Kings Langley slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Southern League Division 1 Central table toppers St Ives Town on Saturday, writes Roy Mitchard.
A heavy pitch, cold gale force winds and intermittent rain conspired to ensure that this contest between two of the form teams in the division was not a classic, but it was St Ives who mastered the conditions the better and edged home to keep their lead at the top of the table.
Determined not to be caught cold at the start for the second week running, it was Mitchell Weiss’ through ball and Lorenzo Ferrari’s low cross that had the home defence hooking it off the line after just 15 seconds and this was followed by some surging left wing runs by Callum Adebiyi as Kings enjoyed the better of the opening period.
It was the hosts, though, who took the lead on 19 minutes when Jared Cunniff picked out Scott Sinclair and the winger provided an acrobatic volley to register a very good goal.
Minutes later, the goalscorer stung the palms of Ant Ladyman and Kings were pleased to clear the danger from the resultant scramble.
The impetus was now with St Ives, who defended well and relied on speed on the counter-attack to ensure that central defenders Stuart Deaton and Manny Folarin would receive any plaudits going for the visitors, while their midfield was quick to close down and deny space.
Kings joined in the long ball game, but found it difficult to judge in such conditions and when they did play on the ground they were constantly thwarted by a well organised defence.
However, they did come close to an equaliser when an off-target Mo Shariff shot took a wicked deflection off a defender and Tim Trebes pulled off an outstanding tip the ball over the bar.
As Kings continued to press, St Ives broke from defending a corner in the last few minutes to deliver the ball to Cuniff, in a suspiciously offside position, who went on to beat Ladyman and put the result beyond doubt.
The hosts deserved the victory, though, while Kings have to find a way of taking their home form on their travels after this third consecutive away defeat.
The loss leaves Langley seventh in the Division 1 Central table, seven points adrift of high-flying St Ives.
Next up for Kings is a home fixture against Beaconsfield SYCOB at Gaywood Park on Tuesday evening.
They then head to Aylesbury on Saturday afternoon for a 3pm kick-off.