A first-half goal from Will Hoskins was enough for Kings Langley to maintain their positive momentum, although they were made to hard work for a 1-0 victory over Stratford Town.

Although Kings remain 14th in Southern League Premier Central following Saturday’s triumph, it extended their unbeaten run in 2020 to a sixth game in all competitions and ensured they have won six of their last eight league matches.

Lloyd Doyley joined Gary Connolly and Stevie Ward on the injury list, meaning former Hitchin Town defender Alex Anderson started at right-back, but otherwise boss Chris Cummins named an unchanged starting line-up from that which beat leaders Bromsgrove Sporting in their previous outing.

The first chance fell to the home side in the 13th minute when Hoskins slid in at full length to meet a Mitchell Weiss cross, only to see the ball and his body shave the wrong side of the far post.

As Kings continued to pose the questions, Callum Adebiyi thundered a volley from a Harry Crawford centre just over the bar, but a rare slip in the Langley defence presented Muhammad Sebbeh with an opportunity to hit a stinging shot from the edge of the box that was met by a spectacular flying save from Melvin Minter as he finger-tipped the ball around the post.

The approach play of both sides was good, but defences ruled until Kings were awarded a free-kick on the right. Jordan Parkes delivered the cross, Adebiyi headed it back across goal and Hoskins found the yard of space he needed in a crowded box to smash the ball high into the net from close range.

The striker was to be denied a second on the verge of the break by a good save from James Pardington, but Town came out for the second half in a more determined frame of mind and a snap-shot from their hitman Dan Sweeney showed their intent.

Pardington produced his own spectacular save when Roddy Collins hit an accurate volley from outside the box and then a Parkes party trick had the keeper scrambling back to avoid embarrassment.

The home side’s approach play was as good as against Bromsgrove, but ironically they found the basement boys defence a far harder nut to crack than the league leaders and they were almost made to pay with seven minutes to play.

Reece Flanagan won the ball on the Town right and sent over a superb cross to the almost unmarked substitute Leam Howards, but his close-range header was wide of the post.

The victory leaves Kings 10 points outside the play-off, but now within touching distance of the two sides they face next, 13th-placed Barwell on Saturday and Biggleswade Town, in 12th, on Tuesday, February 4. Langley have home advantage for both matches.

Kings Langley: Minter; Anderson, Johnson, Adebiyi, K Connolly; Hitchcock (Linsell 76); Weiss, Collins, Crawford (Lamboh 90), Parkes; Hoskins (Williams 66).