Lloyd Doyley delivered a last-gasp winner and broke Hitchin Town’s hearts as Kings Langley kicked off the new decade with a 1-0 triumph at Top Field on New Year’s Day.

The Watford legend was in the right place to net the only goal of the game in the fourth minute of injury time after Canaries goalkeeper Charlie Horlock had been unable to hold an angled drive from Mitchell Weiss.

The win saw Chris Cummins’ side recover from their narrow Boxing Day defeat to Royston Town and leaves them 14th in the Southern League Premier Central table going into Saturday’s home clash with Nuneaton Borough.

Both sides started at pace, but soon slowed on a heavy pitch and as the match developed, seemingly decided they could not trust the surface, resorting to keeping the ball in the air for as long as possible.

The first chance fell to home striker Stephen Cawley, who should have done better with an effort past the post, before Kings responded with a Saul Williams deflected shot and follow-ups by Stevie Ward and Weiss blocked.

Weiss brought a fine save out of Horlock soon after and a promising move between the striker, Williams and Ward came to an end in the arms of the home side’s keeper.

Hitchin were having as much possession, but were also lacking a cutting edge, emphasised by their best effort coming from a deflected drive by centre-back Joe Gauge, although Doyley later had to make a superb saving tackle to preserve the status quo.

The Canaries anxiety had resulted in two bookings for poor tackles in the opening period and their habit of berating the official came home to roost 13 minutes into the second half when Ben Walster received his second yellow for a verbal outburst following a decision on a minor incident.

Kings could have taken immediate advantage, but Weiss elected to square the ball when through and the recipient, Williams, did the same and the opportunity was gone.

As is often the case, the 10 men responded by upping their game and a sustained period of pressure was finally ended by a superb save from Melvin Minter.

The match, which had struggled to rise from the ranks of the mundane or entertain the crowd, was not helped by the official having decided that he’d had enough and getting on to Langley’s case by carding three Kings and two more Canaries for minor incidents, accompanied by minute-long lectures to each.

The visitors had gradually upped the tempo as the 90 minutes ground to a conclusion and a Jordan Parkes cross only needed a touch for the winner, but the same could be said for a Bradley Bell cross at the other end a minute later.

Still Kings poured forward, but with the clock signifying that four of the five extra minutes had been played, a goalless draw seemed the inevitable outcome. Then Louie Collier received the ball in the inside left position and slipped a diagonal wing pass to Weiss. Although the angle was acute and the box well populated, this time the striker chose to shoot and his powerful drive was blocked, but not held by Horlock. The rebound fell virtually at the feet of Doyley and the right back converted with ease to seal the three points and break Canary hearts

Kings Langley: Minter; Doyley, Adebiyi, Johnson, K Connolly; Collins, Hitchcock; Ward (Linsell 64), Williams (Collier 80), Parkes; Weiss. Subs not used: Studley, Anderson, Lamboh.