, resulting in what apppeared to be a harsh red card for the Kings man.

The penalty was duly dispatched by Calver, but Kings refused to lay down and stormed back to totally dominate the last 20 minutes.

Within four minutes of the set-back, a reverse pass from Weiss fell to the feet of substitute Daryl Atkins and the pace of his run saw him blast the ball past Croll with his first touch since entering the fray 40 seconds earlier.

Within another two minutes, a corner was swept into the Town box and Weiss pounced to make it 5-5 – silencing the home support and sending the small travelling faithful into ecstasy.

Kings pressed hard for a winner but Croll made two superb saves from Atkins in the dying minutes and then saw Weiss hit the post in the very last minute.

The afternoon finally delivered an almost inevitable moment two minutes into extra-time when an unnecessary foul outside the box saw the free-kick forced home by Jamie Solkhon to swing the pendulum in the hosts’ favour for the fifth and final time.