Copyright Roger Elliott
Salisbury FC 1 Kings Langley 2
Evo-stik South Premier South
Saturday, 9 March 2019
By Alec Hayter
I feel cheated, and a score of 2/5 for entertainment in my Non League Paper report will indicate that the feeling comes not so much from the performance and result, but from the way the game panned out from as early as two minutes in, when blatant time wasting tactics went unpunished. The statistics count doesn't help either with the visitors receiving six yellow cards, but had sterner and earlier action been taken, that number would probably not have been necessary, and we all may have benefited from a close encounter of the best kind and not what we received. The referee did not lose the game for us, but the visitors’ tactics were made easier to implement.
The first 45 minutes was pretty non-descript, the Whites failing to find the intensity necessary, and an even more necessary goal where opponents arrive with such tactics, but all seemed possible when on four minutes Jack Sparkes sent a freekick only just wide of the upright.
Things took a turn for the worse, however, on 17 minutes when Kings Langley's Callum Adebiyi clumsily shoved Dan Fitchett in the box but referee Small took no action - he may not have seen the incident and I missed it but was advised later - and worse was to follow when, in the only real piece of quality shown by the visitors in the first half they took the lead on 19 minutes. The lively Lewis Putman shrugged off a challenge from new boy Louis McGrory and delivered a searching cross, the experienced Rene Howe heading the ball back across into the corner past Jake Hallett.
At that stage there was certainly no need to panic and for the rest of the half there was precious little threat from Kings. On 36 minutes Tom Whelan's surging run through the middle of the visitors’ defence saw him crowded out, the ball deflecting just wide, and six minutes later Matt Partridge's cross saw Darren Mullings arrive at the near post, but he could not direct his header and so Kings Langley retained their slender advantage at the break.
There was more urgency about the Whites after the restart however, and on 52 minutes Lewis Benson pulled the ball back to Whelan whose right foot effort was again deflected. On 52 minutes however, it was all square, and again the referee appeared to get it wrong (thankfully this time!) when he awarded a free kick to the Whites and cautioned Adebiyi, whereas maybe it should have been Luke Hopper going into the book. However, Salisbury made the most of it and Benson sent an unstoppable free kick into the corner past a static Alex Tokarczyk.
Lewis leathers the free-kick.....and is quite (!) pleased! - Copyright Roger Elliott
Four minutes later the first of two good chances arrived, firstly when Mullings narrowly missed the target with a left foot finish and then when Hopper should really have done better from the edge of the box.
The visitors flickered briefly again on 64 minutes when Dylan Switters found himself with time and space some distance out, but sent his effort tamely wide without troubling Hallett. The Whites responded when Whelan played in Benson, but the ball seemed to get stuck under Benson's boot and he was forced to cut back before sending a left foot effort at the keeper.
On 67 minutes, the Langos sprang to life for another short period, with Hallett being forced into a good save from Steve Ward's diving header, and then Jorell Johnson heading high.
Hearts were in mouths as on 71 minutes Josh Sommerton misjudged a long clearance and the ball was picked up by Howe, the experienced striker being left to bear down on Hallett. The keeper was equal to the challenge however and brilliantly denied him.
Tom Whelan crowded out. - Copyright Roger Elliott
It was then Salisbury's turn at the other end, when Whelan cut back onto his favoured right foot, but launched his finish disappointingly over the top from 8 yards, and Kings Langley drew inspiration from that with Mitchell Weiss going close on 73 minutes and then 11 minutes later, Johnson missing the best chance of the half when firing wide from four yards.
On 89 minutes substitute Josh Coldicott-Stevens plundered the winner with a 25 yard dipping effort that deceived Hallett and probably surprised the Kings man as well , and in spite of two further Whites’ chances for the Whites, firstly, an Elliott Wheeler header, and then Hopper seeing his header cleared off the line by the keeper, the Hertfordshire side returned home with perhaps more than they had expected.
Not even seven minutes of added time could save the day, and why only three minutes were added to the first half remains a mystery, when a similar allowance would have been more like it.
The Whites must go again on Tuesday, and they’ll be looking to you to come again. Please do.
Salisbury FC: Hallett, McGrory (Hopper, 27), Sommerton, Whelan, Wheeler, Partridge, Benson, Dawson (Shephard 81), Fitchett, Mullings, Sparkes.
Subs not used: Herbert, Downing, Rayfield.
Kings Langley: Tokarczyk, Connelly, O'Keefe, Johnson, Adebiyi, Switters, Ward (Hitchcock 90), Cook, Howe (Caldicot Stevens 81), Weiss, Putman (Osborne 90+6).
Sub not used: Collier.
Attendance: 631 Referee: B Small (Bognor Regis)