Salisbury’s 2-1 loss at home to Kings Langley on the weekend was a tough one as the visitors’ delaying tactics and the referee’s inability to get on with the game clearly hurt Whites.
The home side repeatedly tried to turn up the tempo of the game, but had to restart several times, due to Kings Langley’s destructive game plan.
However, one can argue that a team of Whites’ calibre aiming for the top spots should be able to overcome such tactics and they had their moments to score but were unable to capitalise. They got sucked into it and paid the price.
Salisbury had a good build-up just minutes in and was rewarded a free kick that hit the wall. But little happened early in the game, due to the time wasting and the ref’s determination to have a chat after every time he blew the whistle.
The away side got their first goal on 19 minutes. Left winger Lewis Putman showed great skill to beat Whites’ new recruit Louis McGrory before he sent the ball into the box where Rene Howe could head the ball past Jake Hallett.
In an offensive move, manager Steve Claridge wasted no time himself and subbed McGrory off in favour of striker Luke Hopper, and Whites started to put pressure on the visitors.
Tom Whelan nearly got through Kings Langley’s defence on his own on 36 minutes, but was brought down, and later Darren Mullings had a decent header. But the result was in the away side’s favour after the first half, with only three minutes of extra time. (Could have been 10).
The 631 people in the crowd witnessed a reinvigorated Whites at the start of the second. Hopper fell easily just outside Langley’s box and was, unjustly, awarded a free kick.
Nevertheless, Lewis Benson hammered the ball into the net to tie the game up. It was clear that when the game was flowing, Salisbury had the upper hand and should have used their momentum.
Mullings had a shot deflected just wide, and Hopper and Benson had their chances as well.
On 71 minutes, Joshua Sommerton misjudged a clearance and Howe went one-on-one with Hallett, who did well to make the save and resolve the mistake.
The home side went straight back to attacking and kept sending balls into the box, but to no avail. Whelan tried to curve the ball from the left side into the right top corner, but the ball ended up in the stands. Kings Langley fought back however and their captain Jorell Johnson struck the ball wide from close range on 84 minutes.
On 89 minutes came the winner, as Josh Coldicott-Stevens’ stunning strike from outside the box sailed into the far top corner, surprising Hallett and probably himself too, and made it 2-1.
In a last-ditch effort, Hopper got his head on Chris Shepherd’s cross but the ball was narrowly saved on the goal line.
The loss caused Whites to drop to fourth place as Met Police won their game against Wimborne Town. Salisbury play their next game on Tuesday, March 12, when they host ninth place Farnborough.