Kings Langley took a big step towards securing a play-off place after a man of the match performance from Rene Howe inspired his side to a first ever victory at Tiverton Town with a 2-1 triumph on Saturday.

The win, secured by goals in either half from Howe and Stevie Ward, opened up a six-point cushion over the chasing pack for Steve Conroy’s side with only matches of the regular Evo-stik Southern Premier Division South campaign remaining.

The visitors started as brightly as the sun above and were quickly on the front foot as they looked to impose their trademark passing game on proceedings.

Only astute attention by the home defence prevented Andronicus Georgiou, playing in an advanced forward position, from making an immediate impact.

The home side, however, are a strong force on their own patch, as recent victories against high flyers Met Police and Salisbury testified, and they were soon displaying their own attacking intent.

An incisive run by Josh Key culminated in a searching cross to the head of Stuart Yetton only for Kings custodian Alex Tocarczyk to thwart the experienced striker with a stunning save.

The opportunity heralded a series of dead ball situations from which the home side came close to breaking the deadlock on several occasions, but Langley's resilience paid off spectacularly in the 18th minute when a fine solo effort by Howe gave the visitors the lead.

The bustling centre forward picked the ball up on the edge of the box and superbly steered a low shot around his attendant marker and past Tivvy keeper Liam Armstong’s despairing dive.

Kings’ joy was shortlived though, as just three minutes later Tiverton’s prolific striker Levi Landricombe scythed a free-kick through a forest of legs to restore parity.

Langley responded well to the setback and an impressive run by Georgiou brought a flying save from Armstrong and ensured honours were even at the break.

The second period opened with both teams battling to gain the attacking initiative. Only prompt intervention by Jorell Johnson prevented Colwell scoring and then a mazy run by Lewis Putnam set up Howe but the burly striker opted to cross rather than shoot and the chance was lost.

Putnam was again to the fore when combining well with Connor Smith and Georgiou but again a good opportunity went begging.

The home side, too, were not without their moments and Key set up Levi Landricombe only for a timely intervention by the formidable Callum Adebiyi to deny Tivvy’s top scorer.

With the match looking like heading for a stalemate, Conroy introduced Rohdell Gordon - signed on loan from Royston on deadline day - and the speedy wide man made an immediate impact by setting up Georgiou but the shot was well saved by Armstrong.

However, the debutant was not to be denied a significant impact on the game. In the 79th minute he combined well with Howe to cross low for Ward, and for the second match running the talismanic forward was on hand to volley home what proved to be the winning goal and send Kings’ small band of travelling faithful into delirium.

Gordon then had his own opportunity for a scoring debut when, again, Howe was to the fore in setting him up for a chance which he screwed agonisingly wide.

A flurry of substitutions ensued as both managers looked to respond to the dynamics of the situation but despite some late drama, when the ever-predatory Levi Landricombe flashed a superbly executed overhead kick just wide, Kings held on for a vital win that saw them move a big step closer to a top-five finish.

Kings Langley: Tokarcyzk; Hitchcock (Coldicott-Stevens 87), Johnson, Adebiyi, O’Keefe; Ward (Weiss 83), Cook, Smith, Putman (Gordon 73); Howe, Georgiou.