Jets Pre-2012

Sunday July 1st 2012, Langton Green Fiesta

Group 1:

Jets 0 – 0 Tonbridge Angels

Jets 4 – 0 Rotherfield (Matt 2, Harry, Nutty)

Jets 3 – 0 Crowboro (Harry 2, Matt)

Jets 1- 0 Rusthall (Harry)

Jets 4 – 0 Chipstead (Harry 2, Nutty, Tom S)

Jets 0 – 4 Eastbourne oops!

Jets 1 – 0 Ratton Rangers (Nutty)

Jets 2- 0 Ridgewaye (Matt, Harry)

Semi Final:
Jets 2 – 1 Hove Riverdale (Nutty 2), golden goal in extra time.

Jets 1 – 0 Tonbridge Angels (Matt)

An epic 4 1/2 hours, with 10 matches, culminating in a successful defence of their ‘home’ fiesta. Just. Barely.

Last year the Jets kicked off agains an excellent Tonbridge Angels side and surprised them 1-0. This time the Angels were very ready and took the game to the Jets, coming closest when they thumped the Jets’ post. In the end both sides knew a draw was not a bad result, and that they had not necessarily seen the last of each other.

It took a while to find the groove but 7 very good goals were scored in the next two matches, as the midfield three of Matthew, Nathan and Harry created chance after chance on a very nice flat pitch, made for keeping the ball on the ground. The next hurdle was Rusthall who the Jets ‘thrashed’ 0-0 at the Rusthall fiesta, with the failure to score costing them dear. This time they scored early to relieve the tension, but again found it very hard to put a stubborn opposition away. A 4-0 win against Chipstead saw a debut goal from Tom Sarkesian who at short notice provided cover for Joe in goal, and much appreciated rotational rest time for the midfield 3 – Matthew was recovering from a 3 hour sojourn in Pembury hospital on Saturday night.

By this stage it was pretty apparent that the Jets were in a ‘group of death’ with 4 sides beating all the others comfortably. Eastbourne, Ratton Rangers and the Angels were all looking very impressive, and it would come down to the results between them. As the Jets watched, Ratton sneaked a late winner versus Eastbourne, which at the time was not the result the Jets thought they wanted. They walked out to play Eastbourne thinking a win followed by a draw with Ratton would be enough……and promptly got belted 4-0. Eastbourne were excellent, the Jets misfired, and the faster they tried to catch up the more they left holes at the back. Which meant…with no break between games it was a case of beat Ratton Rangers – the Crowborough League champions – or go home. It felt an unlikely proposition, but Nathan scored an all-world screamer from distance off the inside of the post, and it was game on. Ralph and Edward, with Joe behind them, may have had some peaceful games at the back, but this wasnt one of them. First to everything, and protected by an ever deeper midfield line the boys held out for a great win.

A frantic checking of results confirmed that a win in the final group game against Ridgewaye would earn a semi final place. Nutty and Harry both came close before Matthew settled the nerves with a fine goal. Harry added another soon after which meant he was promptly subbed to get a rest, and Matt and Nathan became centre backs, watching from deep as the all new midfield of Ralph, Tom, and Edward went in search of glory. Tom won a penalty which allowed Edward a crack at killing off his penalty demons. This time he did whack the ball, but it rattled off the cross-bar, so we have to assume Ed is saving his scored penalty for a bigger occasion.

So, semi final time, and the deja vu was getting thicker, as it transpired that Hove was made up of boys from the Uckfield side from last year’s semi final. They didnt seem terribly thrilled to have to play Langton yet again. However they outplayed the Jets, and scored a great opening goal. Despite not being the more rounded side the Jets never gave up, and in the last minute Matthew got a volley away that the Hove keeper could only parry, and Nutty’s long legs got him to the rebound a fraction ahead of everyone else. Extra time, and the golden goal was the format…and penalties looked inevitable with a minute to go, but then Nathan smashed a left footer home. Delerium. In truth the Jets had nicked it but there is no rule against refusing to go quietly.

And, as last year, the Jets’ tournament ended as it had begun, against the Tonbridge Angels. The Angels continued to pass well from the back, given some space by the Jets’ Spanish ‘no-striker’ formation, but as they tried to reach the Jets’ goal they were harried by the midfield, then faced Ralph who showed great positional discipline all day, and Edward judging his interceptions impeccably, whilst Joe covered his angles well. Just before half time a Harry long throw was flicked by Nathan, and the Angels’ keeper attempted to parry under pressure from Matthew. Best anyone can tell Matthew chested it over the line for the ugliest but possibly most precious goal of the season. So, a 1-0 lead, and no-one defends a 1-0 lead more tenaciously than the Jets. For all Nathan’s brilliance with the ball at his feet, his left footed shooting, even the tackling, perhaps his most committed contribution was to chuck himself in front of an Angel’s strikers volley to deflect it clear. Matthew headed danger away, Harry chased everyone, like a dog pursuing his favourite ball. And, then it was over. Winners, champions. After 10 games the boys mustered the energy for a celebration. They played their prettiest football early in the tournament, to get the points in the group that allowed them to get through by battling hard against the best of oppositions. After 4 years they finally lost their first game at Langton Green, but overcame that to remain the champions of their home fiesta for another year. Awesome.

May 26th Rusthall Fiesta, 2012

Jets 1- 0 Tonbridge (Nutty pen)

Jets 0 – 0 Rusthall

Jets 2- 0 Raw Skills (Harry, Matthew)

Jets 1 – 0 South Park Colts (Nutty)

Jets 0 – 0 Crowborough

Lost Penalty shoot-out 4-3

Under the Holmewood House banner the Jets came to Rusthall. It was a strange morning, as they went home without the trophy, having not even conceded a shot in the tournament. Barnes and Edward defended with good sense, whilst the Matthew-Nathan-Harry line chased the goals. On a sloping bumpy pitch on a windy day this was difficult. In the end the failure to score against Rusthall or Crowborough, mainly due to some amazing goalkeeping forced them into a shootout. Nathan, Matthew and Harry scored, but the two left footers did not,and despite Harry’s goalkeeping efforts it was all over. Their dominance deserved better!

May 19th 2012 Crowborough Fiesta

Jets 0 – 0 Uckfield

Jets 3 – 0 Rotherfield (Nutty 2, James)

Jets 1 – 0 Hastings (Matthew)

Jets 2 - 1 Ridgewaye (James, Matthew)

Jets 2 – 0 Eastborne (OG, Nutty)

Semi-final: Jets 2 – 1 Foresters (James, Nutty)

Final: Jets 0 – 0 Hastings, Jets win 3-1 on penalties.

Almost a year since their last competitive game the Jets reformed to have another crack at the Crowborough Fiesta this time in the u10′s. They lined up in an original formation: Joe in goal, Edward sweeping, Ralph centre back, then Matthew, Nathan and James across the midfield, with no striker. This gave them numerical domination in their half and in midfield, and more width than a regular 2-2-1.

They started rustily, dominating a 0-0 draw and missing chances. Matthew had the best chance to win in the last minute, set up by Nathan, but pulled his effort wide. Game 2 saw the rust shaken off. Nathan decided to beat everyone on the pitch to grab the lead, then added another goal as did James. Joe in goal, and Edward at the back enjoyed the view.

The defenders had more to do in game 3. Matthew stole the kick off and made it 1-0 after 5 seconds, after which the Jets protected their lead like veterans. Ralph grew accustomed to his role (with a little shouted encouragement fro the coach). Game 4 against a good Ridgeway team was a ‘lose and go home’ match so James’ goal was an ideal set up to park the bus and hold on. But it didnt work out that way as a break led to the equaliser and an uphill second half. With 3 minutes left Nathan set up Matt whose shot crashed off the inside of the right post and out to the left side of the penalty area….James hooked it back in and Matt banged it in this time. And the bus was reparked, 2-1.

The Jets needed a draw to win the group and started their final game cautiously. Then they were gifted an own goal, and Nathan iced the cake, 2-0, clear group winners. The prize was a semi final against a dangerous Foresters side. Despite dominating, and some near misses it was 0-0 at full time, and on to extra time. Matthew curled a shot from outside the box that was tipped onto the bar, Nathan got the rebound over the keeper and james tapped home. Soon after it was 2-0 as Nathan capped a great performance. With seconds to go Joe ‘oops’d’ a cross to scare everyone, but 2-1 was enough.

Waiting to see the outcome of the other semi final the Jets recalled last year, when they lost the final on penalties…this time they watched their opponents, Hastings Reds, win their semi final on penalties. Joe watched closely for clues, and Edward psyched himself up in case he had to take one again. when the final kicked off it was almost 1-0 after 5 seconds again as Nathan first-timed to Matt who fed James who put the ball just over. However the goal would not come despite constant pressure. Extra time came, and it was no different, all Jets, no goals. Penalties.

Hastings scored, Nathan equalised, hard into the roof of the net. Joe then stood a little to the right of the centre of the goal, which seemed to confuse the next kicker. Joe saved. Next up was James who scored a calm sidefoot (much calmer than his dad looked on the touchline!). Joe saved again. Matthew crashed his penalty into the post and Edward went white as he realised he was taking the last penalty. But then Joe repeated his trick, saving a 3rd in a row, and up stepped Ralph with a chance to win the trophy. No problem. The only question was who had the biggest smile, Ralph, his dad, Joe, his dad, or Edward!?

So, not bad for guys who hadnt played together since 2011! They were the best players and had the best fans. Nathan was man of the tournament, his mum won the cheerleading award, and his sister nearly died of embarrassment at her mum’s dance moves.

Jun 12th 2011 Rusthall Fiesta

Jets 0-0 Ridgeway, Jets 0-1 Raw Skills, Jets 1-0 Uckfield (Ralph)

Jets 0-1 Paddock Wood, Jets 1-0 Foresters (Toby, yes Toby , honestly Toby)

The final fiesta of our season saw the Jets go to Rusthall missing four of the six players who won at Langton the week before. Ralph and Edward returned, Joe debuted in goal, and Brodie stepped up from the under 7′s.

Unsurprisingly this was a very different Jets team to the one seen in recent weeks, and the first two games saw a 0-0 and a 0-1, in both of which the Jets had most of the chances. Brodie came close, and Matthew was thwarted in his attempt at goal of the season from the last kick of the match and it all looked a little grim, not least because old rivals Uckfield were up next. So it was time for an injection of youth, and the youngest and smallest team in the tournament got younger and smaller as William Allen made his entrance. I’m not sure what Uckfield made of it all but they rarely troubled Ed at the back as they played down the hill. And, after half-time Matthew took it to them with dribble after dribble. Then a left footed shot was too much to hold and Ralph was on hand to turn in the rebound. Uckfield chased the game and Joe made a great save with his legs before Matthew almost doubled the lead. And that was that….a win against the odds.

Sadly the next game saw territorial domination but no goals, and then a concession on the break. Then came Foresters who were unbeaten and looking to win the group. Not so fast as the Jets pressed and pressed. Just as it looked as if time would run out Toby moved forward and thumped home a winner. He didnt often score for the Jets, but his was the last goal!

Bizarrely the Jets went out having beaten both sides who topped the group. Plenty of glory under the circumstances, and a really great season.

Jun 4th 2011 Langton Fiesta

Group games:

1-0 (Matthew), 1-0 (Matthew), 2-0 (Harry, Matthew), 4-0 (Tom 2, Harry, Matthew)

6-0 (Matthew 3, Nathan, Tom, James), 4-0 (Tom 2, Nathan, Matthew), 0-0, 3-0 (Tom, Nathan, James)

Semi Final Jets 1-0 Uckfield, (Harry)

Final: Jets 0-0 Tonbridge Angels (Jets won 3-2 on penalties)

The Jets came into their home fiesta on a high having won in Uckfield the week before, but aware that this tournament was packed with teams who would present a challenge. We anticipated that the first game with Tonbridge Angels would be a big one – no-one realised how big at the time – so it was a great relief to start with a win as Matt headed home Harry’s corner. Thereafter the games came and went at speed, and the Jets acclimatised to the short format, always keeping ahead of the Angels in the group, never conceding a goal, and only once failing to score.

There were plenty of highlights, and some great passing. James was lonely in goal, but did score twice when he was released up the pitch. The prize for winning the group was a third match in three fiestas against Uckfield. Another clean sheet, and a Harry breakaway with a lovely chipped finish meant a final beckoned….against Tonbridge Angels again! This time there were no goals, though the best chances fell to the Jets. On the occasions the Angels got forward Toby timed his interventions perfectly, and James got his angles right…but penalties beckoned…again.

The format was instant sudden death. Tom, Matthew, and Nathan all smashed home great kicks before an Angel missed the target, and the Jets exploded with joy, hugs and cheers. They deserved the trophy, and it was great to receive it from Guy Lambert who had been a coach in the boys’ formative years. Somewhere on the wind i could swear i heard someone say ‘half a goal for a header’. Most of the boys joined Langton before they were five years old, and this was the first trophy on home soil they could play for. It was worth the wait.

May 29th 2011 Uckfield Fiesta

Group games, 1-0 (Harry) 0-0, 4-0 (Harry 3 Ralph), 3-0 (Harry, Ralph, Toby)

Quarter final : Jets 3-0 Broad Oak (Matthew 2, Ralph)

Semi final: Jets 1-0 Uckfield Blues (Matthew)

Final: Jets 1-0 Uckfield Whites (Matthew)

After the excitement the day before with the Zulus it was hard to imagine the Jets could match things for excitement…but by the end we were all emotional wrecks. In the early stages James Crombie and Ralph shared alternating duties as keeper and centre forward, though by the end of the day James had made the goalkeepr’s role his own. Edward was always the last man standing at the back, whilst Toby protected him, but played a more advanced role then has been customary. Meantime Harry and Matthew covered the whole pitch as relentless midfield workhorses.

The first game against Wealden saw a lot of territorial domination, but just the single goal. Game two versus Crowborough was a 0-0 as the boys didnt quite get into gear, and there some long coaching conversations about roles and the way to play. It came together in the third match as Matthew turned provider, and Harry helped himself to three thumping goals, and Ralph opened his account. Toby went in search of a goal of his own, and came very close more than once. This set up a final group game with Ridgeway with a win needed to top the group. Everything clicked as Harry and Ralph sealed the deal, before Toby crashed home the goal he has been searching for (for several years!).

As group winners the Jets faced Broad Oak in the 1/4 final and really turned on the style. An easy 3-0 was headlined by two goals from Matthew on top of Ralph’s opener, which set up a semi-final; a rules oddity meant the Jets started the semi-final game knowing they had to win to go through – a draw would count against them. This forced a committed approach, but also left them stretched as they pursued the win. The turning point was a long clearance that caught the Jets upfield. James came out bravely, and it was the centre forward who was left in a heap. The scare survived, Harry took a corner that Matthew smashed in off the underside of the bar, and from there the defence did the rest.

And so the final, a rematch against the Uckfield side who had defeated the Jets on penalties in Crowborough. Again the Jets knew the rules favoured the hosts, and that a draw would be no good. The first half was cagey. Neither side strung much together, and the clock ticked against the Jets. In the second half Uckfield only really threatened from distance, and were turned away by an outstretched James’ leg. Toby was pushed further forward, Harry covered every blade of grass, and then the ball broke outside the box to Matthew. Right foot, far top corner, and the biggest yell you ever heard from six boys, their parents, brothers, sisters, and supporters from the Comets and Meteors who had stayed behind to cheer.

Two minutes to hold on, or so it seemed, but Matthew had other ideas than holding on, and spent most of the time with the ball, making Uckfield chase him. They never had another shot on goal, and at the final whistle it dawned on everyone that there would be no penalties, no heartbreak, and this really was it. Everyone had given all they had, and proved that good guys do win. A fantastic day.

May 15th 2011 Crowborough Fiesta

5 Group wins, 3-0, 3-0, 2-0, 3-0, 2-1 (Harry 7, Nathan 3, Matthew 3)

Semi Final vs Broad Oak, 2-0 (Matthew, Harry)

Final, vs Uckfield 0-0 after extra time, lost on penalties

An amazing morning. Fabulous football took the Jets through the group stages. Harry, Nathan and Matthew shared all the goals, whilst Toby and Edward gave the oppositions barely a sniff. The passing and finishing was exceptional, and in a number of games Harry M barely got a touch of the ball. (we wont mention the Pevensey goal!)

Having finished top of their group the Jets went into the semi final, which they played without conceding a shot. Matthew stole a first half goal, Harry put the game away, and it was on to the final against Uckfield. Both sides had cruised to this last game, but now it was gloves off. The ball never quite fell right and so at 0-0 it went to extra time. Then came the best chance as Harry freed Nathan who squared to Matthew in front of goal; a great save by the Uckfield keeper, and it was on to penalties.

And, as every fan knows, the good guys never win on penalties. I suspect the Jets and Uckfield will meet again this fiesta summer.

March 19th 2011

Jet/Meteors 1 – 3 Wadhurst (Ralph) Jet/Meteors 4 – 4 Wadhurst (Ralph 3, Tommy)

A fantastic effort by the Meteors who played against a well organised wadhurst side with the bare seven players after losing their goalkeeper to injury late on Friday evening. Game one got off to a bad start and Wadhurst took advantage notching 3 early goals before half-time. It is to each player’s credit that they did not let their heads drop and indeed came back strongly in the second half with a well taken Ralph Lavercombe goal reducing the deficit to 3-1. Despite continued pressure Langton were unable to score again and thats how things finished.

Game two was really exciting, with nothing to choose between the two sides as advantage yo-yo’d between them… The Meteors took the lead through Ralph but unfortunately were pegged back by two powerful strikes from Wadhurst. However some great interplay from defence to attack restored the advantage with Ralph once again on hand to first grab the equaliser after good work from Tommy OB and Will Harris, and then to push the boys 3-2 ahead with a superb piece of individual skill to bag his hat-trick. However despite some great defensive work from Euan and Ed who were both outstanding, Wadhurst once again equalised and then took the lead with well taken goals. James Holley went close after a great run from Seb Piggott but it looked like Langton were going to miss out until another great passing move ended with Tommy smashing the ball home to equalise!! It was touch and go in the final minutes as both sides searched for the winner but the game ended in a well deserved draw. A fantastic effort by the Meteors and special mention to Euan,Seb,and Tommy who all bravely volunteered to take their share of the goalkeeping duties.

Sat Feb 5th 2011 Meteors 0 – 4 Ratton Madrid Meteors 1 – 3 Ratton Barcelona (William)

With the Jets on the road the newly formed Langton Meteors stepped in against well organised teams representing Ratton Rangers. They acquitted themselves incredibly well considering they have never played together as a team, and despite the necessary squad rotation, which impaired shape and continuity. The effort and hard work of every player without exception was outstanding; the results reflected their unfamiliarity with each other.

Game 1 was an even contested, but the Meteors came in trailing 0-1. The second half opened up and despite both James Holley and Ralph Lavercombe being thwarted by great saves from the Ratton keeper, the Rangers deservedly came out winners notching up a few well taken breakaway goals as the game went on. Special mention in this game should go to Euan Greenshields, who gave a man of the match performance bravely making challenge after challenge and surely preventing a wider losing margin, as well as Edward Sanders who gave a Captain’s performance in midfield with some fine tackling and distribution of the ball.

The second match was much closer and despite the losing margin, the boys were very unlucky not to have at least obtained a draw. Playing uphill in the first half, Langton started to pass the ball and create some decent scoring opportunities, with both Sebastaian Piggot and Ralph Lavercombe going close, before unluckily conceding a goal. However a lovely passing move from defence through to midfield then attack eventually saw William Harris slot the ball home at the near post to equalize before half time. Ratton began the second half on the offensive and only more great defensive work from Euan Greenshields and Max Beverley and some great goalkeeping from Harry Marshall stopped them from going ahead. The game then went from end to end and either team had chances to take the lead before Ratton smashed a rebounded save into the roof of the net to go 2-1 up. Tireless work from Ralph Lavercombe in midfield and attack, bravely playing on despite injury, another fantastic effort from Edward Sanders, and even some great tackling from Jack Raynor rejoining the game on pitch, couldn’t prevent Ratton getting a breakaway goal towards full time to take the honours.
Overall, despite not winning, a very commendable effort from the whole team which suggest great promise for the future. Also, despite some robust challenges from a generally larger team, the game was played in a fantastic and sporting spirit by both sides–well done!!

November 20th 2010 Jets 5 – 0 Wadhurst Wolves (Matthew 4, Toby)

Jets 5 – 0 Wadhurst Wanderers (Nathan 3, Tom, OG)

For the first time ever, yes, ever, coach Chris couldnt think of anything to moan about at half time. Or full time. The Jets were superb, from start to finish, from front to back, from left to right. Both games. Two good Wadhurst sides came to Langton, and both games ended 5-0, and in both games the Wadhurst goalkeepr played a blinder.

In game one the first goal was the exclamation point on the end of a devastating move….Ralph (from our penalty area) to Harry, Harry to Matthew, the full length of the pitch, 1-0. Up hill, in the mud, it was hard work, but the passing was a joy. Tom gave a positionally perfect performance in the centre, Edward and Toby won every tackle that moved, and Harry, Nathan and Matthew triangled their way around everything.

Down the hill the pressure was relentless. The second goal was again Ralph to Harry to Matthew, after which Matthew added two more from moves down the right wing. Safely ahead, the team was juggled, Tom went in goal, William came on up front, and Toby added to his increasingly less rare collection of goals. Excellence from start to finish.

The opposition in game two was arguably better. The early exchanges made it clear there was no room for complacency, and the midfield got stuck in. Then Matthew and Nathan combined for a beautiful one-two to take the lead. And they did it again for number two, which was great way to end the first half.

The second half saw Nathan complete his first hat-trick for Langton, after which Tom thumped home a volley that was just reward for his excellent morning’s work. He then took a corner that was deflected home. Matthew will wonder how he didnt score , whilst Toby and Edward pushed forward trying to add goals to their tackles. Ralph went up front and came close, which gave Nutty the chance to show off his goalkeeping skills.

Chris was frustrated. He couldnt think of anything to moan about. Just a brilliant brilliant morning of teamwork, tackling, passing and finishing.

November 6th 2010 Match 1 Jets Vs Paddock Wood 5-0

The Jets borrowed Tom Manuel from the Comets, and he played up front, supported by Harry, Matthew, and Nat in midfield with Toby and Edward protecting Ralph in goal. All was well contained at the Jets’ end but so was their pressure at PW’s, as the Jets struggled to get the ball over/round the defence to Tom. Maybe everyone had enjoyed Bonfire Night too much?

The amateur manager threw caution to the wind and allowed the defenders to push right up and it paid off at a corner from Harry which went past everyone in the 6 yard box to Toby loitering at the back post who shinned it in off his knees. Harry’s next cross in from the right (where he was very effective at finding space and losing their left back) was a corker and was met at the far post by Nathan, who was a good 3 feet off the ground, and with a long left leg (think Peter Crouch) slapped it past the hapless keeper. The next goal was a foray up the left from Matt who jinked through their line and nutmegged the keeper from close range. As promised with a comfortable cushion Ralph pushed up as striker in the second half and Nathan went in goal. The 4th goal was a great cross by Matt , and then Ralph half-volleyed into the top corner with astonishing aplomb. The 5th goal was a run up the left again from Matt from the half way line who unselfishly decided not to nutmeg the poor man again and instead pulled it back for Harry to thump in.

November 6th 2010 Match 2 Jets Vs Paddock Wood 4-0

Tom returned to the Comets and replaced Archie. The Jets had at last found their voices and were starting to talk to one another. This match was far more hard fought than the score line suggests. Unfortunately Paddock Wood’s coach had also found his, which was deafening on the touchline! Harry peppered the woodwork persistently but to no avail – their defence was stouter and their luck truer. The first goal came after some exquisite ‘pass and move’ down the right and into the corner by Nat and Harry which had their defence going in circles. Nat passed the ball into the box and Harry slid in to score. This then was immediately repeated with Harry this time electing to forego the pass and move and just go for the early cross, which was again to Archie’s feet who efficiently dispatched it low to the keepers right. The third goal was again from Archie when collecting a cross from Harry on the right. He hit the roof of the net with some force and the keeper breathed a sigh of relief that he’d got safely out of the way.
Second half and Archie in goal for Ralph. Nat/Mat/Toby in midfield and Harry/Edward at the back. Edward was more than a match for their occasional long, hopeful ball forward and returned the clearances straight back with attitude. He was enjoying himself at the back and couldn’t be coaxed further up field. The fourth goal was either Ralph, Matt, Harry, Nat, Edward, Toby or Archie …… can’t quite remember ! Ok…it was Ralph, the goalscoring goalkeeper again!

This was a much harder match and the sub-less Jets were tiring (PW had plenty of subs), however everyone played well to the last, and were gracious in accepting praise and returning the compliment to the opposition at the final whistle. A good day.

October 16th 2010

Jets 3 – 1 Pembury (William, OG, Toby) Jets 1 – 0 (James)

A reconstructed Jets, with four newcomers; moments before kick off the most nervous person present was the stand-in Gaffer, Jim Ponsford! Downhill with the sun behind them the Jets had to make an early impression to settle his nerves. They started the brighter of the two teams and were delivering the ball well around midfield but not pressing forward. Toby and Max (the back line) absorbed the pressure and pushed up towards half way, which released the two midfielders (Will and John (on loan from the Comets)) to the wings with their ‘target’ being James in the box.

In the end the breakthrough came from Will who, with a deft run in from the right decided to go for the goal rather than the ‘target’ and drilled one in low to the bottom right under the diving keeper. Smiles all round. Straight away spirits were lifted and after dispossessing them from the kick off we tried the same move again from the right. James had found his voice and wanted some service. This time Will’s pass went hard towards James only for it to be clattered in off two defenders. An own goal, but well deserved none the less, we had them outfoxed and on the back foot (too many metaphors).

Now on a roll and the Jets’ sweetest move came soon after with a cracking combination of quick ball out of defence from Max, to Will again on the right wing, onto James who was screaming in the corner. James slotted it perfectly into the box such that Toby, who was in acres of space and travelling fast, didn’t have to break stride as he thumped it between the keepers upstreatched arms. A beautiful move from end to end in half a dozen touches.

Then….overconfidence, napping, and no half time speech (or snacks) like Pembury had. They threw on their biggest men and came straight downhill. Their fresh legs showed, and they knocked one past Jeremy before anyone had got into gear. To be fair to Jeremy he had no chance to get to it as the defence had evaporated in front of his eyes. There followed a very competitive half with both teams having chances however having swapped the formation around somewhat to give the back a shooting chance we struggled to get forward. James had a couple of decent shots saved, both Will and Toby held the back line but left enough to keep Jeremy on his toes. An excellent half but frustrating after having dominated the first. 3-1 was fair enough.

Match 2. Back to Plan A. John was swapped back to the Comets for Ben who promptly announced that he was happy not to be striker as was a left footer and liked to be left back. Joy! He and Toby held the back whilst the team again tried to press the ball forward to James. Time and again it reached him but their defence was more organised this time and, having said that they were short of numbers, had turned up with 4 subs per team! To and fro they worked. They managed to get a couple of shots off at Jeremy (who was dealing with them well). Jeremy’s goal kicks were well placed but it was his kicks from the hand which were gaining us ground with one or two earning us throw ins right up towards their corner flag.

It took until the second half (and the return of James’ Mum to the touchline) for the break through to come. The Jets were quickest to break and James had stayed forward just enough to remain ahead of their retreating defence. He picked it up at half way from an early pass from Will, who had his wing under control, and charged at the goal with only one thought on his mind. He let loose from just inside the box and hit the top right roof of the net leaving the keeper standing.

Fatigue was showing and everyone dug deep. Max was given a clout (and was inflicted with a persistent stitch). Both teams had to use their forearms to keep the ball away from the opposition but were unable to take advantage of the resulting free kicks. Everyone ran themselves to bits and sat back and took the 1-0 victory. Excellent effort from everyone concerned – it showed that fitness and determination win through (and Jim learned to stick to Plan A).

September 18th 2010

Jets 7 – 0 Sevenoaks City (Harry 3, Matthew 2, Ralph, Edward)

Jets 6 – 0 Sevenoaks Town (Harry, Matthew, Ralph, Edward, Nathan, William)

Perfect weather, and probably the finest morning of the Jets’ brief careers, as all the passing came together. Nathan and (hat-trick) Harry dominated the middle of midfield, whilst Matthew tore Sevenoaks apart down the wing. A number of the finishes were very good, and some of the near misses weren’t bad either. Even the defenders relished the chances that came their way. Edward and Ralph scored in both games despite spending most of their time keeping the defence secure, and William H scored a debut goal.

The midfield three all scored with thumping shots. Perhaps the best of all was Nathan’s left footed curler – great technique. And, finally, spare a thought for Toby, who gave Sevenoaks nothing, passed well, made runs, but was the only Jet who couldnt find a goal. He will.