Giants 2016 - 2017

Langton Green Giants end of season stats.

Kent Youth League Central Division - 5th Place
Tournament Cup Winners - Langton Green and Whyteleafe
Tournament Plate Winners - Lewes Bridge View, Langton Green (playing up a year)
Tournament Cup Runners Up - Ridgewaye & Jarvis Brook (both playing up a year

Total match statistics all competitions (league, cup and summer tournaments):
Played: 99 Won: 54 Drew: 24 Lost: 21 Goals for: 197 Goals against: 113
Alfie 38. Simba 34, Brodie 16, James D 16, Bertie 13, Elliot 12, Pepps 12, Rudy 9, Jack P 8, Ollie 7, Jed 2, Eddie 1, Alf 1, Luca 1, others 20, Own Goal - 2.

Saturday 8th July - Lewes Bridge View Tournament

The Giants win the plate!!

So our last football of a long summer season on what turned out to be a very hot day. Already short of several players due to school sports day commitments we then suffered a double blow before we'd even kicked a ball when we lost one more to a bit of date confusion and then Connor was feeling very poorly which meant he was only able to play in 3 of the games. All this left us with 5 players, but we were bailed out by our good friends the Phoenix who lent us Owen for the afternoon. Talk about thrown in at the deep-end, within 2 minutes of finding out he was going to be playing for us he was on the pitch against the national champions, Hove Rivervale! Despite the somewhat disjointed preparation for the game and the illustrious opponents (they were brilliant to be fair) we gave them a good game and had chances to equalise their only goal but it wasn't to be. It was just a pity we played them first match, it would have been good to play them again a few games later once we'd found our feet. Unfortunately with the slightly unorthodox format of the competition, this defeat pretty much instantly put us out of the cup competition as only the top team would progress and this opponent clearly weren't going to lose to anyone (spoiler - they didn't and won the whole thing comfortably). As the day went on though the boys grew into the competition and won all but one of their remaining group games, drawing the other, which saw them finish 2nd, which would normally put you through to the cup competition, but not today so we had to make do with a run at the plate. Despite totally dominating the semi final and creating chance after chance, we somehow failed to net in the semi-final but miracle of miracles, WE WON A PENALTY SHOOT OUT. I repeat.... WE WON A PENALTY SHOOTOUT. Only our second shootout win in 8 years, with Alfie, Simba and James D finishing their efforts, James H made a brilliant save and up stepped Owen to slot home the decisive kick and send us into the final. The final was late, long and tiring, but the boys found it in them to play some of their best football of the day to score 3 excellent goals and see off their strong opponent to finish the season on the high. Fittingly, Alfie getting the decisive go-ahead goal on his last appearance for the team. When done Alfie, you'll be sorely missed on and off the pitch. Special mention to Owen who was outstanding throughout and showed a first class attitude and to Ollie who was equally magnificent all day.

Results & Scorers:
Hove Rivervale 1 - 0 Langton Giants
Whyteleafe Gold 1- 1 Langton Giants (James)
Hastings United 1 - 2 Langton Giants (James, Simba)
Eastbourne All Stars 0 - 1 Langton Giants (James)
Kingston 0 - 3 Langton Giants (James x2, Simba)

1/2 Final - Whyteleafe Green 0 - 0 Langton Giants (Giants win 4-2 on pens)

Final - Select Soccer 1 - 3 Langton Giants (Simba, Alfie, James)


Sunday 2nd July - Jarvis Brook u14 Tournament

Our penultimate tournament of the summer and our final one playing up a year saw us travel to Jarvis Brook where we have experienced lots of success before, and today's performances warranted an equally good outcome. At least we had 7 players this week, or so we thought. Initially we were down to 6 for the first game when striker James suffered a 'boot misplacement incident' and thereafter a whack to the back saw Alfie's involvement curtailed after just 1 and a half games, he did manage to slot home a penalty in that time though to help us win a thrilling opening encounter against the host team. The group was won, unbeaten and the boys put on the best performance of the day in the semi-final to topple a strong Foresters team 2 nil before we came up against the physical challenge of Broad Ok in the final. It was classic football v long ball, quickness v strength, passing v hoof ball that was made more difficult when we conceded an early goal. We equalised with a sublime bit of football, Bertie finding in-form Simba with a wonderful pass but we were unable to repeat the trick against the enormous Broad Oak back-line and had to withstand a high ball into the box every time they had possession or a throw in, something the boys managed manfully. Inevitably the penalties went against us, but that didn't really matter, everyone knew who the best team there were and the boys should be very proud of themselves, I know the coaches and parents were.

Results & Scorers:
Jarvis Brook Junior Thunder 2 - 3 Langton Giants (Simba x2, Alfie)
Crowborough Athletic 1 - 1 Langton Giants (Simba)
TW Youth Eagles 0 - 1 Langton Giants (James D)
TW Foresters Red 1 - 1 Langton Giants (Simba)

1/2 Final - TW Foresters Yellow 0 - 2 Langton Giants (Bertie, Jack)

Final - Broad Oak & Horam 1 - 1 Langton Giants (Simba)


Sunday 25th June - Tunbridge Wells Youth Ridgewaye Tournament

A nice local tournament this weekend for most of us and with two teams this time, but in different age groups, one in the u13s and one playing up in the u14s. With a number of the boys unavailable for various reasons we were grateful to Noah returning to help us out in the u13 team where we were also joined by another new friend, Josh to give us a line up of 7 which included Harry & Eddie making their first appearances of the summer along with a returning Alf who was back after missing 6 weeks or so through injury. The boys played superbly in the group stages, winning a tough group without conceding a goal and then coming through a 1/4 final against a stubborn RIdgewaye team before falling at the semi-final stage against the eventual winners, Tonbridge Angels. The u14s team had to play the whole tournament with just the 6 players but played some brilliant stuff to also win their group, scoring some great goals and seeing keeper James make a magnificent penalty save along the way. During the semi-final Brodie unfortunately picked up a knee injury and was unable to run, making the challenge even greater but striker James fired us into the final with a last gasp winner. Playing with 5.5 players in the final and after not having a rest all day the boys still put in a herculean effort against a strong team in the final which could have gone either way. An excellent day all round from all the boys in both squads.

Results & Scorers:

u13 Tournament :-

Broad Oak & Horam 0 - 2 Langton Giants (Pepps, Josh)
Hastings Youth Rangers 0 - 0 Langton Giants
Westerham Red 0 - 4 Langton Giants (Pepps x2, Josh x2)
Hastings Utd Youth 0 - 1 Langton Giants (Josh)

1/4 Final - TW Youth 0 - 1 Langton Giants (Josh)

1/2 Final - Tonbridge Angels 2 - 0 Langton Giants

u14 Tournament:-

Hastings Utd Youth Blues 1 - 3 Langton Giants (James x2, Simba)
Charlwood FC 0 - 1 Langton Giants (Simba)
K-Sports 2 - 0 Langton Giants
TW Youth Hawks 1 - 2 Langton Giants (Bertie, Simba)
Hastings Town 1 - 1 Langton Giants (James)

1/2 Final -  Hastings United Youth Claret 0 - 1 Langton Giants (James)

Final - TW Youth 1 - 0 Langton Giants


Saturday 18th June - Whyteleafe Tournament

The Giants WIN the cup!

On the hottest day of the year, the Giants travelled to play in a new tournament for them, at Whyteleafe FC, with all games played on their impressive 3G stadium pitch. Unfortunately it wasn't the best organised tournament we've ever experienced which meant it started, and finished, quite a bit later than advertised which made for a very long afternoon, but ultimately a hugely succesful one! One of the reason we entered this tournament was the chance to face some new opposition, so although it is always enjoyable to see our friends from Tonbridge Angels and Forresters, having both in our group meant we more familiar faces than we'd hoped. On an unbearably hot afternoon though our boys shone through, playing some superb football throughout and battling impressively to go through the group unbeaten, beating a strong academy side in the semi final with an impressive performance over a team who had walked through their group and then edging a hard fought final against the always very strong Angels to lift the trophy, adding to an impressive summer haul. Well done to all the boys with a special mention to Bertie who continued his great record of scoring winning goals in cup finals that stretches back several years and proved to be decisive again today!

Results & Scorers:
Giants 3 - 2 TW Foresters KYL (Brodie, Simba, Alfie)
Giants 1 - 1 Tonbridge Angels (Bertie)
Giants 1 - 1 Whyteleafe Orange (Brodie)
Giants 3 - 0 Whyteleafe White (Bertie x2, Simba)

1/2 Final - Giants 3 - 1 BHA FC (Simba x2, Tom)

Final - Giants 1 - 0 Tonbridge Angels (Bertie)


Sunday 4th June - Langton Green Fiesta u14's

The Giants WIN the plate! 

Back to the more normal and comfortable position of only having one team on the Sunday as we continued our quest to learn and develop by playing up a year at some tournaments. Sadly Alfie's groin meant he was unable to join us as planned and it was a surprise to us when we discovered this competition was 5-a-side! In all honesty the pitches were far too big for 5-a-side at this age group so most of the games turned into a kick-and-rush scramble, with whoever could run up and down the longest becoming the victor! The boys were extremely hard to adjust, they had to, and managed to dominate pretty much every game they played and should have won every group game comfortably except one (EMC), they would have done had they been able to take the amount of chances they created but it was one of those frustrating days where they just couldn't get the ball over the line. We must have set a world record for the amount of times the post was struck, great saves were made and sitters were missed, but that's football sometimes. As it was, we progressed to the plate and finished with a flurry and in glory, totally dominating the semi-final and final. The final itself would have been a 5 or 6 goal margin had it not been for an extraordinary performance by their goalkeeper, earning him the player of the final trophy. Well done to all the boys, it's never easy playing up a year and the format made it only harder for them, despite this they played some brilliant football and deserved their reward. Very pleasing for Jack to score the winning goal in the final, just rewards for his outstanding performances all day long..... actually, make that all season long!


Results & Scorers:

Giants 2 - 1 TW Youth Eagles (Simba, Elliot)
Giants 1 - 1 Chipstead Red (Bertie)
Giants 1 - 3 EMC Academy (Simba)
Giants 1 - 1 TW Foresters Red (Bertie)
Giants 1 - 1 Yalding Hurricanes (Bertie)
Giants 1 - 2 LG Sharks (Simba)

1/2 Final - Giants 3 - 0 Chipstead Blue (Simba, Jack, Brodie)

Final - Giants 1 - 0 Yalding Hurricanes (Jack)


Saturday 3rd June - Langton Green Fiesta u13's

The Giants WIN the Cup!

For the first time ever, the Giants had two team appearing in the same age group at a fiesta, with the boys split into teams called Giants 'yellow' and Giants 'white'. Lots of pre-tournament angst for the coaches as they tried to balance the two teams which was only added to by a number of boys being unavailable due to injury and other commitments. This meant us short of enough players, so 3 'loanees' joined us to make sure we had enough players. Two of them, Ben & Danny joined the whites whilst Noah joined the yellows. Having two teams meant we needed a second goalkeeper so we were grateful to Adam for going between the sticks for the whites. It has to be said that all four of them showed great attitude and a high level of quality throughout the morning. A full set of results and scorers are provided below, but in summary:

The yellows progressed to the cup competition 1/4 finals without conceding a single goal but then came unstuck in the 1/4 final against a strong Chesworth team after being hampered by a groin injury to Alfie. The whites also progressed to the cup competition where they met Foresters KYL side, then overcame the Chesworth team in the semi-final before beating our friends from Tonbridge Angels in the final 2-0, with Simba scoring both and winning the 'Player of the Final' award.

Results & Scorers:

Giants Yellows:

Giants 3 - 0 Rusthall Lions (Alfie x2, Pepps)
Giants 0 - 0 Tonbridge Angels City
Giants 2 - 0 TW Forresters Phoenix (Alfie, Bertie)
Giants 4 - 0 TW Youth Jupiter (Bertie x2, Jack, Alfie)
Giants 0 - 0 EG Meads Inter
Giants 0 - 0 LG Phoenix White

1/4 Final - Giants 0 - 2 Chesworth Rovers

Giants Whites:
Giants 2 - 0 Tonbridge Invicta (Tom, Brodie)
Giants 7 - 0 Sedelscombe (Simba x3, Ben x3, Brodie)
Giants 0 - 0 Jarvis Brook
Giants 4 - 0 Yalding & Laddingford (Ben x 3, Tom)
Giants 4 - 0 Broad Oak (Simba x2, Ollie, Ben)
Giants 6 - 0 EG Meads AC (Simba x2, Ben x2, Ollie, o.g.)

1/4 Final - Giants 1 - 0 TW Forresters KYL (Brodie)

1/2 Final - Giants 4 - 0 Chesworth Rovers (Simba x2, Danny, Ben)

Final - Giants 2 - 0 Tonbridge Angels (Simba x2)


Sunday 28th May - Rusthall Fiesta - u14s
 
Back for a second day to the Rusthall fiesta but this time to face the next age group up. What started as us expecting a tough day that would be good for experience and developement ended up with us matching our achievements in our own age group 24hrs earlier! Every boy was magnificent all day in the blistering heat against some HUGE teams and with a bit more luck things could have been even better, with us hitting the woodwork in key moments on three occaisions and being on the receiving end of two incredibly unfortunate own goals. A draw against KYL u14 Runners up (Dover Athletic) was a highlight, but the moment of the day had to come against EMC Academy when centre back collosus Jack turned into Ronaldhino by doing a header-knee-foot keep-up that ended with him lobbing the goalkeeper from the half way line!!! Whats that? Yes OF COURSE he meant it, we practice it every week at training! To qualify from this group in 3rd place playing up a year was an outstanding effort and earned us a semi-final spot against the stronger half of the Dover Athletic team and the boys put up a maginifient resistance, flying into tackles against a team that were significantly bigger than us in every position. Brodie's shot that crashed against the post very nearly gave us a lead to hang on to but wasn't to be, we conceded first and as we pushed forward looking for an equaliser were caught out and conceded a harsh second goal. The Dover team were excellent and their coach very generously heaped praise on the Giants, taking the time to tell our boys that we were the best team they've played all day which was a very nice touch. A great day!

Results & Scorers:

Dover Athletic United 1 - 1 Langton Giants (Ollie)
TW Foresters Red 1 - 2 Langton Giants (Pepps, Trialist)
EMC Academy 0 - 1 Langton Giants (Jack)
TW Foresters Yellow 1 - 0 Langton Giants
Dover Athletic 2 - 0 Langton Giants
TW Youth Eagles 0 - 1 Langton Giants
(Trialist)

1/2 Final - Dover Athletic 2 - 0 Langton Giants


Saturday 27th May - Rusthall Fiesta - u13s

Our first fiesta in our own age group was to be at the always high standard Rusthall Fiesta. The quality of opposition became clearer still when we realised there were 4 Kent Youth League teams in our group. We had one bad game, v Kings Hill, in between some very good performances with the highlight being an impressive win over a very strong Kennington Juniors thanks to a cool and calm finish from Pepps. Finishing second in a group of that quality was a solid effort and earned us a 1/4 final birth against the hosts which we had wrapped up by halt time with a 3 nil lead. This saw us up against eventual winners Kings Hill, and despite a far better performance than in the group stage match-up we gave away a sloppy goal in the opening minutes from a corner and it is always very difficult to come back against good teams in this format and it wasn't to be. Still, a very decent set of performances today and an enjoyable afternoons football.

Results & scorers:

Tonbridge Angels 0 - 0 Langton Giants

Kings Hill 2 - 0 Langton Giants
Kennington Juniors 0 - 1 Langton Giants (Pepps)
Otford United 0 - 2 Langton Giants (Ollie x 2)

1/4 Final - Rusthall FC 0 - 3 Langton Giants (Elliot x 2, Brodie)
1/2 Final - Kings Hill 1 - 0 Langton Giants

Sunday 7th May - Crowborough Fiesta - u14s

The first tournament of the summer saw the Giants step up an age group to take part in the u14 Crowborough Fiesta. A very disappointing format meant there was only 4 group games and an appallingly organised set up meant many of us spent more time queuing to get into the event than the boys spent playing! A full set of results are below, suffice to say that is was 'one of those days' where the team played some very good football against boys a year older but were unable to take advantage of the chances created and had absolutely no luck all day. They played very well for 3 and a half of the 4 matches but in these short format tournaments, especially with so few matches, you need to take your chances as we didn't. Most frustrating was that in the opening match we played the team that ended up (somehow) winning the whole tournament and we played them off the park! Cross bars and posts were struck and oppositions goalkeepers made some fine saves in the tiny goals, and a blatant penalty wasn't given in the 3rd match which could have changed the day. So a frustrating day over all but some quality moments and we were all home in time so see Arsenal win a game of football, so every cloud etc.

EMC Acadmey 0 - 0 Langton Giants
Chesworth Rovers 2 - 0 Langton Giants
Mile Oak Wanderers 0 - 0 Langton Giants
TW Youth Eagles 1 - 2 Langton Giants (Alf, Alfie)


Sunday 2nd April 2017

Langton Giants 0 - 3 Ebbsfleet United 

For our final league game of the season we welcomed champions elect, Ebbsfleet United to the Rec which was looking resplendent in the spring sunshine and the scene was set for a competitive game played in a fantastic spirit throughout.

Ebbslfeet are an excellent team all over the pitch, strong in defence, quick in midfield and up front have probably the best striker in the league, a big strong lad with excellent movement off the ball, pace and a wickedly powerful shot. We knew he was a handful, but we've got plenty of handfuls or our own and we started well. Playing up the slope we were looking strong at the back, with Tom, Jack, Alf and Bertie in control ahead of keeper James who was holding a nice high line to close the space behind the defence. Initially Alfie joined Luca in central mid with Brodie higher than in previous weeks, Eddie and Elliot providing attacking threat from the wings with Simba leading the line. Both teams were passing the ball smartly and we were holding our own for the first 15 minutes or so. Ebbsfleet won a corner and swung in a dangerous ball which was stabbed goal-wards but wide. Incredibly though Ebbsfleet were awarded a second corner, the referee obviously mistakenly thinking it had come off a Langton player. The second ball was swung in, even more dangerously and the big striker came leaping in to power home a firm header to open the scoring. It was frustrating to concede to a corner that never was, but that's not to take anything away from the great cross and header and doesn't mean we couldn't have done a better job defending it. James was then called upon to make a great diving side and from the resulting corner we almost conceded a replica goal, this time the ball crashing back off the crossbar, lady luck shining on us on this occasion. The goal had given Ebbsfleet a boost and we were needing to dig in, suddenly the slope felt 10% greater and their players 10% bigger. Digging-in though is part of this teams DNA and that's exactly what they did. Brodie was now back in CDM and he and Luca put in a fantastic shift in there, battling their bigger Ebbsfleet counterparts superbly and more than holding their own. Ollie added significant energy and Alfie was released to the right wing where he was able to terrorise the oppositions defence. We had several good moments, Eddie, Simba, Pepps and Elliot all producing some great attacking play but none as good as what happened next when the boys produced our finest play of the game. Luca and Brodie exchanging quick first time passess, releasing Alfie who played a brilliant 1-2 with the lively Ollie and Alfie was in, his well struck shot going just wide. In the last minute of the first half we were hit on the counter attack down the hill as our own attack broke down and were on the receiving end of one of the best goals we've conceded all season. Connor had done a first class job of holding up the Ebbsfleet striker so his team mates could scurry back to help out, but nobody could have done anything to stop his excellent touch inside and absolute rocket shot which gave James no chance to double their lead.

Two nil down at half time then against the best team in the league, but the boys had equipped themselves well enough to suggest this one wasn't over and in the second half they really took the game to them. Jack and Tom were immense in the centre of defence, totally locking down the Ebbsfleet star man and with Alf, Bertie and later Connor performing at the same level in the full back positions James was well protected, but again this was helped by his consistently good starting position. Eddie was proving once again just how adaptable he is, putting in a great performance on the right wing, (a week after his man-of-the-match performance as a left back - now that's a proper footballer!) and skipped in to the box and let fly with a thunderous strike from an angle which would have stung the keepers hands. Alfie ran past the Ebbsfleet defence and was so close to completing another 1-2, this time with Simba who showed great awareness to spot the run. Luca was everywhere and was moving the ball quickly and productively, with Brodie next to him belying his size, winning numerous headers and tackles against boys twice as big. Ollie was buzzing around everywhere and was pressing high up the pitch which resulted us winning the ball in dangerous positions on several occasions and was setting the tone for others to follow. The pressure eventually told when under pressure Elliot was aware enough to take the ball from the Ebbsfleet goalkeeper and it was chaos in the penalty area but the ball just wouldn't break for somebody to finish it off. Simba helped a Luca ball on and Eddie slid in, doing brilliantly to get to the ball but again the ball went wide. In the closing minutes and our boys tiring Ebbsfleet helped themselves to a third goal with another superb strike from distance which gave the score-line a slightly unfair slant to it but no doubt Ebbfleet deserved to win on the day and are worthy champions.

As is the Langton Green way the boys saluted their achievement appropriately and sportingly, you have to respect any team who wins a league this tough. As for our boys, well they've also done superbly well, finishing 5th and ahead of much bigger clubs such as Maidstone United, taking points off every team except one, and being the only team to topple todays opponents demonstrates just how well they've done. Roll on next year.


Sunday 26th March 2017

Kings Hill 0 - 0 Langton Giants

Our penultimate match of the season and another tough one, away at 3rd placed Kings Hill who we'd enjoyed one of our finest performances of the season against a few weeks back to earn a very impressive victory, but we knew today's match up was going to require us to produce a similar level of performance if we were going to achieve the same result. In reality this was one of those games where both defences were on top throughout. No inch was asked for or granted as two well matched teams effectively cancelled each other out. James was called upon to make 3 or 4 very good saves, including one very impressive piece of goalkeeping when needed to back pedal quickly and clutch a high dipping shot out of the sky, his excellent footwork making it look easier than it was. In defence Alf, Jack, Bertie, Connor and Eddie were all fantastic, closing down and proving to be impenetrable throughout. Eddie deserves particular mention for a man-of-the-match performance, at points it felt like there was at least 3 of him on the pitch. In midfield Luca, Brodie and Jed were their usual combative and creative selves with captain Tom added to provide an extra layer of defensive assurance in a CDM role which he performed brilliantly, showing great discipline and positional awareness which contributed enormously towards only our second clean sheet of the season. Elliot was showing an increase in his fitness and sharpness since returning from injury and had some magical touches to remind us all what we'd been missing, with Alfie looking dangerous throughout on the opposite wing, twice showing great ability and determination to force his way into shooting chances in the last minute, one from Simba's pass which few agonisingly inches past the far post, the other from Brodie's through ball which brought a good save from the Kings Hill keeper. Simba has his worked cut out against the very strong Kings Hill defenders but never stopped working for the team and showed some brilliant awareness with some excellent inter play with his team mates on the wing. Ollie was suffering after a bad knock in the week but was able to play as role for the team out wide and was his usual effervescent self.

A fair result over the length of the match, Langton definitely ended the match the stronger and perhaps with a few more minutes could have found a winner, but to take 4 points from such a strong opposition this season is to be celebrated, so well done boys.


Sunday 19th March 2017 

Langton Giants 2 - 6 Tonbridge Angels
Jack Pepper, o.g.

A difficult day at the office against our good friends from high flying Tonbridge Angels. For only the second time this season we were without 'keeper James and to add to the challenge back-up keeper Harry was also unavailable after breaking his metatarsal, we wish him a speedy recovery. Not to worry though, we are blessed with a number of excellent goalies at the u13 age group so step forward the very talented Ethan, who had spent the morning winning the Crowborough A division with our superb Phoenix team, well done to them! Things started ok, the two teams cancelling each other out in the opening exchanges but what was becoming obvious was the influence the wind was going to have as the Angels pressed high and we started to struggle to get out. An early shot from the edge of the box required a smart low save from Ethan and the pressure started to grow, Tom having to produce an outstanding last second tackle to take the ball off the toe of the Angels danger man. Some good defending from Alf turned into some good attacking by Brodie and Luca as they combined to set Alfie away who won us a corner. Luca swept in the perfect ball and Simba shot goal wards and we thought we'd taken the lead but a last ditch clearance off the line resulted in the ball being fired up the pitch and all of a sudden the pace of the Angels attack saw us in trouble, Bertie doing enough to put the striker under pressure and Ethan doing well to parry the shot round the post. Sadly though we failed to pick up the main threat from the resulting corner as he headed Angels into the lead. Within 20 seconds we'd gone from thinking we were 1 up to being 1 down, football can do that to you. We were now really struggling with the wind and Angels looked confident, playing some excellent attacking football and goals 2 and 3 soon followed, it has to be said though that both were contributed to by some uncharacteristically disappointing defending. There was no lack of effort, but things just weren't going right. The Angels had smartly recognised the threat Alfie brings and closed him down with multiple players whenever the ball went near him. Jed, Ollie and Simba were working extremely hard to provide an attacking threat, with Jack and Tom fighting against the elements and attacking prowess of the strong Angels front line. Luca cut in from the right and hit one of his left foot specials from miles out that crashed against the face of the cross bar and in the closing moments of the half a further two goals were conceded, both on the counter attack as we pushed forward trying to get a foothold in the game. Ethan didn't stand a chance with any of them as we left him horribly exposed.

So a collection of dejected boys to pick up at half time, none more so than Captain Tom who was suffering with breathing difficulties in the high winds. The message was simple, lets go out there and remind everyone what a good team we are and right a few wrongs from the first half. The target was to win the second half and now it was our turn to have the wind behind us. The change was immediate as from the off the Giants started to boss possession, the passing was suddenly there, the movement was quicker and the attacking threat grew. Eddie was looking a real live wire as was Jed who showed off his quick feet and vision with some cracking balls into Simba, Alfie and Ollie were causing the Angels defence problems. The defence was looking more solid and Ethan was now pretty much a spectator as the majority of the second half was played out in the Angels half. Tonbridge are a very good defensive team though and it was always going to be a challenge to break them down, even with the increased possession and territorial advantage. A wonderful piece of interplay between Eddie, Luca and Simba played Brodie in but the ball got stuck just behind him, denying him a shot but he was able to switch the ball via Ollie to Alfie to strike just wide. More quick passing saw Brodie swing a dangerous ball in that Alfie was looking favourite to knock in but an Angels defender last gasp attempts to deny him only resulted in the ball in the back of the Angels net anyway and we had one back, and it was deserved, whoever the scorer was! More pressure was applied, Jed and Ollie were linking up especially well and Simba was putting himself about effectively and came close to breaking through the Angels back line on several occasions. Whenever Angels broke, Jack, Berte, Alf and Eddie dealt with it now the wind was no longer adding to the challenge. Needing a further boost on came Pepps to add his exceptional work rate and directness and he immediately had a positive impact, winning us a corner and then taking it himself, delivering a perfect ball that caused chaos but sadly no goal. We didn't have to wait long though as yet more clever play on the edge of the box saw the ball arrive at the feet of Pepps who curled home a magnificent effort right into the top corner to add to his impressive recent goal scoring form. There was still 10 minutes to go and a flicker of hope, Luca testing the hands of the Angels goalkeeper 3 times and Alfie shooting wide from a tight angle. Connor appeared and instantly got to the pace of the game, his first action being to intercept a cross field ball before it was able to cause us a problem. The 3rd goal wouldn't come though as Angels reminded us what a good defensive team they are, and then with the final play of the match scored a brilliant individual effort as their incredibly fast striker took full advantage against tired legs on the counter attack to score their 6th. This didn't stop us from achieving our half time target of winning the second half though, which after such a disappointing first period spoke volumes about the character and resilience of this group. Even the referee commented afterwards about how different we were in the second half to the first, describing us as two completely different teams!

Congratulations to Angels who thoroughly deserved the victory today and we wish them well in their pursuit of the title, we will try and do them, and us, a favour in a couple of weeks v Ebbsfleet. In the meantime we've got a huge game to prepare for next Sunday so it was good to end this one feeling a bit better about ourselves than we did at half time. Finally, a big thank you to Ethan for stepping into a difficult match as short notice and making such a good account of himself.


Sunday 12th March 2017

Langton Giants 3 - 3 Phoenix Sports
Brodie x 2, Rudy

Wow, what a match! Perhaps it was the crazy ending to the Gillingham match that the Giants boys had experienced up close and personal as ball boys 24hrs earlier that was the inspiration, as the Giants showed enormous heart producing a fight back against the odds to secure a valuable point. We were a little bit under manned today, with defensive colossus Jack required by his school to chase eggs around Hertfordshire and the in-form Jed also unavailable. On top of that both Ollie and Alfie were suffering with illness and Tom & Elliot still short of match fitness after coming back from injury recently. We started well though, very well, the passing was crisp and the new look defensive line of Alf, Tom, Bertie and Eddie were looking confident. Last week Luca had treated us to an incredible long range pass to set Alfie free, and he more than matched it just a few minutes in this week, freeing Alfie down the right wing with a raking ball which took out the entire defence. Alfie sprinted in on goal and hit an excellent shot which smacked against the face of the cross bar, with Rudy showing great awareness and determination to come sprinting in to stoop and head home the rebound. Pepps was starting up front and was helping himself to another strong performance, giving the Phoenix back line no time on the ball and making some intelligent runs into space to link up well with Simba on numerous occasions. Phoenix fought their way back into the match slowly, Brodie and Luca having a good battle in the middle of the pitch against their counterparts. Unfortunately the next meaningful action was in our box as the Phoenix striker was tripped in the box and stepped up to fire home the equaliser from the spot. Not to worry, we were playing well so we started to attack again with a brilliant bit of play, Alfie finding Pepps who delivered an outrageous back heel flick into the path of Simba who hit it brilliantly only to be denied by a fantastic low save by the Phoenix 'keeper. Elliot took over in the attacking midfield role and was soon stringing passes together with Brodie and moving the ball with the confidence and ease he always does. Connor entered the fray and immediately intercepted a dangerous pass and found Luca who was inches away from producing yet another incredible ball, this one being intercepted at the last minute. The penalty had clearly given Phoenix some confidence as they had their best spell during the last 10 minutes of the half. A good defensive block from Eddie resulted in a corner which was met by a firm Phoenix header and looked like a goal before Bertie somehow flung his left leg out as far as he could stretch it to block it right on the goal line, incredible. Then Brodie and Alf both flung themselves to block another goal bound effort, before Bertie pulled off yet another amazing bit of defending, this time with his face proving to be an unmoveable object, such desire from him. We countered the pressure, Elliot riding a tackle and playing in Simba who produced a superb turn and shot, denied again by an excellent save. Phoenix attacked, James saved smartly at the near post and Bertie was on hand to clear behind. From the resulting free kick though a defensive lapse resulted in the ball being headed into the roof of the net. We very nearly levelled when Bertie pulled of a 'Luca' to find Alfie, his shot whistling narrowly by the far post.

So 1-2 down at half time but we knew we were playing well enough to not be behind, and there was all to play for. This confidence took a big dent though when shortly after the restart we conceded again, this time a well taken goal from a player given far too much time in the penalty area. At this point at 1-3 down, with key players either missing or suffering, most teams would have folded. This isn't most teams though, the boys simply rolled up their sleeves and somehow raised their game, taking the game to opposition with a new found level of determination and effort. Rudy was putting in an immense shift up and down the left wing, Tom was running on empty and somehow found it in him to put in an amazing Captain-fantastic performance alongside the utterly outstanding Bertie, with Alf and Eddie both putting in simply brilliant full back performances. Simba played several positions for the team as Alfie struggled with his cold, and when Luca got a knock and needed a break, Ollie climbed off his sick bed (which consisted of a coat on the floor) to work as hard as he could until Luca was able to return, summing up what this team is all about as much as anyone. The sheer volume of effort started to have the desired impact as the Giants swarmed forward looking for a way to get back into the game. Perhaps the greatest example was when Pepps simply refused to give up on a ball that appeared would be shadowed off the pitch, not only getting to the full back, but wining the ball off him and attacking the penalty box. Nothing came of it but it set the tone. Alfie showed an equal desire when attacking from the right hand side after Alf had set him away, beating 4 tackles through a combination of speed, skill and determination before stretching out his foot to set the ball back for Brodie to meet and fire a thunderous strike rasping into the top corner from 25 yards..... game on. Rudy beat not one, not two, but three tackles and centred for Simba to attack, his shot blocked and Eddie stepped into the break up a dangerous looking Phoenix break. Elliot was somehow finding energy from somewhere and was pushing us forward with guile and intelligence, and it was from one of his bits of clever play that had the Phoenix defence panicking when Alfie appeared to be in on goal, a last second foul resulting in a yellow card and a free kick in a dangerous position. Up stepped Luca to strike a sweet free kick towards the bottom corner which the goalkeeper did well to save, but Brodie was at the front of the queue of Giants players who were steaming in and fired home a well deserved equaliser. With 10 minutes to play the decision now was to either play it safe or go for it, there was no decision to make, of course we would go for it, so a rejig saw us go two up front, Pepps joining Simba on the front line. This resulted in a crazy last 10 as both teams went full out for the win in what was a great advert for the Kent Youth League, two teams going at it hammer and tongs trying to find that winner. The tackles were flying in, as were the shots on goal, surely somebody had to find the break through. There were several near misses at both ends but by far the closest was in the very last few seconds when the Phoenix striker somehow found himself with just James to beat from near the penalty spot, he hit it firmly and high, and with James moving the other way looked certain to have won the game. Amazingly though James threw out his left hand in reaction and just managed to get his finger tips to it to take the sting out of the shot, allowing a switched-on Eddie to swoop round and clear the ball before it crossed the line. Just incredible.

So for the second time this season we've played out an exciting 3-3 draw with Phoenix and we are neck and neck in the league table, so obviously we are well matched. A fair result on the day, both teams deserve a lot of credit and this one felt like a point gained rather that two lost as it had last time out. For all the excitement and quality of play it was the doggedness, determination and character that will be remembered from today. Well done boys, really, really well done.


Sunday 5th March 2017


Langton Giants 7 - 1 TW Foresters
Alfie x3, Jack Pepper x3, Jed

The first of three consecutive home games saw us take on our good friends Foresters on the 3G and thankfully the heavy rain of the morning has disappeared, the sun even made a brief appearance at one point! Two very positive things to celebrate before we'd even kicked off, the return of skipper Tom and inspirational winger Elliot to the fold to give us a boost. Foresters started the brightest, putting us under pressure from the kick off and nearly breaching our back line but Jack, Connor, Bertie and Eddie stood firm. They won a corner which was well delivered but James confidently plucked it from the sky to calm any nerves. Foresters continued to press though and worked extremely hard which was stopping us from getting our passing game going in the early going. Slowly though the passes started to stick and the movement improved and we were able to get more on the front foot. Much of this improvement in passing came from the back, with goalkeeper James setting the tone with his calm, accurate distribution a stand out feature of the first half. Connor won the ball and sent us away with an excellent pass into the feet of Simba who switched the ball wide to Alfie, he beat his man and shot early, denied by a good save. Jack was felled just inside the Foresters half and Luca delivered a great free kick into the box which caused mayhem but somehow didn't result in a goal. A tweak to the formation this week saw Pepps play upfront alongside Simba and the next two chances came from some good interplay between the two of them. Firstly Pepps played in Simba who's shot was saved, before Simba returned the favour only for the same outcome. It felt like the pressure should tell soon and it did, Brodie pulling off an outrageous reverse pass inside the full back to find Alfie who finished clinically into the far corner to open the scoring. Both Alfie and Rudy went close to doubling our lead with cleanly struck efforts from distance, both just missing the uprights. The second goal did come soon enough though, Alfie again heavily involved as he darted in from the left and centred for Jed to tuck home from close range after making an intelligent run to get on the end of it. Eddie won a tackle, skipped by another tackle and played Aflie in, saved, before Alf went on a mazy run and very nearly played Simba in with a smart pass which was intercepted. Ollie was having a very good game on the right and delivered some excellent crosses as well as linking up with Brodie, Jed and Luca throughout.

2 Nil at half time was a fair reflection of the match at that point, we'd had lots of chances but Foresters were proving to be well organised and played some very fine football of their own, not resorting to lumping the ball long, preferring to pass the ball out from the back whenever they could. The Giants have a kick off routine and it very nearly played out to perfection at the start of the second half, Luca set Ollie away who found Pepps but his well struck shot was well saved. We then produced perhaps the best football of the day, Jack won the ball and slipped in Eddie who found the returning Elliot to play a 1-2 with Brodie before slipping the ball into the path of Simba who dropped his shoulder to create the space, his shot well saved from around the penalty spot. Elliot was clearly enjoying himself on his return and was soon skipping past tackles like he'd never been away, on one occasion his cross shot ran agonisingly past the back post and outstretched foot of Pepps who was sliding in. Bertie then found Ollie on the right and his ball in was deflected into the path of Elliot who spun and shot, but another effort saved. Ollie again causing problems, this time winning us a corner which Luca swung in and Pepps met at the back post to head home against his old team. Lots of credit to the Foresters linesman for honestly flagging that the ball had crossed the line. Luca then struck a shot from distance that looked for all the world like it was going to end up in the top corner, only for the Foresters keeper to pull off an amazing save to tip it over the bar. Sadly he landed awkwardly and had to depart the game with an injured hand, we wish him a speedy recovery, he'd had an excellent game today. The lad who took over though also put in a great performance, making several impressive saves of his own. Simba showed quick feet and good strength before crossing for Pepps to finish off and grab his second goal before Simba showed another part of his repertoire, pace, sprinting past two defenders but he shot was saved smartly by the stand in keeper, he then made another from a long range shot from Jed. Brodie continued to be passing the ball quickly and accurately throughout, pulling the strings and finding his team mates at will. Tom and Bertie were looking commanding at centre back, Tom reminding us of his vocal leadership as well as his quality on the ball, Bertie putting in the same high performance he's been doing all season long. Alf was now at left back and was overlapping well  and linking up with winger Alfie, and it was this combination that led to the next goal, Alfie grabbing his second with a smart finish across the keeper from a tight angle. Tom burst out of defence and drove forward, beating a couple of defenders before slipping the ball into Jed's path, his shot saved low at the near post. Brodie then found Jed who in turn found Alfie at the back post, denied by quick and brave goalkeeping at point blank range. Luca produced another great corner and Alfie met it with a sumptuous first time volley, striking it with fantastic technique, only for it to be headed off the line superbly by a Foresters defender, great football all round.The next goal came from some very good play from Foresters, some smart passing and determination creating the chance which was excellently finished with a powerful strike into the corner which gave James no chance. a well taken and well deserved goal. In the closing minutes Luca pulled off the pass of the day, sweeping the ball a full 50 yards across the pitch to get Alfie away to finish at the near post before Rudy found Pepps to fire home as both boys completed their hatricks.

A very good performance against an improving Foresters team who didn't give up for a second, they deserve a lot of credit for how they've fought this season and continue to try and play the right way. As well as the win, seeing Elliot and Tom return was definitely the highlight of the day. 4 more games to go, all against the teams above us, so a tough run in but a great opportunity at the same time.
















Sunday 26th February 2017

Larkfield 2 - 0 Langton Giants

After an unwelcomed 4 week break from league action, the Giants took to the pitch today to play new friends Larkfield, a team we'd already faced twice this season with the Giants coming out on top on both previous occasions. Perhaps it was the break from league action but whatever the reason, the team seemed to be lacking a bit of sharpness today and Larkfield are a very good side who have been playing every week so we knew we were in for a tough encounter.

Things started well however, the Giants passing the ball quickly and enjoying a lot of possession in the Larkfield half. Left-back Eddie played a smart ball into Jed who turned the ball round the corner to Alfie who was steaming in from the left, the keeper dashed out and blocked his shot but he was aware enough to fire the ball back across the six yard box into the path of Simba who's first time effort went agonisingly wide of the post. Jack and Bertie were marshalling the centre of defence and Alf was performing his usual duties at right back, and it was from there he intercepted a ball, controlled it and delivered a fantastic ball through the eye of a needle to Simba who was felled as he turned. Luca delivered the resulting free kick which just wouldn't fall for a Giant to hit cleanly. Larkfield started to come into the match more and put us under some pressure, the first ball into the box was cleared but as it came out it was perfect for a Larkfield player to run on to, initially we had a stroke of luck as the first attempt was scuppered by a bobble as the lad air kicked, but the ball ran to another lad who caught it as sweetly as can be and the ball rocketed into the top corner, giving James no chance and them the lead, a little against the run of play. We very nearly equalised immediately, a Luca corner causing havoc but Simba's shot rising over the bar from close range. Ollie was putting a great shift in on the right, with Rudy doing likewise on the other side and Pepps giving the Larkfield defenders no time on the ball, on one occasion very nearly getting on the end of an Ollie through ball  but the keeper just getting out in time to clear. Connor showed his developing awareness to leave his right back position to cover a cross into the six yard box and clear the ball at the last minute. Half time came after we'd had three consecutive corners, all of which were well delivered and dangerous but none of which gave us that clear shot on goal.

We'd struggled with the wind a bit in the first half, so were hopeful it would be to our advantage in the second, and after an initial few minutes of scrappy play we started to get a bit more of a grip on the game. Luca, Brodie and Jed were moving the ball quicker and we were starting to get forward more, but still our passing wasn't quite up to its normal standard as both teams struggled to dominate the ball. Alfie skipped in from the wing and shot powerfully from distance but it was well saved down low. Larkfield then had a couple of corners, the first one cleared off the line by an alert Brodie and a second one which resulted in a proper old fashioned goal mouth scramble that in the middle of James pulled off an outstanding save. It was difficult to see it through the crowd of players from distance, but I'm reliably informed it was brilliant, reminiscent of David Seaman's wonder save in the FA Cup Semi Final against Sheffield United all those years ago (google it boys) and just the latest in a long line of James's super saves this season. Larkfield boast the leagues top goal score and his off the ball movement is very impressive to witness, bit twice we denied him with great defending. Firstly Jack and Bertie slid in together to block a goal bound effort and then Brodie went on a lung busting run back and pulled off a perfectly timed tackle. We huffed and we puffed, there was no lack of effort that's for sure, but we just couldn't find the final ball or clinical finish. Luca went closest with an excellent strike from the edge of the box that cannoned back off the cross bar and then from a free kick he very nearly found the out-stretched toe of Jack P who was up from the back. With time running out a tactical risk was needed, so three at the back, three up front which included moving centre back colossus Jack up front. It was a risk but we'd always rather risk conceding a second going for an equaliser than just let a 1 nil score line fizzle out into a defeat so we went for it. Unfortunately the risk didn't pay off and we were caught on the counter attack twice in the closing minutes, James making an excellent save to deny the first effort but unable to repeat the heroics a second time as a clinical finish found the bottom corner, giving him no chance.

So a disappointing result of course and lessons to be learned, but hopefully an uninterrupted run of matches will see us get back to our sharpest and with skipper Tom and the influential Elliot both close to a return there is still plenty to be optimistic about. Well done to Larkfield, they're a nice bunch and deserved the points today.

Sunday 22nd January 2017

Langton Giants 4 - 2 Kings Hill
Alfie x 2, Jed, Jack Pepper

A week later than intended thanks to the dump of snow that resulted in the match being postponed the previous Sunday, the Giants finally took to the pitch to face high flying Kings Hill who have been on an excellent run, winning their last 8 matches to put them second in the league. Despite the set back at Maidstone United in our previous match the Giants still sat 3rd in the table so this was a proper top-end of the table clash. In the opening exchanges Kings Hill clearly displayed just why they've been on such a great run, they were first to everything, first to the tackle, first to the ball and first to score, breaking down their right hand side and finishing smartly across James to give them an early lead. The Giants were struggling to get a foot into the contest and needed to dig in to make sure we didn't fall further behind. The Giants have lots of strengths, and one of their greatest is to battle when under pressure and stand firm. Without Captain Tom though the task was even greater but Jack, Bertie, Alf and Eddie fought to protect James' goal from any further attacks. Also missing the lively Ollie, Jed was given his first start as a Giant and put in his best performance to date, helping Brodie and Luca out in the midfield defensive duties as well as bursting forward to support Simba in attack too. With Rudy and Alfie both able to provide pace on the wings we slowly started to turn things around. Alf won a crunching tackle, dribbled forward and found Brodie who laid it first time for Luca to sweep out to Rudy, the ball not quite making it but Simba closing down the defender well enough that the ball fell to Alfie, who took one touch to create some space on the edge of the box before unleashing an Alfie-special into the top corner to draw us level. Kings Hill were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position and swung it in high towards goal, but James clutched it to his chest with the minimum of fuss. The dangerous Kings Hill right winger very nearly burst through again but Eddie had other ideas, won the ball and released Rudy who's cross was blocked just before Simba got on the end of it. Bertie won a header to the feet of Luca who was tripped just inside the Kings Hill half, he picked himself up to swing a dangerous ball in that was only partially cleared, Alf sending it back with a well struck effort but wide. Connor entered the game and immediately introduced himself to the very strong Kings Hill left winger with a crunching tackle, winning the ball cleanly and away we broke, Alfie winning us a corner. Luca swung it in and again it was only partially cleared, this time it fell at the feet of Jed, who, like Alfie before him, used his quick feet to find some space before firing home from the edge of the box through a crowd of players, a superb strike and his first for the club, with technique like that I doubt it will be his last. Brodie and Luca were now dominating in the middle of the pitch, running the game and protecting the back four, they won a number of free kicks between them as their ball movement was proving too much for their Kings Hill counterparts. From one of them Alfie struck the ball well but it clipped the top of the wall, from another Jack went agonisingly close to forcing the ball over the line at the back post. Another corner was won as the Giants ended the first half firmly in the ascendency, Alfie delivered a great ball that cleared everyone except for Brodie at the back post, who controlled the ball and looked like he was just about to fire the ball into the back of the net from close range when peep-peep, the referee incredibly blew his whistle for half time, very much like Clive Thomas did to Zico in the 1978 world cup  (google it boys).

Not to worry, the boys knew they'd come out of a tough start to earn their right to play and end the half on top. Luca nearly got us off to the perfect start with a flying volley that went wide but was there for hitting. Kings Hill themselves though very nearly got in when the excellent Eddie slipped over but he was saved by his team mate Bertie, who pulled off a fantastic last ditch tackle to break up a counter attack, Connor equalling it with an brilliantly timed interception when it looked like their striker was in. Pepps was struggling due to a foot injury so had sat out the first half but after testing it out on the side-line felt he could give it a go. That allowed Rudy to take a well deserved break, he'd been working his socks off in both directions and playing some superb interplay with Simba and Luca especially. We conceded a silly free kick in a dangerous position, something we'd been better at avoiding in recent matches, but thankfully after the initial ball was deflected into the Kings Hill strikers path, James was alert enough to react and save well with his feet. We were also grateful to James on several occasions for his high starting position which denied several Kings Hill attacks before they got started. One more scary moment came when a corner was met by an unmarked Kings Hill attacker who headed firmly and accurately on goal but for the umpteenth time this season, Bertie was there to save to day with yet another goal line clearance, Pepps picking up the cleared ball and charging forward to set us on a counter attack, his pass very nearly playing Simba in. Simba himself was having an excellent game in terms of holding the ball up and playing in his team mates, one little side header into the path of Alfie was just brilliant, sending him clear on goal, the keeper saving well but it appeared he was being held unfairly by the defender as he shot but no penalty was forthcoming. Brodie then shot a free kick over the bar as it felt like a third goal was coming, and that feeling proved to be correct. Jed spun and found Rudy in space with an intelligent ball, Rudy absolutely leathered it from the corner of the box and the ball came crashing down off the bottom of the crossbar, Pepps showing great desire to charge in and smash the ball into the back of the net. It wasn't certain whether Rudy's shot had crossed the line (no goal-line technology at u13s I'm afraid) but the referee confirmed after the game that he hadn't awarded the goal for the first shot, so it is Pepps' goal but Rudy deserves enormous credit for the thunderous strike that became an assist! At 3-1 we felt comfortable enough and played some of the best football of the day, passing the ball and working incredibly hard to win it back when we lost it. Things became less comfortable when Kings Hill were awarded, and scored, a penalty to cut the deficit to a single goal. Brodie played in Rudy who scampered forward and drilled a superb cross to the back post to find the charging Alfie who finished neatly, but was denied by a late flag, frustrating but only a warm up for what was to come. Bertie won a header, found Eddie who in turn found Jed to first time spread the ball wide to Rudy who at pace whipped a fantastic ball across the face of goal to Simba who did brilliantly to help it onto Alfie despite being clattered, the referee playing an excellent advantage allowing Alfie to finish unerringly into the far corner to reinstate the two goal cushion. It was a fantastic team counter attack goal that involved 5 Giants, 5 passes in about 5 seconds from one end of the pitch to the other, perhaps the best team goal of the season. Alfie was denied a hatrick in the closing moments by a stunning save over the bar after Rudy and Simba had pressed brilliantly to win us the ball high up the pitch.

These boys continue to impress with their outstanding work rate, never give up attitude and quality on the ball, this was another excellent result but even more impressive performance against a very strong team. Well done all.


Sunday 8th January 2017

Maidstone United 3 - 2 Langton Giants
Simba, Alfie

Our first fixture of 2017 saw us travel to the magnificent Gallagher Stadium to face Maidstone United, a team we'd enjoyed a thrilling encounter with at the start of the season which ended in a 2-2 draw, today was no less exciting, just the result didn't quite go our way. We started well, taking advantage of the huge pitch to spread the play and enjoy the space available. James was called upon to catch a few early crosses but we were the more attacking side in the opening exchanges and very nearly opened the scoring when Brodie sent Alfie through but his shot flew over the cross bar as the goalkeeper came out. We didn't have to wait long though, a ball from Alf into Ollie who spun and played the ball inside the left back to very nearly get Alfie in again but a sliding tackled brought us a corner instead. Luca swept in the perfect delivery, Simba rising highest to power a header back past the keeper and into the far corner to give us an early lead. This looked like it was going to be immediately cancelled out but Jack slid in and at the very last second blocked a shot to almost certainly save a goal. Bertie found Rudy who sent the ball back into Simba who spun his man and was off, powering past two defenders and then a third, letting fly with a thunderous strike which went narrowly wide. Then danger, the tricky Maidstone left winger cut in and shot, James saving low to his right at his near post before then jumping on the ball as it was crossed back into the danger zone. Tom won a couple of big headers and then blocked another goal bound effort as Maidstone fought back. They equalised soon after with a very well crafted goal that was smartly finished into the bottom corner and sadly took the lead shortly after when for what felt like the first time in many games, we failed to win 3 tackles in a row as the left winger dribbled across the by-line and pulled it back to be slammed home form close range, a very disappointing goal to concede. Still, plenty of time to fight back and that's what they did, Connor won a big tackle and found Ollie who dropped the ball into the path of Brodie to try and play Ollie through, the ball was a little too hard though but Ollie pressed the keeper as he received it and it had the desired affect as he kicked it straight to Alfie, who spun and launched an exquisite shot into the top of the net from 25 yards out the bring us level. Despite suffering from a heavy cold Bertie was having an excellent game, both defensively and attackingly as he and Alf on the other side, consistently provided over lapping threats from their full back positions. A cross came in from the left, sailed over everyone's heads and was met at the far post by a Maidstone attacker who sent it back in the opposite direction, over James' head into the far corner of the net to give Maidstone the lead again, leaving the game 3-2 to the home team at half time.

At this stage it felt like there would still be plenty of goals to be shared as both teams were creating chances, as the second half started we had a couple of decent ones. First of all Rudy crossed for Alfie to set back for Brodie to hit, he hit it sweetly on the half-volley from the edge of the box but flew inches wide of the bottom corner with the keeper beaten. Brodie then turned provider, after exchanging a lovely 1-2 with Jed he slotted the ball through the needle to set Simba away for a 1v1 against the keeper, he hit it early and well, but again going agonisingly wide as everyone thought it was going in. Maidstone continued to cause us problems at the other end, Eddie saving us with a smart interception and clearance before James made a great save, Jack mopping up the loose ball. Ollie released Jed who skipped past a tackle and set the ball back for Luca to hit, well saved before Simba played the ball back to Jed who this time played a wonderful ball into the box for Alfie to break clear and face the keeper who made a superb save with his outstretched foot as it looked for all the world like we were about to equalise. As we pushed forward in the hunt for an equaliser inevitably Maidstone were able to find some space in dangerous positions too and we were grateful to James for two excellent saves, one of them from point blank range down to his left that was outstanding and also to him running out to clear some through balls. There was also the usual back to the walls defensive brilliance from Jack, Tom, Connor, Alf and Bertie, selflessly putting their bodies on the line for the good of the team. Despite the best efforts from everyone, the equaliser just wouldn't come, although a draw might have been a fair result, if anyone deserved to edge it then it was Maidstone who played very well on the day, they're a very good side who play the right way with friendly coaches and players with good attitudes so you never mind losing to a team like that. Well done boys, a very good performance none the less.



Sunday 18th December 2016

Langton Giants 5 - 1 Larkfield
Simba, Alfie, Luca, Brodie, Rudy

Our last game of 2016 and a week before Xmas, the boys were determined to finish the year in style and that is exactly what they did. Given the expected extended absence of inspirational Elliot the decision had been taken to extend the size of the squad and new signing Jed was to make his debut today, already showing what a valuable addition he will be with an assured performance throughout. With our expert goalkeeper James also missing for the first time this season we found ourselves in the luxurious position of being able to draft in the super talented Harry to fill in without having to revert to playing an outfield player in goal as we've had to do in previous years. With a later than usual kick off the floodlights were on, and as the parents enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies on the side-line, the Giants set about starting the match on the front foot from the opening whistle. Alf sent the ball forward for Simba to head on and into the path of a sprinting Alfie, his powerful shot saved from a tight angle. The resulting corner was never really cleared though and when Ollie stabbed the ball back into the box, Simba was on hand to fire us into the lead with a tidy finish past the goalkeeper. Jed entered the fray and was instantly involved, linking up well with Brodie and Luca in the middle of the park and then releasing Simba who used his power and pace to steam past two defenders and bring a good save out of the Larkfield keeper, as all good players do though Jed followed the shot up but his first time effort flew over the bar. The Giants were firmly on top, with Alf, Tom, Jack and Bertie in complete command at the back, ably backed up by the confident looking Harry behind them. Alf skipped past a tackle and found Brodie with a smart pass who immediately helped it on to Luca who pinged a wonderful cross field ball for Alfie to chase, win and then finish brilliantly across the face of goal and into the bottom corner to double our lead.
Connor came on in the right back position and put in an excellent performance, winning tackles and distributing the ball intelligently. Harry rolled the ball out to him, he opened his body and swept the ball down the right wing, Alfie tucked it back in to Simba who beat a man, spun and laid the ball back into the path of Luca who took one touch and bang, rocket shot into the roof of the net from fully 30 yards, a stunning strike on the end of some first class football to create the chance. Pepps added his energy and direct running to the game, going on another one of his 'party piece' endless runs, backed up by the overlapping Bertie who delivered an excellent cross that narrowly avoided everyone.

3 nil at half time after an excellent performance but Larkfield are a very fine side and remained a threat, there could be no letting up. Rudy continued his recent excellent form on the left, pressuring the full back into a mistake which won us the ball high up the pitch and then playing the ball simply back to Ollie who showed great feet and a change of pace to skip into the box then the awareness to set Simba who volleyed first time inches past the post. Jack burst from defence after winning a tackle and looked like he was about to steam through everyone, only to be thwarted by the cord that runs across the pitch, very frustrating, but when the ball returned to our defence in his absence, Tom mopped up with the minimum of fuss. Larkfield were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box, the shot was well hit and on target but not good enough to beat the leaping Harry who flung himself across the goal and at full stretch pushed the ball round the post with two strong hands. Bertie won a big header under pressure from the resulting corner and we broke at pace, Simba finding Alfie with a delicious pass and he was away, bursting down the right wing and winning us a corner at the other end. Luca was having a sensational game in the middle of the park, as well as the stunning goal his passing and movement was of the highest order throughout, so when he stepped up to take the corner it was no surprise to anyone that it was an excellent delivery, Brodie arriving at the back post to smash the ball home. Another key player missing today was Eddie who has been excellent at left back in recent weeks so Bertie spent a lot of time back in his usual left back position and didn't miss a beat all match, it was like he'd never been away and some of his overlapping was helping Rudy find space who was making the most of it, terrorising the right back and delivering some top class crosses to his team mates. He scored the 5th goal which was thoroughly deserved after his work rate all game, Brodie winning the ball and finding Jed who showed great intelligence to roll his defender and spin the ball to Ollie who helped it onto Rudy who's low shot went under the keeper and over the line, Alfie doing the right thing and making sure but the ref confirmed Rudy's shot had crossed the line already. Pepps very nearly got on the end of a Jed through ball, bravely forcing his way past the last defender but the goalie was quick off his line to deny him. As the fog came in very quickly it was getting harder for our defenders as the fog came in at that end but the boys did remarkably well, Jack pulling off a typical Jack last ditch tackle, Tom clearing with a big header and Connor showing great awareness to clear his lines when being closed down quickly. Most impressive of all though was a brilliant save from Harry from a high shot with a tall Larkfield player chasing in on him at the same time. In the last few minutes Larkfield did manage to breach our defence once and it was a very fine finish low into the corner that did the damage, giving Harry no chance.

So the boys achieved what they set out to do, finish the year in style and earn their well deserved Xmas break, no game next Sunday, apparently some of the boys are busy. An excellent team performance as they have mostly all been in recent weeks which leaves them sitting pretty in 3rd Place, and thoroughly deserved it is too. A special mention though for debutants Jed and Harry who were both brilliant and played major parts in such a good performance. Roll on 2017.

Sunday 11th December 2016

Danson Sports 0 - 2 Langton Giants
Ollie, Jack

Today saw us travel to Crayford to take on Danson Sports in a match which signified the half way stage of our inaugural Kent Youth League season. The sun was shining and the pitch was fine, a little sticky because of the rain yesterday, but generally good and better than most grass pitches at this stage of the season. With bad news regarding the influential Elliot to share with the lads before the game the boys looked determined to go and put in a performance against a side they'd thrown a 2 nil lead away against just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately the determination didn't translate onto the pitch initially as the Giants struggled for the opening 20 minutes, with Danson firmly on top. Thankfully in moments like this we have the likes of Jack, Bertie, Alf and Eddie to bail us out with their dogged defending. We also have the calmness of James to rely on who put in a faultless display despite feeling a bit under the weather, claiming a number of long balls with no spillages and making a big double handed save from a firmly driven shot. We'd rejigged some positions this week to try and counter the physicality of the Danson team so perhaps this contributed to our slightly disjointed start. Simba was operating as a defensive midfielder next to Luca, with also-under-the-weather Brodie pushed forward to support Alfie in attack with Ollie moving out wide and Rudy on the other wing. From a well timed Eddie tackle we broke, Rudy lofting a lovely pass for Alfie to chase, he won the ball, beat two defenders with his pace and ball control before firing wide from the edge of the box, not the perfect outcome but a sign of improvement in the game and also the first sign of the problems our pace could cause the Danson back line. Alf found Simba in the middle of the pitch, initially tackled he won the ball back and fed Brodie who turned and shot from the edge of the box, well saved down low to the keepers right. Luca was struggling with a knee issue, despite this he put in a great performance, switching the play and moving the ball quickly, it was from his clever pass that Alfie set Simba who struck the ball perfectly from range, it looked in all the way but hit in the inside of the post instead, the rebound hitting the beaten keeper on his knee and flying inches wide, so unlucky. The resulting corner was only partially cleared as far as Bertie who struck his shot well but the impressive Danson keeper saved. Pepps, Tom and Connor all entered the game and brought with them energy and a sense of urgency, something every coach looks for from players joining the action. Pepps went on a strong run, was felled just inside the half. Rudy delivered the perfect ball, Alfie rising and heading goal wards, well saved, Simba smashed the rebound goal wards, cleared off the line by a combination of goalkeeper and defender, then again from Simba on the double rebound, saved high.... the goal just wouldn't come. Tom was looking assured at centre half alongside Jack, allowing Bertie to resume his left back role for the first time in a long while. Connor showed excellent timing when intercepting a dangerous ball, fed Luca who spun the ball onwards with a nifty flick with the outside of his boot to Alfie who did the right thing in striking the bouncing ball from distance, he struck it well and on target but the keeper claimed.

Although it was a bit frustrating to not have found the back of the net before half-time the fact the boys had taken over the match from a slow start was encouraging. What was less encouraging was that Luca was unable to return for the second half as his knee injury got the better of him. The second half started with an excellent piece of left back play from Eddie, winning a tackle, riding another and then flicking the perfect ball down the wing to set Rudy away despite getting clattered in the process. Rudy sprinted forward and was about to pull the trigger before a last ditch sliding tackle denied him the opportunity. Jack won a big header from a long ball and Brodie pulled the ball out of the sky, brought it down and delivered first time out wide to Ollie, Ollie slipped the ball inside the full back for Alfie to sprint on to and the defender had no choice but to pull him to the ground before he entered the box. Rudy took it and took it well, in charged Ollie and met it with a brilliant first time guided volley the ball flying past the diving goalkeeper and hitting the back of the net. Excellent technique matched by outstanding desire to give us a thoroughly deserved lead. We didn't wish to settle though, we were the better team and needed to ram home our dominance. Alf epitomised everything that was good about the performance, with his work rate and technical ability clear for all to see, and it was his ball into Alfie that caused the next problem for the Danson defence. Alfie laid it back to Brodie who swung it out to Rudy, Rudy showed great awareness by going backwards to Tom who was now operating in central midfield, his through ball back to Rudy deflecting off for a corner. Alfie took it but it was cleared by a defensive header, only as far as Rudy though who spun and chipped a delightful ball back into the box, Jack P won the ball with a big tackle and then looked like a seasoned striker as we simply passed the ball back across the goalkeeper into the far corner with unerring accuracy, a brilliant finish for a striker, let alone a centre half! The memory of blowing a 2 nil lead against this team so recently was still on our minds though so there could be no let up, what we needed was added impetus, energy and fresh legs. They came in the form of Pepps who has made a great habit recently of having a big impact on matches coming off the bench and today was no exception. No less than three times he ran practically the length of the pitch, defying tackles, fouls and blocks to just keep on running and push us forward up the pitch, it was just what was needed. What was also needed was the added bite Connor brought to the game, winning numerous tackles and keeping the talented Danson left winger perfectly in check throughout. Bertie ready a Danson forward pass perfectly to intercept, strode forward and found Brodie who exchanged passes with Simba before switching the ball out to Pepps who went on yet another storming run, pulling the ball back for Simba to swing it into the box, Alfie directing his header narrowly wide. Although James was pretty much uncalled on to make any saves of note his handling of high ball with the sun in his face was perfect all afternoon and most notable was some of his outstanding distribution throughout, time and time again setting us away on attack with his thoughtful throws and kicks. As time ran out the boys stayed calm and in total control, there was to be no late dramas this week, hopefully harsh lessons have been learned.

A well deserved and important win contributed to by every single boy. There were so many standout performances nobody can be picked out, this was a total team effort and one the coaches were very happy with, well done boys, really well done.


Sunday 4th December - Kent County Cup 3rd Round

Dartford FC 5 - 0 Langton Giants

Perhaps the most bonkers game of football the Giants have taken part in, with all those in attendance bewildered as to how they lost the match, let alone the scoreline!

Dartford FC is an academy set up and have some very fine facilities, we were fortunate to be one of the first teams to play on their brand new 3G facility in the shadows of their impressive stadium. For some peculiar reason though the home side set the pitch up with 9-a-side goals on the 6-yard box and brought the width of the pitch in 6 yards either side to narrow the playing area significantly. Neither of these things helped the Giants who are at their best when exploiting space out wide and were denied by the frame of the goal on so many occasions. In our now unfamiliar yellow and green kit due to a colour clash we took to the pitch and any nerves were quickly settled as the boys set about totally dominating possession, whipping the ball round the Dartford half and bossing the game. We almost got off to the perfect start, Alfie letting fly with a ferocious strike which thundered against the face of the cross bar in the opening minute, the ball had taken the smallest touch on route and we were awarded a corner. Alfie swung it in, Brodie met it but his left foot effort flew over the bar. Moments later Brodie again, this time wriggling past two defenders and letting a right foot effort go, inches over. Alf stepped forward from right back, played a smart ball into Ollie who turned it round the corner to Alfie who's firm shot was well saved. Luca found Elliot, who in turn found Rudy who was denied by a last ditch tackle. It seemed unbelievable the score was still 0-0 as we were parked in the attacking half and that disbelief was only added to when in the blink of an eye we were 1 nil down. From their first foray into the Langton Green half Dartford got a good shot away, James parried well but unfortunately the ball fell right into the path of another Dartford player to tuck home the opening goal completely against the run of play. Not to worry though, lots of time to go and the Giants knew they had been the better side and were creating chances at will. Alfie was giving the Dartford left back a torrid time, Jack found him the first time, shot well saved, It was a cross field ball from Bertie which got Alfie in again moments later, this one narrowly wide. Simba spun well on the edge of the box and shot, saved, and Pepper went on a fantastic run past several defenders before playing Rudy in, again saved. It was all Langton but double disaster in the build up to half time, conceding twice more, both very scrappy goals to concede and unbelievably the boys trudged off at half time looking bemused as to what had just happened.

Sadly, our luck didn't improve any in the second half, as if anything, the Giants upped their territorial and possession dominance but still just couldn't find a way to get the ball into the back of the net. Just like in the first minute of the first half, Alfie was again denied by the cross bar in the first minute of the second half, how's your luck? Then Rudy hit the cross bar a minute later after doing brilliantly to find space for a shot after receiving an excellent pass from Eddie. Eddie again found Rudy, this time he was fouled. Alfie swung the free kick in and Brodie met it at the back post with a header inches wide. Brodie then turned provider, after receiving a great ball from Alf, he turned and set up Rudy who met it cleanly but again no more than a foot over the bar. Connor won a huge tackle, brought the ball forward and exchanged passes with Ollie before setting Alfie away, his cross was met by Simba's head, the ball flying past the post. Elliot went on an Elliot type run, weaving in and out of defenders and pulling the ball back for Rudy to fire over the bar as the match turned into an attack v defence exercise. Dartford were breaking at speed though on the counter attack so we were reliant as always on Jack, Bertie, Alf, Eddie and Connor to sweep up any danger. Luca won a tackle and released Simba who burst through, waited for the defence to step to him before slipping Alfie in who's effort was tipped round the post. The resulting corner brought a mad goal mouth scramble as a number of Giants tried to force the ball over the line, somehow it didn't quite happen, still not entirely sure how. At this point we got a huge boost when captain fantastic Tom strode onto the pitch for the first time in 6 matches, so great to see. Naturally a bit rusty and out of breath quite quickly but he soon reminded of us what we've been missing, with his fantastic work rate, calmness on the ball, excellent communication and leadership, fantastic to have him back. A tactical change saw us go 3 at the back as we went all out attack, Simba very nearly benefitting immediately but his goal bound effort was blocked on the line. Ollie tried his luck from distance, saved low and Simba had another shot smothered. Pepps repeated his trick of the first half, going on a fantastic lung busting run which seemed to go on forever and his blocked shot broke into the path of Alfie who's shot again hit the post. As if to rub salt into an already open wound, Dartford caught us out on the counter attack three times in the closing minutes as the Giants boys legs started to wear down, James denied them with a big save on one occasion but had no chance with the other two, which left the final score remarkably at 5 nil to Dartford.

A nice touch at the end when the referee took the time to come and speak to the Giants boys, saying how well they'd played and how unlucky they had been, commenting on how superb some of their football had been and he couldn't quite believe we'd lost. We knew how he felt. Credit to Dartford though, they defended very well at times and were clinical in front of goal, we wish them well in the next round. As for us, we just need to put this one behind us, these things happen in football and we just have to put it down to experience, a painful experience at that.

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Sunday, November 27th 2016

TW Foresters 1 - 5 Langton Giants
Elliot x2, Alfie x2, Rudy

Another week, another league game, but this one more local than most as we took the short trip to visit our friends at Foresters. Captain Tom is very close to a return but it was decided he was best served with another week for his nagging foot injury to improve and for the first time this season we were without the effervescent Ollie in the middle of the park. The pitch was in great condition, if a little smaller than those we'd played on recently, so good for getting the ball down to play, something both teams achieved throughout. We almost got off to the perfect start when Elliot, not for the last time in this match, struck the cross bar with a ferocious drive after Simba had found him with a good pass. Credit to the Foresters keeper who got the very tips of his fingers to the shot to divert it onto the woodwork. We didn't have to wait too much longer though, Eddie winning the ball, opening his body and producing a peach of a ball from left back to play Rudy in, his first touch took him away from the defender and his second touch was sublime as he accurately dispatched the ball into the top corner to open to scoring. As always Jack and Bertie were marshalling the back for in front of James superbly, with Alf his usual impeccable self at right back, his early pass very nearly getting Pepper away but denied by a late tackle. Alfie entered the game and made an immediate impact on receiving an early ball from Brodie, beating his man and whipping in an excellent dangerous cross that found Elliot at the back post to poke home our second. Elliot soon doubled his tally for the day, Connor winning the ball and finding Luca who spun and played him in with an exquisite ball inside the full back, Elliot's low finish across the 'keeper nestling into the bottom corner. If that pass from Luca was special, it was nothing compared to the incredible pass Jack pulled out after breaking free from defence, sending the ball a good 50 yards across the grass right into the stride of Alfie who took it early but the effort flew just wide. Foresters kept up a fantastic work rate throughout the first half and caused us problems on several occasion, James darting off his line to clear some danger and dealing with a couple of long shots calmly. He was unable to do anything though when Foresters efforts were rewarded with a very smartly finished goal after we'd had a bit of a mishap in defence.

With the score 1-3 at half time we knew the next goal was vital so looked to start the second half on the front foot. Brodie was moving the ball smartly but spent the whole match being man-marked by two players so had to work very hard just to find space, he did so on numerous occasions though and found Alfie with a clever ball, he was soon off down the right wing and found Luca who saw his well struck shot parried. Brodie then skipped free again and played Elliot in who couldn't believe his luck when his powerful strike hit the cross bar again! Any nerves or frustration were soon calmed though when Rudy beat his man, looked up and delivered a wonderful cross to the back stick for the sprinting Alfie to tuck home with a controlled finish to make the score 4-1. Bertie was having another strong game, his consistency has been a stand out of the season so far, and soon went on a mazy run, riding tackles and holding off defenders before shooting low and narrowly wide. Perhaps inspired by this, Alf then nearly repeated the trick before winning a free kick in a dangerous position. Connor won his umpteenth tackle and found Pepper who showed great awareness to ping the ball out to Alfie who scored an almost identical goal to last week with a high finish over the goalkeepers head and into the far corner. Eddie had a good shot saved from distance, tipped round the post and from the resulting corner Luca demonstrated excellent technique to hit a volley first time only to be denied by that annoying cross-bar again!!! Simba burst from midfield, beat several players and shot from distance, wide, but then did the same and found Alfie bursting into space, with the keeper coming out, Alfie tried an audacious lob from distance but the height of the keeper was to his advantage and managed to clutch the ball from the sky. Alf hit a good shot low, saved, before Simba shot over the bar from Alfie's pull back and Pepper saw a powerful and accurate effort parried at the near post.

A very good game of football played in a superb spirit, helped enormously by as good a refereeing performance as you are likely to see. Foresters have improved significantly since the last time we faced them and deserve great credit for their efforts in this match. Well done to the Giants boys for continuing the recent fine form, that's 5 unbeaten in all competitions and we are climbing the table slowly but surely.

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Sunday 20th November

Langton Giants 2 - 2 Danson Sports
Alfie, Rudy

The tough games are coming thick and fast at the moment, just what you expect in this league and just how we like it. Today's contest was against Danson Sports from the Crayford area. Looking at their results to-date we knew we were in for another competitive match as all of their games had been close run things, including numerous draws. No Elliot or Eddie available this week, and with skipper Tom still not recovered from his foot problem we were a little light, so up stepped Jack H as a specialist left back to help us out. Jack put in a superb performance, more than holding his own and giving the team a real balance. We started well, keeping the ball on the floor and battling against the very physical Danson team. Luca swept a ball out to Alfie who won us a corner, Luca took it but it was headed clear. Alf run into intercept the clearance and did exactly what he needed to, struck for goal, he caught it well and hit the target, unfortunately the goalkeeper gathered. Another couple of efforts from distance, one in open play from Luca and one from an Alfie free kick, but both were saved. Jack and Bertie were in total command at centre back, with Luca, Brodie and Ollie all battling impressively against the physically commanding Danson centre midfielder. Rudy was terrorising the Danson right back and using the ball intelligently, at his very best. Pepper came on half way through the half and was instantly involved, harrying the Danson defenders and helping us win the ball high up the pitch. Simba showed great footwork to find some space then played the ball back to Brodie who chipped a delightful through ball for Pepper to run onto, something he did with great desire to burst through and find himself 1v1 with the goalkeeper rushing out and diving to his right to deny us an opening goal. Throughout all this the game was a battle all over the pitch, Connor was up for it, digging in and standing up to come strong challenges, as is his way. James wasn't overly troubled, but handled anything coming through with ease. At this stage the only threat from Danson was from set pieces, something they seemed to earn a lot more of as the half went on and from one really should have scored, their striker somehow firing a scrambled ball over via the cross bar when just 6 feet out. A real let off that we needed to take advantage of.

0-0 at half time and the team talk was heavily focused on the need for us to stick to our game plan and ignore some of the aggression on display, let our football do the talking. This almost paid instant dividends, Ollie skipping past a tackle and dropping a lovely little ball into the feet of Simba who in turn found Brodie, one touch to set the ball near the penalty spot then strike the shot, bringing a fine save out of the Danson goalkeeper. Luca then made himself space before letting fire with a long range effort that was also saved, and when Ollie again found Simba his turn very nearly created a shooting opportunity close to goal, denied by a last ditch tackle. This was the best period of the match for the Giants and they needed to take advantage, Danson remained a threat though and we were grateful to Connor when he stepped in at the last minute to block a dangerous looking shot. Bertie intercepted a long ball, found Brodie in space, he spun the ball onto Simba who was tackled but the ball fell to Pepper who showed great awareness to set the ball out to the right for Alfie to strike high and over the head of the Danson goalkeeper to give us a deserved lead. Jack P was his usual fantastic self at centre back and after winning the ball set off on one of his powerful runs, charging forward like a runaway train, he played the ball to Alfie who immediately gave it back to him but as he did he was fouled, the referee deciding not to play the advantage despite Jack being clean through on goal with Simba and Rudy in support. Very frustrating, but not to worry because things were about to get better. Again Pepper had a big hand in things, winning a tackle and then finding Alfie with an early ball, this time his shot crashed down from the cross bar but in darted Rudy to firstly header, then volley the ball into the back of the net to double our lead. Annoyingly though that cushion didn't last long when we conceded a scrappy goal to give Danson hope. Naturally they pushed forward but we generally stood firm, Jack H doing a fine job against a lad who was much bigger than him (in fact his hair was much bigger than him) and didn't back down for a second. Bertie and Jack were blocking shots, Luca battled on after taking a nasty knock and was a rock in midfield alongside Brodie who was everywhere, chasing the ball all over the pitch and driving the team forward. Not for the first time though we were on the receiving end of a fantastic strike which James couldn't do anything about, from the moment it left the boys foot you could see it was heading for the top corner and so it proved, bringing Danson level. Both teams had chances to win it in the closing moments as the two teams both pushed forwards looking for a third goal, Danson came closest but James made a brilliant diving save to his right to make sure we didn't lose a game we'd deserved to win.

Although dropping the two points is disappointing we didn't lose and kept our unbeaten run growing to 4 matches which is an achievement in itself in this league. Well done to all the boys, we go again next week. A big well done and thank you to Jack H, couldn't have done it without you.

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Sunday 13th November

Ebbsfleet United 1 - 3 Langton Giants
Brodie, Alfie, Eddie

Quite simply the greatest Giants performance and result ever.

Back to league action with a bang against the runaway league leaders Ebbsfleet United who up until today and enjoyed the perfect start to the season, winning an impressive 7 matches in a row, including some high scoring victories along the way, so this was undoubtedly to be our biggest test of the season. Following a couple of very good performances in a row though confidence was beginning to grow, so the boys arrived looking determined to cause an upset. To do this we needed a big performance all over the park and were missing two key players in captain Tom and Pepper. Unfortunately we suffered an early blow when Rudy was forced to leave the action just a couple of minutes in with a knee problem and things could have got worse had it not been for a very fine save by James, rushing from his line to close down the striker and tipping the ball round the post before clutching the resulting corner from the air to settle us down. Ebbsfleet are a very fine team, their interplay and pace of movement was very impressive and it took every amount of our defensive effort to keep them at bay. Alf, Jack, Bertie, Eddie and latterly Connor all continued their recent fine form and were proving to be an impenetrable wall, with Luca and Brodie providing additional protection in front of them. Ollie and Simba put pressure on the back four with Alfie and Elliot both being asked to put in an enormous amount of work, back and forth along the wings. Slowly we started to get a grip on the game and were able to string a few passes together, Alf showing quick feet and mind to very nearly get Alfie away but denied by a sliding block. We were then awarded a free kick in the oppositions half and a chance for us to push forward. Luca stepped up and delivered the perfect ball, high enough to cut out the defenders, narrow enough to tempt the goalkeeper but angled enough to find Brodie. Spotting the goalie had left his line Brodie let it bounce once and then hit it early with the outside of his right foot, looping a wonderful volley high over the retreating 'keepers head and dropping down just below the cross bar and nestle in the net, a brilliant finish from a superb pass. This settled the boys down, suddenly Ebbsfleet weren't so intimidating and the Giants started to play their football. Brodie won the ball, fed Ollie who in turn found Alfie and he was off on his bike, charging forward, weaving past a couple of defenders before unleashing a stunning strike from fully 30 yards which rocketed into the top corner to double our lead, unbelievable. As great as this felt to all from Langton, the Ebbsfleet threat remained ever present, never more so than when their tall, strong talented striker let fly from distance, James pulling off a save that defied belief, not for the first time this season, tipping the ball over the bar when at full stretch. Connor entered the contest and continued to impress, his recent development obvious to all, immediately coming over from right back to clear a centrally hit through ball before it caused us any danger. A reshuffle saw the ever flexible Eddie move forward to left wing, a move which brought instant reward, Luca and Brodie working smartly to get the ball to him, then it was all about Eddie, cutting in to skip past the right back before firing a brilliant strike right into the bottom near corner to stretch our lead to 3 nil. We were in dream land, but there was still such a long way to go, it wasn't even half time yet! Luca cleared a header off the line from a corner before going up the other end and firing two shots from distance, one wide and one saved before Bertie pulled off a magnificent last ditch tackle seconds before the half time whistle blew.

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would find ourselves 3 nil up against the league leaders at half time, but three such fantastic strikes on goal weren't the only stand out points of the first period. The whole team had defended magnificently, with Jack imperious against the talented Ebbsfleet striker, the leagues top scorer. The job was only half done though and we were certain they would come back at us even stronger in the second half.

The boys though simply went out and upped their game even further, although the goal tally wasn't added to, our possession grew and some of the one-touch interplay was a joy to behold. Luca was outstanding in the middle of the park, quickly spraying the ball out to our dangerous wingers, Elliot and Alfie with great regularity and playing the ball short with Brodie and Ollie when required. He was also showing a keen eye for goal, shooting from distance twice in the early minutes, once wide and once requiring a good save. Although neither ended with a goal, both helped us build some momentum and kept us highly relevant as an attacking force. Elliot played Simba in with a clever reverse pass and Simba shot from distance, saved, before Elliot wriggled in his usual manner across the goal line, his pull back very nearly giving Ollie a shooting chance. Simba was having a growing influence on the match, scaring the life out of their defence with his power and pace as well as linking up brilliantly with his team mates. Ebbsfleet attacked down the right, a hard low shot that James got down to and held on to. Then it looked nailed on that Ebbsfleet were going to get a goal back, for once the pacey striker got away from Jack, James rightly came rushing out and this forced him wide, he crossed the ball to a team mate, six yards out with an open goal..... at least at first glance it looked totally open, but Bertie had other ideas, showing insane desire to dash over and fling himself in front of the ball and somehow getting it away. That one moment encapsulating the determination and effort from the team all day long. Not done yet, Bertie then had his customary goal line clearance from a corner before James was called into action again, a fierce shot parried with strong hands, Eddie on the spot to clear the loose ball. Luca found himself out wide to the left and first time sent the ball of the day round the back of the Ebbsfleet defence, allowing Simba to use his pace to burst through and close down on the goalkeeper who did very well to save from point blank range, repeating the feat from Simba again just a few moments later after Alfie had created the chance for him, skipping past a tackle and slipping the ball between the two centre backs. Then for perhaps the only time in the game we switched off, just for a second, and the Ebbsfleet striker bore down on James and this time was able to beat our outstanding shot blocker with a well taken goal. No need to panic though, we still had a 2 goal advantage and there was less than five minutes to go. There were a couple of scares, James making one more top save and a free kick that went over the bar, but in general the boys showed how much they've learned from some recent late disappointments to see the game out without too much fuss.

Let there be no doubt about it, Ebbsfleet are an outstanding football team who thoroughly deserve their position at the top of the league, it was obvious to all why they are there, they play some very impressive football. But also let there be no doubt that the best team on the day won, the Giants raised their game to new levels and thoroughly deserved the 3 points. Every single one of them deserves huge amounts of praise, the only downside for them is that they've set themselves a bar now that they're going to have to work very hard to maintain, but for now, enjoy it boys, you deserve it.

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Sunday 6th November - Kent County Cup 2nd Round

Larkfield Boys 0 - 2 Langton Giants
Alfie x2

This match report is brought to you from 30,000 feet as our match reporter is on his way to Barcelona to teach the locals how to play football, judging by their performance in Manchester last week, they need some help. They could have done with watching our Giants today, who put on one of their most complete performances of the season earn their place in the 3rd round of the prestigious Kent FA County Cup. It was our first visit to fellow Kent Youth leaguers Larkfield and we were delighted to be welcomed by an excellent playing surface, dug-outs, nice changing rooms and permanent respect barriers to give the arena a stadium like feel. With Captain Tom still unavailable and Alf under the weather, we were delighted to welcome Simba back into the fold. We started well, Eddie and Connor carrying on with their full back duties from last week and both helping themselves to their best performances of the season, with Jack and Bertie continuing to dominate proceedings in the centre back positions. The Giants were the first to break though the oppositions rear guard, Elliot jinking through a couple of tackles and poking the ball into the path of Rudy who went in bravely but was denied by the outrushing goalkeeper. Luca took aim with a sweet strike from distance but it flew just wide before keeper James was called into his first meaningful piece of action, saving a long range effort down low to his right, it wouldn’t be his last action, by any stretch of the imagination. Brodie found some space and in turn found Alfie who powered forward but was felled near the corner flag. Luca bent in a beautiful cross to the back post, Jack Ponsford nearly getting enough on it to get the ball over the line, but it dribbled away to safety. Simba entered the game and added power and pace, holding the ball up smartly and linking well with his team mates, it was good to have him back. Just when it looked like we were taking control of the game, Larkfield looked for all the world that they were going to take the lead when a speculative effort from distance flew high and fast towards the top of the net. James had other ideas, leaping to his very highest point and throwing his right hand as far as it would reach, somehow getting enough on it to tip the ball onto the cross bar and over, away from danger. It can only be described as a ‘worldy’ which sounds ridiculous about a 12 year old boy, but it was that good, bringing a round of applause from all over the pitch. Perhaps this moment of brilliance gave the boys a lift as for the remainder of the half they dominated. Firstly Connor sent Alfie away, he beat a couple of challenges before one last defender denied him as he was about to pull the trigger. Pepper put the ball into the danger zone, it fell at Rudy’s feet 6 yards out but again we were denied by a last ditch block. Finally the pressure told though, Luca delivering a wonderful cross which Alfie met first time with an exquisite volley to open the scoring. Simba showed great strength to win the ball back and we countered, Brodie finding Ollie who turned and sprayed the ball out to Alfie first time, a sliding tackle earning us a corner. Up stepped Luca to deliver another excellent cross, with Alfie on the end of this one too, this time with his head, the ball flying into the roof of the net. Two nil, two Luca assists, two Alfie goals….. on his Mum’s birthday too!

Larkfield had shown enough in the first half for it to be clear this game was far from over and the boys needed to remain focused. Alf felt well enough to be able to give Connor a well-earned 15 minute break at the start of the half, and was his usual dogged, skilled and intelligent self, linking up with Alfie as well as usual. He was also switched on enough when a dangerous ball was played into the channels, reacting first with a well-timed tackle before Ollie showed great awareness to dart back into his own box and clear the danger. Rudy chipped a clever ball for Luca to volley, saved, before hitting the side netting with his own effort after a powerful run against the huge (and fast) Larkfield centre back. Then it was time for James to take centre stage again, this time from much closer range as for about the only time in the match he was left exposed from close range, again though he somehow pulled off a remarkable save, diving high to his right and getting two strong hands to the ball to parry it wide. Just superb. That was really was the only time Larkfield got a clear sight of goal close in though as Bertie and Jack continued to be in total command in that space. We’ve grown used to this high level of central defending from the outstanding Jack over the last couple of years but Bertie deserves great credit for adapting to the role with such aplomb in recent weeks, he was fantastic today. Brodie and Ollie were linking very well in the middle of the pitch, moving the ball quickly and helping us retain possession. Brodie performed a drag back and then produced another one of his trademark through balls which the keeper did well to come out and smother. Simba was looking lively and reminded us what we’d been missing when he showed great skill to nearly burst through the middle of everyone. There was one more scare though, Larkfield unlucky to hit the post from distance as they battled valiantly to get back into the match in what was a very closely fought contest all over the pitch. Alfie delivered a corner from the right which Jack Ponsford cleverly directed towards the back post, just wide, before Pepper produced a fantastic first time cross for Rudy to spin on, denied by a strong tackle. Talking of strong tackles, sadly Brodie had to leave the contest with some 20 minutes to spare after being on the end of a rather nasty one, which resulted in the perpetrator receiving a yellow card. Credit to the lad though, he did at least immediately apologise. In the closing minutes we were treated to an outrageous overhead kick effort from Pepper which would have just topped the day off perfectly and he was unlucky not to score at the back post, attacking the ball brilliantly from Elliot’s cross.

All in all a very fine performance and our first clean sheet of the season, thanks to some stunning goalkeeping but also to the whole team defending from the front. Onto the next round we go, let’s enjoy the journey!

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Sunday 30th October 2016

Phoenix Sports 3 - 3 Langton Giants
Elliot x 3

First and foremost, this was a cracking game of football. After a week off and a cup game in between, the Giants returned to league action, travelling to the Dartford area for a match up against a strong Phoenix Sports team who were sitting 3rd in the table after a very impressive set of results to start the season. Already missing Simba and Rudy we suffered a further blow when influential skipper Tom tried, but failed to over come a nasty foot injury. On the positive side though we were joined by striker Ben from our other u13 team for his second appearance of the season. We started well, very well in fact, firmly on the front foot, perhaps benefiting from a very competitive friendly match just 48hrs previously. Luca picked out Alfie with a peach of a cross field ball to play him in 1v1 but at a tight angle, his outstanding pace taking him clear but denied by a very good save as the goalkeeper got his position bang on. Alfie then had another view on goal thanks to a great little pass from Ollie, this effort just flying wide as we started to exert some attacking pressure. That pressure soon told, Elliot going on a brilliant mazy run into the penalty box, only to be unceremoniously dumped to the floor by a late tackle, winning a penalty for his efforts, which he got up to dispatch with the minimum of fuss to give us a deserved early lead. Bertie was playing at centre half along side Jack and the pair of them were winning everything that came their way, with Alf and Eddie and then Connor doing likewise at the full back positions, all protected by the insane work rate of Luca and Brodie in front of them. A minor rejig was required though when Luca fell victim to an accidental elbow to the nose which required medical attention. Sadly the hard work to earn the lead was undone when we were unable to close a shot down on the edge of the box and the ball sailed high over James' head to draw Phoenix level. Moments later Ollie struck a shot wide before Brodie cleared a header from a corner off the line, Connor blocked a shot at point blank range and James made a big save as the game became stretched, real end to end stuff. Unfortunately Phoenix were next to strike, a fine header from an excellent cross put them 2-1 up. These boys never roll over though and fought back, with Pepper and then Ben both doing a great job of unsettling the defenders and holding the ball up well in the striker role, with Pepper being incredibly unlucky not be awarded a free kick when tripped from behind as be broke clear on goal. Elliot and Alfie continued to terrorise the Phoenix full backs, the former going on another fantastic run into the penalty box but at a tight angle, unselfishly he pulled the ball back to Alfie who's well struck shot was very well saved, but the loose ball fell back to Elliot who showed great composure and quick feet to find the room to poke the ball into the back of the net under great pressure. In the moments before half time we were grateful to James for dashing out and making a very fine save to keep the scores level at half time.

Again we started the half well, Eddie playing a delightful ball to very nearly set Elliot away before Brodie spun in the midfield, lifted his head and played a great pass to Ollie who helped it onto the sprinting Alfie to beat the final defender and close down on the goal, again though the angle was tight at the goalkeeper put himself in exactly the right position to block the ball at the near post. Luca then found enough space to strike from distance but it flew narrowly wide before the play of the game saw us retake the lead. Bertie won a big header, the ball fell to Elliot and off he went, pinging the ball to Alfie who played a great 1-2 with Ben before playing the ball perfectly into the path of Elliot who was bursting into box and was able to strike it without breaking stride across the goalkeeper into the bottom far corner, just brilliant. 3-2 up but still 20 minutes to play and naturally the home team were always going to fight back strongly, and they did. James saved a well struck shot from distance, stopping the ball was relatively straight forward but it was vital there was no spillage as the striker raced in looking for the rebound but our number one showed safe hands and held on. Legs started to tire but the work rate didn't waiver, Connor putting in a couple of vital tackles and Eddie showing great awareness to come sprinting from his left back position to clear a dangerous ball. Alfie and Alf worked so well together as they always do down the right hand side, they're developing a really good understanding which bodes well for the future. During the closing minutes Phoenix came on strong, but the boys stood firm, none more so than Jack and Bertie who were both immense and the set the tone for the rest of the team who matched them every step of the way, it was real backs to the wall stuff but we remained a constant threat on the counter attack. Sadly with the final moments winding down a ball into the box wasn't cleared and an outstretched boot was able to loft the ball into the top corner to deny us all three points.

Still, in the cold light of day we will view this as an excellent result and to be honest, it was probably the fair result between two very well matched teams who gave everything throughout the match. Well done to all the boys and of course a special mention to Elliot for his brilliant hatrick.

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Sunday 16th October 2016 - KYL Cup 1st Round

Erith & Belvedere 4 - 0 Langton Giants

Despite a similar score line, this was a far more pleasing Sunday to last week as we took to the road to face the very strong Erith & Belvedere. Unfortunately even the journey was fraught with challenges, as with the M25 being closed it meant a number of the team were struggling to make it to the venue on time. Couldn't be helped but obviously not the greatest preparation for what we knew was going to be the toughest game of the season yet, seeing as they'd previously won games 16-0, 8-0 and 6-0 this season. As we lined up to start the match we only had 10 players on the pitch so when we saw Connor & Rudy sprinting towards the pitch we've never been more relieved! So at least we actually kicked off with a full compliment, but captain Tom was still stuck in the unrelenting traffic, unable to join us until half-time. The match started and it felt like we were facing an u16 team, not u13, as they had a number of simply enormous lads who towered over even our own biggest boys, we knew we were in for a difficult challenge but you could tell the boys were relishing it. They battled, fought and threw themselves into every challenge, Jack won untold headers at centre back, with Brodie and Ollie doing the same in front of him despite their more diminutive frames. As well as being enormous E&B have a weapon which is extremely difficult to defend against, a throw-in expert who can reach the penalty box from within his own half, which he did, every single time they got a thrown in. Football purists might suggest this isn't exactly making a major contribution to the development of young footballers, but in any event it is extremely effective. The ball came in high and long with great regularity, whether it be from the hand or the foot, it just kept coming, but time and time again the boys found a way to clear it. We tried to push forward but the sheer size of the opposition made it very hard to find any space and their athleticism made it almost impossible to escape the defenders clutches. Bertie and Connor were fighting admirably in the face on the onslaught, Alf came on and did the same despite suffering from a ricked-neck. With 10 mins to go in the half we were still level, thanks to some outstanding defensive effort from all 11 and two very good saves from the in-form James. Just when we started to feel like we were getting a grip, an excellent one-two on the edge of our box played their striker in and he made no mistake to slot the ball past James and open the scoring. Not to worry, the boys just carried on where they left off, battling for everything. Alfie and Elliot were being asked to get through a lot of running on the wings, something they both excel at and Pepper and Rudy were doing the same up top, with only limited return as the huge defenders held them at arms length..... which with these kids is quite a distance! Just before half time we were on the receiving end of our first bit of bad luck. Yet another unbelievably long throw-in went sailing into the box, very nearly going straight in, which was fine if it did as it wouldn't have counted, but it struck the underside of the cross bar, bounced down and was bundled over the line to double the Erith lead. This felt very harsh on the boys after such a good defensive performance. We came close the getting something back just before the break, Alfie showing great awareness to spot the keeper off his line with a first time effort from distance but the back tracking keeper was able to recover.

With Captain Tom arriving with fresh legs at half time, we were able to revert to our preferred formation and if anything, the second half performance was better than the first half. The tackles continued to fly in, Luca leading the way with a couple of real bone shakers early in the half, with Brodie and Ollie following suit just in front of him. We were also finding a way to play now too, Bertie leading Elliot forward with some excellent interceptions and passes and Alfie starting to give the E&B left sided players a really hard time. Rudy, then Pepper, were forced to do the job up front on their own now and both of them put in an incredible shift. There was one glimmer of hope that we might get back into the match, score-line wise. Connor won a big tackle, found Alfie who linked up wonderfully with Ollie to create some space and send a little ball round the corner for Pepper to run on to. He did everything perfectly, got the ball out from under his feet with his first touch and then ran across the front of the covering defender to take him out of the game and lifted his head up before striking a powerful shot on target, he couldn't have done any more. Unfortunately the E&B goalkeeper also did his job to perfection and was extremely quick off his line to close down the target and made a very good save. Centre backs Jack and Tom were pulling of tackle after tackle and winning everything in the air, despite the size of the opposition and Alf was his usual tenacious self, whether it be at right back or centre mid, also showing great vision with one lovely ball which was very close to playing Aflie in. James was brilliant all game, clutching the ball confidently when it came to him and really demonstrating how is his adapting to the 11-a-side game with some great starting positions to deny a number of E&B attacks. Sadly in the last 10 minutes we were on the receiving end of two more pieces of extreme bad luck which gave the score-line an unfair appearance. Firstly the Erith right winger sliced a cross which flew high up in the air but incredibly came back down into the top corner of the net..... but if we felt that was unlucky, it was nothing compared to when just a few minutes later Erith were awarded an very controversial free kick on the edge of the box, nobody had any idea what it was for, including the E&B lads who looked bemused too. To really rub salt into the wound, the free kick took an enormous deflection of the wall and flew into the top corner the opposite side of the goal from where it was aimed. Galling. In the closing minutes, Pepper, Alf and Brodie had to leave the pitch due to heavy challenges, none of which were awarded a free kick, all of which were significantly greater fouls than that which had been awarded against us.

The final whistle blew, the boys traipsed off knackered, beaten but not broken and with their heads held high, knowing they'd put in a hell of an effort and having in the main enjoyed the challenge. Credit to the E&B players who might be massive and very physical, but were also very sporting and showed great attitudes throughout, always seeing if our players were ok and helping them up, great to see. A week off next week then back to league action at the end of the month, can't wait!

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Sunday 9th October 2016

Langton Giants 0 - 3 Sevenoaks Town

Back to earth with a bump and a firm reminder of the competitiveness of this league. Today the boys failed to reach the high standards they'd achieved over the previous three weekends and were put to the sword by an excellent performance from the same Sevenoaks team they'd beaten 4-1 just a fortnight ago. With two key attacking players in Simba and Elliot missing a reshuffle was required. Things started well enough, Luca seeing a shot well saved down low after some good pressure had seen us win the ball high up the pitch. Soon though we were on the receiving end of an enormous stroke of luck, when after some very good interplay to create the chance, a Sevenoaks player struck a wonderful shot which some how hit the inside of the post, travelled across the goal line and hit the other post, before falling into the grateful arms of goalkeeper James. The Giants tried to take immediate advantage of that slice of luck, Alfie setting the ball back beautifully for Brodie to strike, again bringing a good save from the Sevenoaks goalkeeper. Jack and Tom were their usual dominant self in the middle of the defence, with Eddie and Alf filling the full back roles with aplomb, allowing Bertie to push forward to play on the left wing. As the half wore on the Giants were starting to struggle a bit, playing up the slope was proving challenging in the closing moments as Sevenoaks put us under enormous pressure. James came out bravely to deny a striker in a 1v1 situation, Connor produced a brilliantly timed tackle and later an equally well performed block to deny clear goal scoring opportunities, before James was called into action three times. The first was low to his left, a standard save for a goalkeeper of his quality, but the other two were out of this world. Somehow clawing both shots away from the net after they'd appeared to be going over his head, getting one out of danger and tipping the other onto the bar. Two inspired pieces of goalkeeping from our outstanding No.1.

0-0 at half time and we felt a little lucky to be so, but also felt good with the prospect of playing the second half down the slope. Again, it started well, Rudy producing a brilliant reverse pass into the path of a sprinting Bertie who shot wide under pressure, Brodie then setting the ball for Luca to hit which brought a scrambling save from the goalkeeper. Ollie was getting forward to support Rudy in providing pressure on the ball but, unlike two weeks ago, the Sevenoaks defenders dealt with it in an assured manner and were now playing some very impressive football, so when a shot flew high into the top corner from distance, giving James no chance, their lead was well deserved. Pepper was playing very smartly and using his energy to give us a good competitive edge, getting a couple of good shots away in the process. Unfortunately we then suffered a blow, and this one was very much of our own making. A goal kick was sent down the middle of the pitch, was pinched and after we failed to clear the ball, it was fired into the bottom corner to double the Sevenoaks lead. There was still time to get back into the game but we faced an uphill battle to do so, a new formation left us exposed at the back and we were grateful to James once again to make a stunning save from a pile driver of a shot. Forward we pushed, and to be honest, for the first time in the match, we were able to put some concerted pressure on the Sevenoaks defence as we desperately tried to find a way through their impressive back four. Pepper was unlucky with a well hit shot and then Brodie hit a fine effort that was brilliantly saved, Pepper doing a great job at following it up only for his rebounded effort to hit the goalkeeper from point blank range. Alfie was taking on the full back and causing some panic in the defence, very nearly breaking through on several occasions. Tom delivered a wonderful free kick at a dangerous angle, three Giants slid in at the back post, any one of them getting the slightest of touches would guarantee a goal, but none were able to stretch their legs long enough to do so. Another free kick, this time within shooting range, Luca sending it no more than a foot over the top corner. In the closing minutes, inevitably with so many players up the pitch, we were left exposed one more time and the Sevenoaks player sent a sumptuous shot from fully 30 yards into the top corner to add to our misery.

A bad day at the office for the Giants certainly, but full credit must go to Sevenoaks for a fantastic performance, they played some brilliant football today and thoroughly deserved the win, and the score line. No time for us to feel sorry for ourselves, we've got a daunting trip to Erith & Belvedere next week in the cup to look forward to, its time to bounce back. With 6 of the 7 goals in our matches at the Rec being scored going up the slope, I think we can put the idea of going downhill being an advantage firmly to bed!

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Sunday 2nd October 2016 - Kent County Cup 1st Round

Yalding & Laddingford A - W Langton Giants

A break from league competition this week as we faced new opposition in the form of Yalding & Laddingford in the County Cup, well I say new opposition, we'd faced them in the final of the Pembury Tournament in the summer, but new in terms of 11 aside football.

Y&L have recently moved to the Maidstone League and had started the season well. After two successive good performances the Giants boys were full of confidence and set about the opposition from the off. Pepper went on a strong run and then showed the awareness to release Alfie who ran through and finished smartly across the goalkeeper, completing the same trick moments later, this time being sent through by an excellent pass from Connor after he'd won the ball with a well timed tackle. Y&L continued to play a very high defensive line and once again found it breached by Alfie, this time thanks to a superb through ball from Bertiie, and he completed his quick fire hatrick with the minimum of fuss. After discussing the need for our defenders to release wingers quickly with the boys at training and before the match, it was especially pleasing that two of the goals came directly from quality passes from two full backs. With goalkeeper James unavailable due to injury, ever reliable Sam joined us and assumed responsibility between the sticks, putting in a faultless display and reminding us what a good goalkeeper he is, commanding his area and handling anything that came his way. Brodie nabbed a goal with a low drive from distance before setting Elliot up to score one with a clever pass. Pepper and Rudy were putting lots of pressure on the Y&L back four and helped us win the ball high up the pitch on numerous occasions, with Eddie and Ollie running the game in the central midfield positions. Ollie released Pepper who showed great pace and determination to fight his way ahead of the last defender only to be dragged to the floor. He jumped up though, dusted himself down and clinically tucked the resulting penalty away very calmly to deservedly claim his first competitive goal for the club. Alf was now in centre midfield and was controlling much of the game alongside Ollie, showing great trickery to keep the ball in tight spaces, which seemed to rub off on the other players as after a lovely Alf drag back, Brodie found Tom with a rabonna pass who in turn back-heeled to Bertie to deliver a first time cross which the goalkeeper did brilliantly to pluck from the sky with Pepper lurking at the back post. To finish the half, skipper Tom was released from his defensive duties and soon broke free and finished well to help himself to his first goal of the season.

In an attempt to keep the score down and aid development, the boys were moved about some more in the second half and were restricted to only being able to attack once 10 passes had been completed in our own half first. Naturally this put us under more pressure at the back and as a result, Y&L worked really hard to close us down and earned themselves two goals from doing so, Sam having no chance with the first one and unlucky with the second after he'd made a very good low save only for their striker to react quicker than our defenders. In-between those two goals Bertie scored one for us, following up a saved shot from Pepper after he'd been on a good run. It was pleasing to see Bertie get a goal, his change of position in recent years has seen his goal opportunities diminish significantly, but his quality has just continued to go up and up, putting in another outstanding performance today. Alfie's pace and intelligent movement continued to bring him rewards, scoring another quick fire hatrick to match his achievement of the first half. Despite all these goals, without question the strike of the day came from Y&L, a stunning first time finish from 30 yards right into the top corner to give Sam no chance at all and bring a round of applause from everyone. It was Jack's turn to move into midfield and was able to become an attacking threat almost immediately and after being thwarted on a couple of occasions, refused to be so a third time, creating his own counter-attack by winning the ball and simply steaming through the midfield and finishing like an experienced striker. Rudy had played in a number of different roles, including an interesting period as a centre-half, and as such his goal scoring chances were a bit restricted, but after setting up a few team mates efforts he was able to help himself to two excellent goals in the closing moments before the superb Ollie finished off the scoring when holding off a defender and finishing under the goalkeeper to grab HIS first goal for the club too, utterly deserved after 3 outstanding performances in a row from the midfield general.

Great credit to the boys for playing some superb stuff , despite many of them playing out of position for much of the match and equally to the Y&L boys for not giving up for a second and keeping going to the end, bring on round 2 !

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Sunday 25th September 2016

Sevenoaks Town 1 - 4 Langton Green
Rudy x2, Brodie x2

Game three of the Giants inaugural Kent Youth League season saw us travel the short distance to meet our friends at Sevenoaks Town, a team we knew very well after enjoying some highly competitive matches with them last season. Thanks to the recent good weather the pitch was quite firm and both teams struggled in the opening exchanges to get decent possession, but the hosts were the first to settle and were causing the Giants problems. No Luca or Eddie this week, so returning Simba took over next to Brodie as a CDM with Rudy given license to continue his lone striker role after his excellent display last week. Connor was playing as centre back next to Jack, with Bertie and Alf making up the rest of the defence in front of James. Coming off a very strong performance last week too, it was no great surprise when James made an excellent save at the near post, parrying a powerfully struck drive round the post. Unfortunately though this was undone from the resulting corner where a runner went untracked and was allowed to power a header into the bottom corner unchallenged. Naturally this gave Sevenoaks a boost and with their pacey attack were at this stage giving us real problems and it took an awful lot of effort to keep them from doubling their lead. At the other end we were struggling to cause them similar problems, our only real effort of note coming from right-back Alf who shot cleanly but wide from the corner of the box after Alfie set him up. 1 nil at half time was the very least Sevenoaks deserved, they'd been the better side.

A new formation was agreed for the second half, designed to put more pressure on the Sevenoaks back 4 and it worked..... very quickly, within seconds of the restart to be exact, when straight from the kick off we pushed forward, and Ollie found Rudy with a great pass and Rudy let fly with his magical left foot, sending a wonderful shot past the outstretched hand of the flying goalkeeper to level the scores. This settled the boys instantly and they were soon attacking at will, Alfie, and Elliot on the wings, Simba having joined Rudy up front was looking lively and with Brodie and OIllie pulling the strings behind them, the chances started to come. Alfie was fouled in a perfect spot for a left footed free kick so up stepped Elliot who hit it well and on-target, but was well saved. Then Alfie had two fantastic bits of play in the right wing in quick succession, firstly a great spin and shot saw the ball flay no-more than a foot wide before a similar effort brought a very good save out of the Sevenoaks 'keeper. It felt like a second goal was coming and so it proved. Captain Tom, who was helping himself to an outstanding second half, launched a free kick deep into the box, and with the goalkeeper unable to keep hold of the ball under enormous pressure, Brodie was johny-on-the-spot to poke home the loose ball and give us the lead for the first time. We continued to push forward, Pepper was giving the Sevenoaks defence nightmares with his closing down and work rate, Simba spun smartly but shot wide as we sought the comfort of a 3rd goal. All the while Jack, Tom, Alf, Connor and Bertie ensured James remained a total spectator, only touching the ball twice in the second half, both times being goal kicks. One lovely bit of play saw a cracking 1-2 between Bertie and Brodie, the latter firing his shot over the bar. Rudy was having himself another outstanding game and got his second goal of the match thanks to a fantastic solo effort where he beat three defenders before firing low past the despairing dive of the goalkeeper to give us that two goal cushion we craved. In the final moments a 4th goal was found, and what a goal it was. Firstly we were treated to the superb Alfie going in a mazy run that seemed to go on for ever as the Sevenoaks defenders were run ragged, before he set the ball back perfectly for Brodie to run on to and fire a magnificent first time shot rasping into the top corner from fully 25 yards out to complete the scoring.

An outstanding second half performance then resulting in a scoreline that was hard on Sevenoaks given their excellent first half display, and the Giants first ever win in the Kent Youth League. Well done to all the boys today, once again showing great ability and strength of character, none more so than Captain Tom, leading from the front as always, well done Skipper.

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Sunday 18th September 2016

Langton Giants 2 - 2 Maidstone United
Alfie, Elliot

What a difference a week makes.

After a tough start just 7 days ago but an intensive training session in-between, the Giants played in their first competitive match at the Rec for two years and with the striking new clubhouse now complete, were able to return in style, holding a pre-match talk in the plush new changing room before taking on their illustrious opponents who had impressively won every single league game they played last season and had opened with two win this season, so the boys knew they had their work cut out.

Fortunately, this only seemed to bring out the very best in all the boys as they put together one of their finest displays ever. James made an early save and released the ball quickly to set a counter attack which came to nothing, but set the tone for much of the rest of the game as the boys turned in an immense defensive performance and then hit Maidstone with pace and quality. Alfie surged forward down the right wing, Elliot the same on the other side with Ollie having an outstanding match in the attacking midfield role as the three of them got forward to support lone striker Rudy who put in a ridiculous shift, causing the Maidstone defence all sorts of problems throughout. It was from one of his excellent pieces of pressure high up the pitch that the opening goal came, when he forced the defender into an error which Alfie pounced on and after a quick burst into the box he fired home a brilliant finish into the far corner to open the scoring. Jack, Tom, Alf and Bertie were working fantastically as a defensive unit with Brodie and Luca providing an extra layer of protection just in front of them, both of them winning countless tackles and passing the ball intelligently to push the team forward. One such example came when Luca won a tackle, the ball fell to Brodie who spun neatly, skipped past two tackles before delivering a sumptuous through ball to play Alfie in who saw his well struck shot well saved. Connor and Eddie entered the fray and were quickly up to speed, Connor producing a meaty well timed challenge moments after coming on against the talented Maidstone left winger to announce his arrival. With Simba and Jack Pepper unavailable this week, Ben was drafted in to add to our attacking options and gave Rudy a well deserved breather up top, working really hard to make sure the pressure on the Maidstone defence didn't relent for a minute and very nearly scoring an absolute worldy from 30 yards out which the Maidstone goalkeeper did very well to stop, and then again to block Aflie's follow up from the rebound. Alfie went close again a few minutes later, striking narrowly wide after beating a defender. Elliot was causing havoc on the other wing every time he got the ball, linking up brilliantly with Bertie and Ollie especially and delivering with real quality. Luca continues to impress with his corners, one just missing Brodie's forehead at the back post.

Not much changed in the second half, Maidstone continued to play some excellent possession football, some of their movement off the ball was especially impressive, but our boys matched them every step of the way and when Elliot showed incredible bravery in the opening minutes to get on the end of Alfie's superbly delivered cross just a split second before being accidently clattered by the goalkeeper, the ball rolled into the back of the net to double our lead, a lead that was thoroughly deserved at that stage. Captain Tom had some asthma related problems so Bertie assumed centre half duties, something he did faultlessly, and ever flexible Eddie reverted to left back and put in an excellent display. 2 nil is always a dangerous lead to protect, especially against such a strong opponent, so it was pleasing how the boys stuck to their tasks, both Bertie and Brodie clearing Maidstone corners off the line after doing their jobs exactly as they'd been coached, whilst Jack, Alf and Connor tackled anyone in view, at every opportunity. Luca was immense has he battled in the middle of the park and found the sprinting Alfie and Rudy on numerous occasions with his raking cross field passes. Ben came back on and again put in a great effort, linking up intelligently with his team mates and showing a good ability to find space. On one such occasion, Alfie found him near the penalty spot, Ben took a great first touch and caught the shot sweetly enough but the ball flew no more than a foot wide. From being so close to being 3 up suddenly we found our lead halved when Maidstone scored a brilliant goal, a magnificent strike from a long way out that found the very top corner, giving James absolutely no chance. Captain Tom returned and was instantly defending like his life depended on it, with one especially memorable last ditch clearance when we struggled to get a corner away first time. At one moment it looked like they'd levelled, another brilliant strike that looked destined for the top corner only for James to pull off a miraculous save, leaping athletically backwards to tip the ball over the bar, it was a simply stunning piece of goalkeeping that brought a loud round of applause from all in attendance, including the very sporting Maidstone coaching team. James was again called into action to confidently clutch a high ball above his head as Maidstone went searching for the equalising goal. Unfortunately with just a few minutes remaining they found it, a tad fortunate perhaps, as a mishit shot looped up and over James, again giving him no chance, to equalise. At this stage the most important thing was to not lose a match that the boys had performed so magnificently in, but legs were tired and time seemed to be moving slowly. Only one real scare, a well hit free kick going over the bar with practically the last kick of the match.

The fact the boys were gutted at not winning speaks volumes, they knew they probably deserved to, but that shouldn't take anything away from the performance for one minute. Maidstone United are an outstanding team who play some brilliant football and for us to match them for the entire match is a hell of an achievement and something to build on for the rest of the season. Well done to each and everyone of them, 10/10.

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Sunday 11th September 2016

Tonbridge Angels 8 - 3 Langton Giants
Elliot, Simba, Brodie

So 6 years after a bunch of mop haired little boys took to a field in ill-fitting kit and needing their shoe-laces tied up every couple of minutes, the Giants took to the pitch in the prestigious Kent Youth League. Our opening game was to be against our good friends the Tonbridge Angels.

Things couldn't have got off to a worse start to be honest, a well struck Angels free kick sailing into the back of the net with barely 2 minutes gone. The boys looked a little shaken at first but soon started to get to grips with the match, Luca, Brodie and Ollie making in-roads in the centre of the pitch, with Elliot, Alfie and latterly Jack Pepper giving us good outlets on either wing. The next 20 minutes or so were competitive with both defences standing firm, Alf, Connor, Tom, Jack, Bertie and Eddie rotating in our back four positions to keep the talented Angels forwards away from James' goal. At the other end Rudy and Simba both put the Angels defence under pressure and when Simba pinched the ball from them high up the pitch he was able to play Elliot in against the outrushing keeper, a smart low finish tied the score up at 1-1. For the next 5 minutes or so the Giants enjoyed their best spell of the match, spending lots of it in the Angels half and looking dangerous. Angels counter attacked and looked for all the world like they were going to re-take the lead only for Jack Ponsford to launch himself into a goal saving tackle to clear the ball off the line, unfortunately his momentum carried him crashing into the post and our defensive lynchpin had to leave the field for the remainder of the half. A quick turn in the box and a powerful shot brought a very fine save from James down low to his left and from the resulting corner he cleared the danger with a strong double-fisted punch away. Unfortunately in the closing moments of the first half everything went wrong and we conceded 3 goals quickly (another free kick, a long range effort and a lightening fast counter attack) and ended up coming in at half time 4-1 down.

Understandably the boys looked a little shell shocked at being so far down after being so tight for much of the half. They were determined to start better and so they did, Rudy breaking free and unleashing a powerful shot which the goalkeeper did well to block, Simba picked up the loose ball and found himself enough space to loft a delightful chip calmly into the top corner to get a deserved goal back, and at 4-2 with plenty of time to go the contest was alive again. James then darted from his goal to save well with his feet but was beaten a minute later from range, closely followed by two more, one another free kick and the other from a corner kick that wasn't cleared. A bad period was eased somewhat when the Giants put together their finest football of the day to help themselves to a third goal. It started with Connor at right back finding Alfie who turned smartly and weaved his way into the centre circle to release Brodie, he passed the ball on first time to Elliot who returned the compliment to Brodie who had burst into the box and finished superbly with his left foot across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner. Sadly there was still time for another long range effort to find the back of the Giants net in the final minute.

A bad day at the office, but there were positives to be had, particularly with the 3 well worked goals against a team who are very strong defensively. The Angels were gracious in victory as always, agreeing that the score line flattered them somewhat, but they thoroughly deserved their victory. The main difference between the teams on the day was they made less mistakes than we did, rather than them outplaying us for large periods, which gives us plenty to work on and improve on in practice. Tough game follows next week boys, keep your heads up.