A devastating burst of three goals inside six first-half minutes condemned Kings Langley to a 3-1 defeat at home to Bedford Town on Saturday.

When the two teams met in October, the battle between the top two in Southern League Division One Central ended with honours even.

The form of both has been patchy since then but it was the Eagles who ended a poor run, getting back to winning ways after they had opened up a three-goal lead by midway through the opening period.

There was some sad pre-match news for the hosts after it was revealed that keeper Ronnie Sandford had suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the previous week’s game at Cirencester Town.

Sandford was 55 minutes from the end of his final game before returning to Milton Keynes Dons as his loan expired and it is a huge blow for the popular teenager who performed so well over his ten games with Kings.

Watford Observer: The Bedford keeper is beaten by Collier's second-half strikeThe Bedford keeper is beaten by Collier's second-half strike (Image: Micah Ricketts (M Rich Photography))

Boss Jordan Parkes named a completely unchanged side, including substitutes, a somewhat rare event anywhere these days and the match had an edge to it from the start.

When Anthony Ball attempted to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, he was catapulted into the railings by his opponent. Foul and caution? Not according to the official, who awarded a corner.

This was the cue the six footers in the Eagles defence to surround keeper Juliusz Pazio and Shane Bush to head home almost on the goal line in the 17th minute.

Almost immediately, Lynton Goss pounced on a shot that came back off the post and when Pazio punched a corner clearance straight onto the head of Leon Lobjoit, the contest was effectively over with just 23 minutes gone.

Kings steadied the ship from then on and restored some pride in the second period with Louie Collier reducing the arrears with a shot through the keeper’s legs after Isaac Pedro’s effort was blocked, but a spirited finale was unable to breach a solid defence again and the hosts could have no complaints at the final whistle.