Defensive frailties once again surfaced as Kings Langley let a two-goal lead slip as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Barton Rovers on Saturday.

Following the 2-1 defeat at home to Biggleswade in midweek, Jordan Parkes’ men looked like they were getting back on track after goals from Louie Collier and Rayan Clarke had put them in the driving seat with 20 minutes gone.

But a two-goal burst from Matt Maloney either side of the break ensured Rovers took a point to leave their opponents seventh in Division One Central of the Southern Division, balanced between the play-offs and mid-table mediocrity.

After a poor home run, it was felt three points were vital to keep on the edge of the play-offs and manager Parkes fielded a strong-looking side that featured returnees from long-term injuries Sam Murphy and Matt Hall, with Jorell Johnson switching to a midfield role.

With a point to prove after the poor display of four days earlier, Kings made a bright start, but had an anxious moment when former Langley player Cheyce Grant played in Taylor Rhiney, but the centre forward dragged his shot wide.

Almost immediately Temi Akinbusoye drifted wide right and surged down the touchline and cut in to pull the ball back for Collier who drilled a shot inside the near post to put Kings in front after 13 minutes.

The home side were to double that lead seven minutes later when the speedy Akinbusoye reprised his previous run and this time delivered a perfectly weighted pass across the face of goal. Perfect, in as much as it was just out of reach of two incoming forwards and three retreating defenders but ideal for the furthest player, Clarke to tap in at the far post.

Despite a Barton chance on the half hour, Kings were flying and pressed for a further cushion, mindful that if a 2-0 scoreline becomes 2-1, the whole complexion of the game alters.

And so it proved, as, with four minutes to go to the break, a free-kick just inside the half for a needless foul was recycled from the left and slotted home by Mahoney.

Any interval team talk probably went out of the window as the visitors equalised within 56 seconds of the restart with defensive frailties surfacing again when a poor clearance was hammered into the net by Mahoney.

Despite Kings’ increasingly desperate efforts to reclaim the points, that’s the way it stayed, although they did have the ball in the net from a flowing move in the 70th minute only to see it ruled marginally offside.