Kings Langley crashed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle, losing 3-1 at Hendon as they paid the price for a lack lustre first-half display that saw their high-flying hosts secure a two-goal advantage that they never looked like relinquishing.

Goals from Niko Muir and Matthew Ball put the Bostik League Premier Division side in command shortly after the half-an-hour mark. Although Callum Adebiyi reduced the deficit soon after, Dave Diedhiou was to restore the home side’s two-goal cushion by the break.

Hendon started much the brighter and their crisp passing on their familiar astro surface had their opponents stretched from the off; the lively Zak Joseph being regularly central to the hosts’ attacking initiatives.

Kings quickly reverted to a 4-4-2 formation in order to try and nullify the relentless attacking threat but it was to no avail as after 17 minutes Joseph chased a seemingly lost cause and deftly pulled the ball back to the in-rushing Muir to side-foot home.

Paul Hobbs’ men had the occasional moment in their sporadic sorties into the Hendon half with Callum Adebiyi, who worked tirelessly throughout, heading just wide from a corner and Gareth Price going close after an exquisite Michael King through ball.

These were rare moments in an opening period dominated by the hosts and it was no surprise when they increased their advantage in the 31st minute when Ball drove home after Langley failed to clear.

Kings’ problems were compounded when the goal also signalled the departure of striker Price through injury, with replacement Sam Tring heralding another enforced change in formation to 5-4-1.

The strike at least seemed to galvanise the visitors into a rapid response when a superb run by Stevie Ward set Kieran Turner free on the right and his pin-point cross was emphatically headed home by the marauding Adebiyi.

But the gap between the two sides was to stay at one goal only briefly as within five minutes the home side had restored their two-goal advantage when Diedhiou brilliantly headed home a Daniel Uchechi cross to complete the last meaningful action of the first half.

With everything to do in the second period, Kings started the half in enterprising fashion with ‘captain for the day’ Dean Hitchcock producing some penetrating distribution in his last match before a six-month sabbatical in South America.

For a time the visitors had the ascendancy but they could not force the vital breakthrough despite the strenuous efforts of King, returning to the club for a second spell, and some piercing runs by the irrepressible Ward.

That momentum visibly waned with the loss of Ward to injury just after the hour mark and although Kings strived manfully to reduce the arrears right to the end, the hosts remained resilient in defence to competently navigate their passage to the next round.

Kings Langley: Bennett; Connolly, Folarin, Johnson, Adebiyi; Turner, Coldicott-Stevens (Karagozlu 63), Hitchcock, Ward; King, Price (Tring 31). Subs not used: Hampton, Pattison, Plowright.