A display of resilience and determination saw Kings Langley grab a last-gasp 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing Kettering Town on Saturday.

Following the poor performance against St Ives Town, the display showed a welcome return of the traits which had been part of Kings’ make-up last season as late pressure led to Rene Howe putting through his own net in injury time.

With Steve Conroy confirmed as Langley’s new manager following his interim spell at the helm, the visitors got off to the worst possible start when Aaron O’Connor lashed home a Lindon Meikle pass after seven minutes.

That the wing move that started the build-up was several yards offside was irrelevant as Kings cleared their lines at least four times in the passage of play, but it was frustrating nevertheless.

However, few could argue the Poppies were dominating play, with O’Connor seeing a shot cleared off the line by Jorell Johnson and Martin Bennett blocking the same player’s shot with a smart save soon after. Meikle then had the defence at full stretch as fears mounted the visitors could be swamped.

Gradually though, Kings were growing into the game as the desperate clearances became more cultured and found outlets, the midfield began to weave patterns of passing and threats on goal began to materialise.

Town keeper Paul White had to pull off a good save from a Michael King shot after good work by Stevie Ward and a Johnson header from a corner was cleared off the line as the opening half came to a close.

And so it continued to no longer be a matter of how many second-placed Kettering would win by, but could lowly Langley snatch something from the contest.

The back four had grown in confidence and were coping well, the whole team were keeping their shape and sticking to the game plan, but in doing so had sacrificed much of their attacking threat.

King had a lone battle up front, with Mitchell Weiss too deep to be a threat, but they stuck to their task, undeterred by Howe hitting a post and a rightly disallowed ‘goal’ for offside.

As the clock ticked down into stoppage time, it was Kings still throwing everything forward and neat interplay between Arjun Jung and Weiss led to a corner, pushed behind for a repeat.

Elliott Godfrey swung the ball over into a pack of bodies and under pressure from Gary Connolly and Callum Adebiyi, striker Howe brushed the ball into his own net as the visitors snatched a late but deserved share of the spoils.

Kings Langley: Bennett; Folarin, Connolly, Johnson, Adebiyi; Coldicott-Stevens, Godfrey; Ward, Weiss, Ball (Jung 86); King. Subs not used: Tring, Gosling, Collins.