Kings Langley were brought back down to earth with a bump as they lost 2-0 at fellow strugglers Dorchester Town on Saturday.

It was hoped Kings would build on their excellent 5-0 victory over Hartley Wintney in their quest to climb away from the relegation zone, but they fell behind in the first half and were then undone again by a controversial penalty as they sought to get back on terms.

The visitors’ line-up featured two changes from the demolition of Hartley, with keeper Lee Axworthy coming in for his league debut in place of the injured Alfie Marriott and Arel Amu replacing the suspended Harry Crawford.

With the euphoria of Tuesday’s attacking extravaganza fresh in the memory, it was a surprise to see a fairly tentative start from Kings, with only the occasional incursion on the Magpies’ defence early on.

This cautious approach quickly allowed the home side to take the initiative and they were regularly stretching the defence with some enterprising attacking play. Those forays invariably featured centre forward Kieron Roberts and he remained a constant threat all afternoon.

Langley coped well with the advances in the main, but in the 25th minute Roberts latched on to a through ball and despite the close attention of two Kings defenders, the industrious forward squeezed off a snap shot which Axworthy did well to parry, but could not prevent the ball squirming over the line.

Langley upped their game after the setback but found a resilient home defence quick to cover the threat of danger. One or two Alfie Williams free-kicks did cause some anxiety for the hosts but generally Kings could not build any attacking momentum and ended the half still in arrears.

Manager Chris Cummins changed both the shape and the mindset at half-time as Kings came out for the second period looking a much more potent force.

Williams was at the fore of the resurgence by orchestrating things in midfield and one slick move he initiated saw a Jamie Jellis cross flash across goal requiring only the merest touch to ensure parity.

This close call was quickly followed by the visitors’ best move of the match when a smart exchange between Williams and Roddy Collins saw the latter set up Arel Amu. The striker’s low shot on the turn looked destined for goal until the faintest of touches by keeper Gerard Benfield diverted the ball just wide.

Just when Kings were at the height of their ascendancy they suffered the crucial blow of conceding a highly debatable penalty, their third in successive away matches.

Once again it was Roberts at the centre of the action as he barrelled his way towards the box with Kyle Connolly in close proximity. It seemed clear that any intervention by Connolly was well outside the area, but the bustling forward’s momentum propelled him to a prone position inside the 18-yard box and the referee took a sympathetic view, awarding a spot kick which Tom Soares converted clinically.

The controversial award was a hammer blow to Kings just when they looked like reaping some reward but they remained undaunted in their attacking endeavour and just a minute later only an incredible block by Magpies’ skipper Callum Buckley denied Williams when he looked certain to score.

The visitors battled to the end, but found the hosts in no mood to relinquish their hard won points, leaving them to reflect on a game of fine margins, which ultimately were the decisive factor in this closely fought encounter.