A BEAST of a free-kick from Luke Hicks completed a flattering derby day victory for AFC Ludlow against Kington Town.

Hicks, a massive presence in defence as the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One table-toppers repelled a sustained spell of probing from the visitors, stepped up to unzip a spellbinding 30-yarder and rubberstamp a 4-1 victory in the final minute.

The goal made it a miserable afternoon for Kington keeper Zeke Vivian, who had conceded two free-kicks from Kieran Dovey in the first 14 minutes before being culpable in Ludlow’s third goal.

AFC boss Dave Cooper conceded: “We didn’t play particularly well and there were quite a few different opinions flying around the dressing room at half-time. But in the end, their keeper has made two brilliant saves but he has also gifted us three of the goals.

“Kington are one of the better sides we have played this season and I would have taken 1-0 so to win 4-1 having not played anywhere near our best must be a plus.”

Kington’s Brian Dyer squandered an early chance before Dovey gave Ludlow a two-goal cushion, his first free-kick eluding a deceived Vivian as he expected a touch in a crowded goalmouth and the second appearing to go under the keeper at his near post.

Kington strove manfully to get back into it and Mark Langford pulled a goal back on the end of a flowing move on 34 minutes.

The visitors then bossed large pockets of the second half as the rain and wind intensified, but they never managed to create anything tangible as a Ludlow back four that had Steve Brotherwood at right-back, and skipper Jack Beaumont switched to left-back, stood firm.

Vivian’s attempt to chip out a goal kick on 79 minutes only resulted in Kington losing possession and Jason Wellings, who had a good second half, crossed for Nick Layton to turn the ball into his own net.

Then came Hicks and his spectacular coup de grace, a goal some likened to David Beckham’s for England against Greece in 2001. It was possibly even better than that.

*LADS Club were held to a 2-2 draw by Bartestree and now trail leaders Ludlow by nine points with three games in hand.