Top of the table Kings Langley strolled to a 6-1 win at Pancake Lane in Saturday’s SSML Premier Division derby clash with Leverstock Green.
Leverstock faced a goalkeeping crisis with Kieran Jimmy unavailable and reserve keeper Jordan I’Anson suspended, so Liam O’Keefe stood in between the posts, and his performance could hardly be faulted given the visitors’ clinical finishing.
Leverstock started the game well, and took the lead in the second minute.
Callum Wright floated in a free-kick, and Gareth Long headed the ball down towards the bottom corner. Keeper Charlie Crowley scooped it away, but the linesman adjudged that the ball had already crossed the line.
It should have been 2-0 in the 10th minute when Wright’s quickly-taken free-kick gave Billy Smith a run at goal to square for Danny Arnett, who slid in from close range but put the ball over the bar.
Leverstock were made to pay for the miss two minutes later when Alex Campana won the ball on the left edge of the penalty area and drilled home a shot from a narrow angle.
O’Keefe did well to tip over an effort from Daryl Atkins on 24 minutes, before saving Luke Ladyman’s header from the resulting corner.
Six minutes later, a pass from Tommy Walsh gave Smith another chance to run into the box, but he was denied by a well-timed tackle.
At this point was game was evenly-poised, but on 32 minutes Kings Langley took the lead and never looked back.
A cross-field ball from Connor Toomey found Campana, who did the rest, beating two defenders and shooting home from just inside the box.
Five minutes later, Campana turned provider as he squared for Atkins to finish from close range, and Atkins shot home the fourth a minute before the break after a free-kick wasn’t cleared.
Leverstock made three changes at half-time, but any hopes they had of turning things around were extinguished with barely a minute of the second half played as Langley broke quickly and Nick Jackson blasted home a shot from the edge of the six yard box.
The visitors took their foot off the gas after that, and Leverstock enjoyed some spells of possession in the opposition half without creating any real chances.
Eventually Langley added the sixth goal a minute before the end as substitute Jack Johnson ran clean through to score.
The victory ensures that Kings enter 2015 at the top of the tree and three points clear of the chasing pack.