Kings Langley’s winless run stretched to a fifth game after they were beaten 2-1 at Hadley to leave them ninth in Division One Central of the Southern League.

The visitors went in front with a 12th-minute goal from Rayan Clarke but they were pegged back before half-time by Luke Alfano’s equaliser before a Jorell Johnson own goal sealed the points for the hosts.

It was also a day when the big moments didn’t go the way of Jordan Parkes’ men, starting in the eighth minute after being awarded a penalty when Rene Howe was tripped in the box.

However, Howe paused in his run up before beating the keeper from 12 yards and the referee deemed this to be a foul and awarded Hadley a free-kick.

Undeterred, Kings continued in the ascendancy and when a shot was blocked, keeper Luke Ward was left in no-man’s land allowing Clarke to steer the ball with accuracy into an unguarded net.

It was the wide man’s sixth goal in the last four games and the away side looked to be good for the points as their inter-passing football lit up a cold afternoon. But the Bricks regrouped and began a hard pressing game that was to put their opponents under constant pressure and ultimately win them the game.

Two successive efforts were blocked by resolute Langley defenders and a low fizzing shot was well saved by the alert Ronnie Sandford.

The crowd remained absorbed as Kings came back with a flowing move seeing Howe’s shot passing just over the bar, but the striker was soon to play no further part in the game when he succumbed to a worrying breathing problem following heavy contact to his ribs.

Kieran Patterson came on and provided a lively replacement, but Hadley’s willingness to chase everything down paid off when Isaac Stones found space on the left and his low, short cross was tapped home by Alfano, who was once briefly on Kings books.

The home side had the last word of the half when Jordan Edwards’ shot from an acute angle was finger tipped for a corner by Sandford and the teams adjourned with honours even.

The intriguing tussle continued after the break, with Kings matching their opponents at the pressing game in a good spell mid half, but the winner came in the 75th minute when Sonny French was controversially adjudged to have fouled Isaac Stones wide left and booked to add insult to injury. The ball was whipped into the box and deflected off skipper Johnson past Sandford for the game’s defining moment.

Langley were now chasing the game and from a corner Louie Collier executed a perfect volley that unfortunately for the visitors was straight at Ward, who knew little about it.

The wiles of the experienced Howe were sadly missed as an equaliser was pursued, but Hadley employed the press to the end and successfully managed the final minutes.