Ranger 2014 - 2015

Saturday, May 9th 2015

Langton Green Rangers 1 – 5 Rusthall

Goal: Jacob
Player of the Week:
James

Langton Green Rangers should be very proud of themselves for making it to the second-place play-off match in their first season and in the third division. Starting their season three divisions lower they have excelled themselves to get to where they are today. But in this match Rusthall proved that they deserved the second place. Results so far this season against Rusthall are two defeats and a draw and Rusthall were simply too good for a battling Rangers team that have given their all. Rusthall were on top of this game from the outset, with Rangers struggling to win the ball and then to retain possession – a pattern that persisted throughout the match. But Trisdon started brightly up front, chancing a long shot at goal early on. It was a brief spell of good pressure from Langton, in which Trisdon was instrumental, that led to the first goal. He made a lovely cross from close to the left corner flag and Jacob was perfectly positioned to strike the ball with some power. The Rusthall keeper couldn’t quite hold onto it and Langton were in the lead. Evan was showing his team-mates how to retain the ball in the centre and there were a few bright moments from Toby and Cam, but the Rangers often struggled to string enough passes together to create real threats after their first goal.

Dom linked up well with Jacob, who was returning the favour by supporting his defenders, on the right. Ethan, as he has so often this season, was fundamental to keeping his team in the game. Sustained pressure from Rusthall forced him into a great diving save. Despite getting a kick in the face for his efforts his carried bravely on. A nice run and cross from Trisdon found Cam in the right place for a shot, but he couldn’t quite convert the chance. Rusthall won a free kick from some way out and, to everyone’s surprise they lobbed it directly into the goal to equalise. Matthew C won the ball well and passed it out to his midfield with some composure at a couple of key moments. Ethan had made another couple more good saves before Rusthall’s constant pressure was rewarded with their second goal. Max Y made a few strong runs from midfield and Matt B was trying his hardest to supply his forwards with the ball, but generally Langton were giving the ball away too easily and struggling to win it back. James was the best player today, he came on to make a real impact at left back. He was very strong, well-positioned, and frequently stood up the Rusthall attackers until help could arrive. At half time and 1-3 down, and despite being under the cosh for most of the first half, Langton Green were still in the game.

James started the second half as he ended the first, looking like an absolute rock in defence and keeping his team in the game. His counterpart on the right, Euan, was also kept busy keeping the waves of Rusthall attackers at bay. Langton had a little more of the possession in the second half, but were struggling to put any good moves together against their excellent local rivals. Rusthall were not in the mood to be generous today and were giving nothing away. A couple of nice passing moves of note involved Matt B, Toby and Trisdon, and even four players were involved when Cam passed to Today, back to James and forward to Trisdon. There was no let up for Ethan in goal, as he made another couple of good saves. But then Rusthall won a penalty, which they took well and effectively put the game beyond Rangers’ reach. All credit to the team though, they kept battling until the end. A well struck free kick from Matthew C near the end forced a good save from the excellent, if underemployed, Rusthall keeper. But a well worked move by Rusthall ended with an unstoppable finish to make it 1-5.

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May 2nd

Rusthall 2 – 1 Langton Green Rangers

Goal: Will (penalty)
Player of the Week: Ethan

This was the biggest match of the season for the Rangers – a local derby, the last match of the league season, and the one that decided second and third places in division C. Ultimately it all came down to a couple of penalties, some excellent goalkeeping, and what was at times some fairly scrappy play. The Rangers can have no argument with the result – they were well beaten by the better team on the day – but should not be disappointed with a joint second place finish in this league. Starting the season several leagues below this one as two teams welded together they have put in an excellent season’s work, often played above themselves, and built a solid foundation for next season. The whole team should be extremely proud of themselves.

Rusthall started the match as they meant to go on, with an early shot on goal. Likewise, Ethan’s excellent save set the tone for his day’s work. Rusthall were physically strong and more accomplished at moving the ball around today. A nice lob over the Langton defenders soon gave them another shot on goal, but again Ethan made a great save. Although they got better as the game progressed, Langton started slowly and Rusthall were usually first to the ball and quick to win it back. Euan, however, was quick, alert and strong at right back, and it was good defensive play that kept the yellows in the game. They did look dangerous on the counter-attack though, with Will and Max D combining well on a couple of occasions to deliver some threat. Matt B and Trisdon came on to offer a little more steel the Rangers’ approach and Trisdon was full of strong running from the off. Rangers picked up a little, and Evan came into the game rather more, making some stronger tackles and blocks in the centre. Trisdon made a lovely cross from the left and Toby was in a great shooting position, but Rangers’ first scoring opportunity was just wide. Rusthall pressure paid off eventually, with a long shot through a forest of players in the goal mouth that somehow trickled over the line. Rather against the run of play at the other end, Rangers won a penalty and Will put it away with aplomb. Now they were level, the Rangers’ play went up a gear. Toby made a nice pass to Will who was haring towards goal but couldn’t quite stay on his feet under pressure from two defenders and the keeper. Trisdon finished a good run with a shot, but Rusthall had a good keeper too. It was 1-1 at half time and Ethan had been one of the Rangers’ busiest players.

Rusthall started the second half as they’d finished the first, rushing immediately into the Rangers’ goal mouth as soon as the whistle blew. Again, Langton looked like the second best team on the pitch, with Ethan making countless saves to keep them in the game. Matthew C and James battled valiantly to keep the Rusthall attack at bay, but Rangers were struggling to keep the ball under control and pass it around. Good passing moves were few and far between today, but the team showed good effort and commitment to the end. Trisdon kept up his frantic work rate and Max D increasingly worried the Rusthall defence. A long ball from Matthew C sent Will racing away, and he made a nice side pass to Max D, who hit it well, forcing a diving save from Rusthall’s keeper. Dom came on to help batten down Rangers’ defence and made a number of good tackles. But again Rusthall’s pressure paid off and won them a penalty to put them one up. Max Y looked increasingly lively and dangerous towards the end. It was his nice corner that fell to Toby, but it was just over. It wasn’t Langton’s day to day but they had done so well to get this far. A joint second place finish in the third league is a fair reflection of their excellent work over the whole season.

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April 18 - Friendly

Wadhurst United 3 - 4 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Will (3), Max D
Player of the week: Matthew C

The Rangers put in one of their best performances of the season today in a close-fought friendly. Despite playing a team placed second in a league above them, and having no substitutes to refresh tired legs, every single Langton player did well today, working very hard and showing excellent team work. It took the yellows a while to get into their stride however. Wadhurst went one-nil up very early in the first half from a well-worked goal, but Langton generally seemed lacking in energy and were too slow to the ball. In a slightly re-jigged formation Evan put in a solid performance in goal and Matt B and Max Y were working hard to control the midfield. Max was putting in some strong tackles while Matt B showed a few nice skills and some clever passes in an effective partnership. Jacob was finding some good positions on the right wing and was able to make a couple of nice crosses, but Langton didn’t really threaten the Wadhurst goal in the early stages. Langton’s defenders were perhaps the stars of today’s game, solid, well positioned, communicating well and passing nicely to the midfield. Instead of rash, last-ditch tackles, they held the attackers up well, enabling their midfielders to catch up and sort things out. Matthew C made central defence his own today, and fully deserved the player of the week accolade. On either side, James and Euan looked confident, composed and in control. They caught Wadhurst off-side twice early on and saved Evan from having to do too much in goal.

Langton started to get to grips with the game after 10 or 15 minutes. It was a nice passing movement between Max Y and Matthew C in the centre that sent Will scurrying away. He took the ball nicely past the keeper and finished well to make the game level. The teamwork was brilliant today, with everyone working as a unit. All the forward players made important interceptions at the back on more than one occasion, Jacob and Max Y particularly tracking back effectively. But Wadhurst are a strong team and a very well worked move put them back in the lead. A very strong run from Max D, through a thicket of defenders gave Will another scoring chance but the keeper made a great save. Jacob was there for the rebound but it went just over. At 1-2 down at half time the Rangers still looked very much in this game.

Langton started the second half with all guns blazing, Max D and Will looking unstoppable at times. Straight from the whistle Max D ran through the heart of the Wadhurst team, leaving several players in his wake, but he couldn’t quite get his shot away. In the second minute of the second half Will made a lovely weaving run past three defenders and tucked away a cracking finish to even the scores again. Then, only two minutes later, a tidy one-two between Will and Max D put Max in on goal and he made no mistake to give Langton a well-deserved lead. But Wadhurst were not cowed in the slightest, Evan having to run out from his goal line minutes later to clear the ball away from an on-rushing attacker. The whole team continued to battle hard, with no-one showing signs of tiredness despite Wadhurst freshening their side with substitutes – not an option for the Rangers. Langton don’t score too many from corners, but everything was going right for them in this spell. Will snuck in unmarked to get on the end of Max D’s corner to score his second hat-trick since Christmas and put Rangers 4-2 up.

And still Wadhurst didn’t give up. Evan was forced to make a terrific diving save to keep the ball out and Wadhurst continued to keep the pressure on. All credit to Rangers’ defence though, they didn’t get very many sights of goal. Their next chance gave Evan another chance to show off his acrobatic skills again though. He couldn’t hold on to the ball, but the shot from the rebound went just wide. Wadhurst’s pressure paid off though, when a very long free kick cut through the Langton defence to find their single striker in space and he pulled one back for the home side. The Rangers stayed focused to the end though and defended well right up the final whistle, when it finished 4-3. Excellent result, well done everyone.

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Saturday, March 28

Hailsham United Juniors 7 – 2 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Max D (pen), Hailsham OG
Player of the Week: Evan

A bad day at the office brought Rangers’ recent run of excellent form to a sudden end today. This was a harsh reminder of how, at this higher level, things can very suddenly go pear-shaped when the concentration lapses. Difficult pitch conditions and a gale-force wind can’t be blamed, because it was evens at half time and Rangers could easily have been one or two more up at that stage. It was really all about a second half loss of focus and some excellent goals scored by the opposition. The Rangers started brightly enough, with Max D and Toby looking like constant threats at the Hailsham end. Max D had a shot on goal very early on and won a corner. A pass from Toby set Jacob up soon after, but the Hailsham keeper was quick to react. Rangers’ defence looked lively, too. James showed some good skills and made some important tackles, while Matthew C was making some excellent positional decisions and some lovely long forward passes.

The early pressure paid off when Toby was fouled in the box and won a penalty. Max D made no mistake, low and hard into the corner to give Rangers a deserved lead. Matt B and Evan were working well in the centre, showing the way with their strong tackles, good control and well-taken defensive headers. A long pass from Matthew C sent Toby scampering down the left wing, from where he sent over a brilliant cross to Matt B, but again the keepers’ reactions were excellent. But Hailsham were a constant threat on the counter-attack and Ethan got hurt making a brave diving save at the feet of an attacker. A nice dribble from Toby set Max D up with a half chance, and he poked it past the keeper but it was fractionally wide. Max Y came on to inject some fighting spirit on the right wing, looking strong going forward and convincing tracking back too. But then, almost out of nowhere, Hailsham scored an equaliser. Almost immediately, the had another shot on goal. Then another. Euan was playing the ball nicely out of defence and Dom put in some good tackles, but the balance of the game had shifted after the Hailsham equaliser.

It all went wrong in the second half for Langton. Playing directly into a storm force wind didn’t help, but they had no answer to some brilliant play from the Hailsham number 11, and some of the greens’ forward play was unstoppable. But the Rangers took their foot off the gas and paid a heavy price. Rangers struggled to get the ball out of their own half and shipped six goals in quick succession. Luckily for them, two further goals were disallowed for off-side. But the yellows didn’t give up, and recovered from their shell-shock towards the end to put some of the pressure back on Hailsham. Toby shot wide and some nice forward play from Max Y resulted in an own goal from a Hailsham defender. Hopefully this result will act as a wake-up call in time for the Rangers’ next match, against top-of-the-table and unbeaten Ashurst Wood.

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Saturday 21st March

Langton Green Rangers 4-0 Ringmer Rovers

Goals: Jacob, Trisdon, Toby, Max D
Player of the week: Trisdon

Perhaps the Rangers were expecting an easy game today against the bottom placed team, but this match was a bit closer than the scoreline suggests. At only 1-0 up midway through the second half, in freezing and very windy conditions, tenacious Ringmer were still very much in this game and looking dangerous on the counter-attack. Despite having virtually all the possession in the first half, some of the Rangers’ passing wasn’t as accurate as it might have been and they lacked some clinical finishing in front of the goal. Langton started brightly enough, with Toby looking like he might dribble the ball all the way into the goal straight from the whistle. Matt B and Cam were linking up well in the centre and Toby continued to look threatening. In fact, he put a header just wide from a well-taken Max D corner very early on. Jacob was playing well, making some good passes, tracking back when necessary and looking keen to score. A nice dribble from Toby on the left gave him a shooting chance, but it was narrowly wide. Jacob returned the favour, putting Toby through on goal minutes later, but he was just off-side. Jacob was finding some good positions throughout the game, and he was in another when the ball came to him to score. It started with an overhead kick from Matt B on the left edge of the box, Max D got there and laid it on for Jacob, who was in lots of space and simply had to remain calm to hit the open goal. This should have been the first of many in the first half for Rangers but for all their possession they couldn’t increase their winning margin in a somewhat scrappy first half.

Trisdon came on and injected some much-needed fizz to the Langton attack. He looked glad to be back in the team, playing high-tempo, full commitment football. A long ball forward saw him race past two defenders at lightning speed and he just got his shot away before the Ringmer keeper was at his feet. He didn’t get enough power on his shot and the ball trickled too slowly towards the goal line and a Ringmer defender got there just in time to clear it. Matt B looked in control in the centre, getting forward a little more than usual. He showed a nice moment of keepy-uppy skill on the edge of the opposition penalty box but had his back to goal and couldn’t convert it into anything more useful. Max Y brought some of his customary vigour to the midfield and played an important part in a nice passing move down the right wing that involved Matt B and Jacob. The Langton defenders were able to keep a nice high line as the ball was rarely in their half. James, Euan and Matthew C all looked comfortable, well-organised and in control. Ethan got his first touch of the ball late in the first half, making one of his perfectly-timed runs to kick the ball away from the toes of an incoming Ringer forward. It was 1-0 at half time, but Langton should have been disappointed it wasn’t more.

The Rangers’ passing looked much better immediately the second half whistle went and Matt B, Jacob, Trisdon and Max Y were all able to get reasonable shots on goal early on. A lovely run from Max Y down the left gave him a shooting chance and Trisdon shot just over from the rebound off the keeper. Ringer were still very much in the match though, and launched dangerous counter-attacks on a couple of occasions. Euan made some good clearances, Matthew C made some controlled forward passes and James’ positioning and commitment at left back was excellent. Ethan had to make a diving save to stop a Ringmer free kick going in. When the Langton pressure finally told, it was a very nice goal indeed. A great run from Trisdon and a lovely one-two with Cam gave him the opportunity to power the ball into the back of the net and make it 2-0 to the Rangers.

Ringmer still wouldn’t give up though, and Dom came on at left back to make some important blocks and tackles. And Ethan was forced to make yet another great diving save. Some very strong running on the ball from Cam, Trisdon and Max D, who shrugged off several Ringmer defenders between then, enabled Toby to find some space on the right of the penalty box and make it 3-0. The next, and final goal was another nice piece of football. Trisdon, still full of beans, won the ball well on the edge of the box, passed it wide to Toby, who found Max D unmarked in the centre. He finished with aplomb to make it 4-0. Another solid result for the Rangers.

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Saturday, March 14th

Langton Rangers 4-0 Uckfield Grasshoppers
Goals: Eddie, Evan, Jacob, Toby
Player of the Week: Toby

Another battling display from Langton saw the home team come out on top in a hard fought game.

With a number of key players missing or unable to play due to being unwell, a smaller squad than normal took on an Uckfield team keen to extract revenge for our recent win.

A tight first 15 minutes saw some excellent tough tackling from our defence and midfield with Matthew, James and Dom looking solid. The frenetic first period saw mistakes from both teams until Eddie capitalised on a goalkeeping error to see his wicked cross go straight in. It was great to see the goal came about from the pressure that Toby and Eddie had put on their defence in the build-up. The goal immediately seemed to relax the boys and Langton started to take control with great work from Cameron and Max (Y) giving us the edge in midfield.

The second half saw a much more composed Rangers with Evan running the midfield with his able lieutenant Max, whilst Toby, Eddie and Jacob really pressurising the Uckfield defence. It was only a matter of time until Evan made it 2-0 with a smart finish. The Rangers confidence really blossomed which saw the defenders supporting the attack and some great 1-2s between James and Jacob and Dom and Eddie.

Jacob followed it up with a great third and then Toby's pressure on the defence really paid off with a fourth. With Ethan looking imperious in Defence the game fizzled out comfortably. Toby deservedly won man of the match and the team went home with a big smile on their faces.

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Saturday, March 7th

Langton Green Rangers 0-1 Ashurst Wood

Player of the Week: Euan

Today’s top of the table clash was always going to be a tough match for the Rangers, as well as a measure of how far they’ve really come since the start of this season. It was tough all right, but the good news is that this team has come an awfully long way from the two under-10 teams welded together in September. The organisation, effort, teamwork and commitment from the Rangers today was outstanding. Top of the table Ashurst Wood had swept every team before them since Christmas by a convincing margin, but this was the narrowest of victories and Langton will be realistically hoping to avenge their defeat in the return leg. This match was the toughest test of the Rangers’ defence probably all season and they passed with flying colours. Matthew C, Dom and Player of the Week Euan were brilliantly organised, focused and committed and virtually nothing got past them, despite Ashurst Wood possessing a couple of extremely fast and skilful attacking players. Right behind them, Ethan had another excellent game and was so keen to get involved in the game that he dribbled the ball out from his goal like a skilful outfield player on a couple of occasions. And more than once he timed runs out perfectly to kick the ball off the toe of advancing attackers.

Langton were under pressure immediately the whistle blew, but soaked it up well. Probably their best chance of the match came quite early on when Will, battling off three defenders, ran at the goal, got close but chipped it just over. But generally the Ashurst Wood were sitting very deep, ably mopping up most attacks and gave nothing away. Evan and Cam were strong and combative in the centre. Euan and Dom were blocking everything that came down the wings, and passing the ball out nicely. Matthew C was a rock in central defence as usual, but the defenders were under almost constant pressure as Langton struggled to create any chances for the forwards. Ethan made a great diving save, followed shortly after by running out to kick the ball away after the speedy attacker had beaten his defence. Ashurst Wood were playing a good passing game and looked a highly skilful team. They won a corner and had a shot go wide. This was quite a physical match and Langton were trying hard to not conceded a penalty because too much of the play was in their box. Ethan made yet another good save, but Ashurst Wood pounced on the rebound to give themselves the lead after about 15 minutes. It was testament to the brilliance of the Rangers’ defence that Ashurst Wood got hardly any other decent chances on goal after this, but it was an uphill task from now on for the yellows. Will was able to lose his marker a couple of times, and threaten the opposition goal, but threats were all Langton could muster in the first half. Max Y made some fantastic blocks and crunching tackles to keep his team in the game. The reds won another corner, which they sent flying just over. Toby came on to inject a bit of spark to the Langton forward play, but those defenders seemed to have everything covered, all the time. Langton started to put some better passing together towards the end of the first half and Matt B showed some nice skill in the centre. Will saw a shot go just wide and Matt B had one saved. One nil down at half time, but Langton had soaked up the pressure well and were matching the opposition in all areas.

In the second half Langton played some better football, stringing good passes together, and keeping more of the possession. Langton showed some nice skill and passing just on the edge of the opposition box. It started with a great clearance from Euan, then some nice interplay between Matt B and Evan, with Evan taking the shot, but it flew just over. Much more of the play was in the Ashurst half in the second period, but they still managed to get a shot on goal that went wide, and Euan was forced to make several strong clearances. Dom looked confident at left back, too, playing the ball forward nicely with good dribbling and passing. A free kick from Ashurst resulting in a slightly panic-stricken goalmouth scramble, but their final effort went wide. Jacob and Cam linked up nicely on the right wing as Langton played the ball forward well. Max D was pressing up the pitch well, too, but nobody could find that incisive pass or move to get past the meanest defence in the league. It was a great game to watch in the second half, with some exciting moves as both teams played some lovely football. But this match was about the defences of both teams, and they really were excellent. Langton soaked up more pressure well and always looked eager and threatening but they couldn’t quite find the equaliser. Maybe next time.

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Saturday, February 21st 2015

Langton Green Rangers 4-2 Hailsham United Juniors

Goals: Will (3), Max Y
Player of the Week: Will

Langton Green Rangers now look well-established in league 3 and today return to the top of the table, although probably only briefly. They continued their impressive unbeaten run, thanks in no small part to Will’s excellent return in front of goal. Today’s hat-trick takes his recent tally to seven in three matches. Snow delayed kick-off, but the Rangers themselves were a bit slow to get going in the first half. They held it together, but looked nothing like the team that played such an outstanding first half last weekend. Commitment and determination to win the ball was not at their recent high levels, and Hailsham often looked dangerous. Ethan had to be on his toes because the side in orange had an excellent pair of strikers that were unleashing powerful shots from distance and from all angles. But the Rangers were much better in their forward play, and it was end-to-end stuff at times. The front three of Will, Toby and Jacob were breaking quickly and skilfully and the Hailsham goal was frequently threatened. But Max Y, sometimes under-rated, often used as a utility player, but always determined, keeps improving with every match and he was first on the score sheet. He found himself almost on the bye-line and surrounded by several Hailsham defenders yet managed to get the ball in the net from an almost impossibly narrow angle to put the Rangers ahead.
Rangers kept up their new-found passing game fairly well, with James and Euan playing the ball out nicely from defence. The forward players were getting plenty of service and Jacob managed several shots at goal but couldn’t quite make any count. Evan, again playing centre half, looked accomplished in that position, making a number of vital interceptions. But Rangers were under a lot of pressure, and let Hailsham get to the ball first once too often to pull level. The yellows forward play was often too good for the oranges though, and it was a lovely cross from Jacob that found Will, who slotted it nicely into the bottom corner to put Rangers ahead again. Matt B kept up his usual work rate in the centre, performing that vitally important role of tackling, blocking, winning and distributing the ball. Cam was strong and steady alongside and looking increasingly hungry for a goal, judging by some of his forward positioning. Euan was effective at the back, tidying up and making some important clearances. Luck was also on the Rangers’ side today though. The Hailsham striker blasted a shot at Ethan, who did well to stop it, but the striker got another chance on the rebound and was unlucky to hit the post. The Hailsham strikers were a real handful throughout the whole match and shortly before time they blasted an unstoppable shot into the Rangers net to make it a reasonably fair 2-2 at half time.

Hailsham kept up their pressure in the second half, and managed a shot on the Langton goal within seconds of taking the centre kick. But Langton Green gradually found their rhythm and improved their work rate in the second half. A nice corner from Jacob found Matt B at the front post in a lovely shooting position, but the Hailsham keeper was quick and agile and he saved it well. Max Y continued to make some lovely dribbling runs and important tackles and Toby managed to pull a nice cross back from the byeline to Will, but yet again the keeper saved. A nice through ball from Jacob found Matt B on his own up front at one point, but he couldn’t beat the last defender. Things were starting to click, and some tasty little one-twos between Matt B and Jacob and Jacob and Max reflected a growing confidence and ability to find space. It was a through ball from Jacob that found Will eager to have a go and it was a beauty into the top left corner. Rangers were ahead again and they kept up the pressure, but always looked vulnerable on the counter attack. Ethan time his run out perfectly to kick the ball literally of the toe of an onrushing striker.

The pressure paid off when the Rangers won a free kick on the edge of the area. It was an absolute peach of a strike from Will, over and around the wall with such power that, even though the keeper got a hand to it, he couldn’t stop it going in. At 4-2 it might have sounded comfortable, but there were a few anxious moments in the last 15 minutes. Ethan was excellent again today, making another vital save at the feet of one of those big powerful strikers. Soon after though, he was beaten by an amazing strike from some way out and Rangers were lucky to see the ball fly off the post. Rangers had the ball in the back of the net soon after that, following some lovely interplay between Matt B, Jacob and Will, but it was just off-side. Hailsham then fired yet another shot just wide, then Ethan was very brave to make a save at feet. The yellow defenders were working hard to keep the attacks out, but Dom remained calm under pressure and Euan was mopping up effectively while maintaining an impressive volume. A strong header from Matt B forward to Will saw him unleash a lovely strike, but what an excellent diving save from the Hailsham keeper. It was exciting right to the end, with a couple of corners in succession from Hailsham causing frantic goalmouth scrambles in the Rangers’ box. Will was outstanding to the whistle, very close to the end making a lovely chip over a defender to play Max Y in with a chance, but he was unlucky to hit the side netting. Rangers’ results in this division so far are better than anyone could have hoped, and they are truly well-deserved. The real test of their mettle, however, is still to come, against Ashurst Wood, winners of all their games so far. Bring it on!

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February 14th 2015

Ringmer Rovers Junior 1 – 2 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Will (2)
Player of the week: Matt B

Not only are the Rangers already looking at home in division 3, they are starting to look they could challenge for top spot. This excellent win against tough opposition consolidates their second place in and the hard work and commitment that won them last week’s match was added to this week with signs of a beautiful passing game. And all this with a couple of key players missing and only one substitute available. Rangers started confidently and it couldn’t have gone better for them at the start. Within the first minute Jacob put in a lovely cross from the right wing to Will, whose toe was strong enough to poke the ball into the corner and put the Rangers ahead. The yellows were outstanding in the first half, stringing countless passes together, keeping the ball almost entirely in the Ringer half, pressing hard and winning the ball back immediately if they lost it. Jacob had a great game, posing a constant threat on the right wing, and Will was excellent throughout, latching onto forward passes and always troubling the defenders. But it was the passing and movement of the Langton boys that stood out in the first half. Even the defenders were at it – confident on the ball and starting moves from right at the back. Ethan spent more time involved in passing movements with Dom and Euan at the back than he did saving shots from Ringmer. Evan, playing out of his usual position at centre half, looked assured as usual, clearing up when necessary and maintaining a high line but didn’t actually have too much defending to do in the first half.

Just in front of Evan, much of the ball winning, retention and distribution was taken care of by Matt B, whose focus and energy were tremendous. Alongside him, Cam was rock solid as usual and taking no prisoners, and with the whole team’s confidence high he was up the pitch involved in several attacking moves. Toby made some lovely runs, and both he and Jacob were tracking back well when required. It was truly a great team effort. Langton’s pressure paid off with a corner, taken by Toby, Dom was in a good position to get a shot and Will was there for the rebound making no mistake and powering the ball into the top corner. That makes four goals in two games now from Will – an excellent strike rate. At 2-0 up Langton were looking imperious. A good cross from Toby found Cam, who got a toe to it, but his shot was fractionally wide. Max Y came on to inject some fresh energy and ideas in to the side, not that they needed it. The Ringmer keeper was kept busy, with more shots from Toby, Matt B, Will and Jacob, but he saved them all and the Rangers couldn’t add to their goal tally and put the game beyond reach, which is perhaps where it should have been, given their dominance of the game. Ringmer’s only shot on goal in the half was the last kick of the ball before the whistle went, and it was wide.

Ringmer weren’t for rolling over though, and came out fighting in the second half. Their second shot on goal came within the first minute of the second half. Rangers kept at it though, Matt B constantly working hard to win the ball, block the opposition’s forward play and put in some slide rule forward passes. Max Y’s strong persistent running and the way he shrugs off tackles was truly inspiring for his team mates. But the brilliant passing of the first half wasn’t working quite as well in the second, with a few going astray. And the yellows weren’t keeping their shape early in the first half as well as they had been doing. Some defensive confusion gave Ringmer and scoring opportunity but Ethan made a great diving save. The dark blues kept up the pressure and won a free kick, which rebounded out and could have gone anywhere but a Ringer player was on the end of it to unleash an unstoppable ferocious shot into the top corner. The whole complexion of the game changed for the next few minutes, as Ringmer ramped up the pressure. With their passing and shape gone a little awry, Langton were surviving largely on strong battling and determination. At times they looked a little more tired than the opposition, and at one point the sight of a triple substitution from Ringer was a little unnerving to say the least. But the Langton team spirit was brilliant and they kept working hard for each other.

But leading the battlers on, Matt B won the ball well right on the opposition by-line and passed to Toby, who won the Rangers a corner. Toby took it short to Dom, who made a great cross but nobody could get on the end of it. Dom and his defensive partners came into their own during this spell, making great last ditch tackles, working well together and catching Ringmer off-side at every opportunity. Nobody would have guess that Evan doesn’t play at centre half every week – a great show. Ethan’s goalkeeping skills were very useful during the second half and, as usual, he made several good diving saves. But as the Ranger’s parents increased the volume, the team got to grips with the game again, making the last ten or fifteen minutes very exciting to watch. Dom and Euan were playing the ball out of defence nicely again, Cam was back on and at full strength, putting in some nice passes forward. Matt B got a shot on goal, but just wide. The passing returned to its earlier brilliance, with some lovely interplay between Toby, Will and Max Y. Toby took a long free kick directly at the keeper, who had to be on his toes to get to it and hold on. Cam was right there if he’d have dropped it. Rangers now had the wind in their sales and at one point had three corners in succession from alternate sides. A nice flick on from Matt B gave Dom a chance to shoot, but the keeper was in the way. A smashing volley from Will near the front post forced the keeper to save to keep it out. Yet another corner found Cam near the front, forcing the keeper into yet another diving save. Rangers definitely finished the second half back on top of their game, but everyone was relieved when the whistle blew. It had been an incredibly hard-fought game against tough opposition, but a the fantastic result was very well deserved.

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February 7th 2015

Uckfield Grasshoppers Rockets 1 – 4 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Will (2), Toby, Max Y
Player of the Week: Ethan

Despite the bitterly cold weather, Langton Green Rangers were red hot today, in every department. Supreme effort and commitment from every player meant they were first to every ball, gave Uckfield no time or space to play, and enabled them to soak up huge amounts of pressure against very good opposition. And they were lethal on the counter attack, taking nearly every chance that came their way, and putting themselves, at least temporarily, top of division three. Despite all this, it could have been a very different result if Ethan hadn’t made two outstanding penalty saves. From the outset Max D and Will looked dangerous on the left wing, working together extremely well and Will forced the Uckfield keeper to make a save within the first minute. But Uckfield were a strong team and applied a lot of early pressure. Matt B played a nice ball out to Max D to set up a counter attacking move, and it was his partnership with Will again that gave Will a shooting chance. The keeper parried the first attempt and Will made sure with the second. It was one-nil up with only ten minutes played.

Nice partnerships across the Langton team made for an effective unit, and it was the pairing of the two Maxes that gave Max D the chance for a lovely volley across the face of the goal, but it was just wide. The Rangers’ defensive work was excellent, so while Uckfield saw a lot of the ball they just couldn’t get into the danger areas. Matthew C was utterly convincing at centre half, making some lovely headed clearances. James and Dom either side of him were efficiently covering and clearing up. With Matt B and Evan in the central engine room as usual and everyone doing their bit to track back, Uckfield were working hard but getting nowhere. Max Y found himself some useful space on the right wing to make a good pass to Will, but the keeper had his shot covered. On 15 minutes it was another precision pass from Matt B that found Max Y in acres of space. He made an explosive run and let loose a strong shot, which the keeper could only parry. Will was there waiting to bag his second. The Uckfield defenders simply couldn’t contain Will and he was off on another promising run when he got injured and had to come off. Toby, who’d been very industrious since coming on five minutes earlier took his place at centre forward. He played Cam in nicely, who made a good cross, but there was nobody on the end of it. Rangers didn’t have it all their own way, however, and Ethan had to make a couple of diving saves. Euan came on and was immediately pressed into action at right back, where he was intercepting and tidying up nicely. Uckfield won a penalty, but Ethan tipped it over beautifully to retain Langton’s comfortable lead. Uckfield continued to pile on the pressure but suddenly Toby was haring away on his own – nobody could catch him – and he placed the ball perfectly in the corner giving the keeper no chance and making it 3-0. Evan mixed in a few moments of lovely skill today, alongside his usual outstanding effort and commitment. He followed some lovely footwork high on the left wing seconds later with a sprint to made a last ditch covering tackle just outside the right of his own penalty area.

Rangers didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half, but it took another wonderful penalty save from Ethan within the first five minutes to retain their comfortable lead. Max Y continued to be a shining light of effort and running, winning the ball well, defending and attacking. He got his reward minutes later, when Toby won the ball well straight from an Uckfield goal kick and got a shot at the keeper, who couldn’t hold on to it. Max Y was in exactly the right spot for a powerful finish that gave the goalie no chance. Even at 0-4 down Uckfield were not going to roll over and Langton had to maintain their high tempo and focus. They were making counter attacks of their own, but unfortunately for them Ethan was playing a blinder, making several diving saves. And all despite nursing an injury that nearly stopped him from starting the game. Dom was getting stronger and stronger at right back, and on the other side James was neat and tidy and made a couple of important clearances.

Cam set Toby off on another high speed run, but he could only send his shot just wide. Toby’s tracking back and contribution to the team effort was a high calibre today. Cam was excellent at holding players off before starting useful attacking moves. Somewhat against the run of play, but probably deserved of their great efforts, Uckfield pulled a goal back – it was high and long and quite impressive. A perfect long pass from Matt B in the centre sent Max D away, one on one with the keeper. He did everything right, but his shot flew off the post. Within less than a minute a long kick from Ethan sent Max D away again. He got a toe to it, but it was very narrowly wide. Euan didn’t let his team mates rest on their laurels, keeping them in line with a constant stream of very loud instructions. But he was no armchair critic, walking his talk with some strong and incisive tackling right to the end. A great result today, and well deserved. Keep this up and the Rangers could go on to great things.

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January 24, 2015

Langton Green Rangers 2 – 2 Rusthall
Goals: Max D (2)

Player of the week: Max Y

In their first match of 2015, playing their first game in a league three divisions higher than before Christmas, on their lovely new home pitch at Ashurst, the Langton Green Rangers looked anything but fresh in the first half of this game. They were generally slow and lacking in enthusiasm and commitment for the first half hour. Luckily this was one of those well-known games of two halves and they came alive in the second to show what they are really made of. They could even have won their first match in league C but for a last minute equaliser from a strong and determined Rusthall side.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Langton in the first half, with Toby making some good early runs, Matt B working his socks off in the centre and Ethan making some good saves. Max D looked threatening when he got on the ball, making a couple of lovely runs, but most of the play was in the Langton half and the Rangers spent most of the time on the back foot. Rusthall had an early shot on goal, but it was just wide. Most of the attacking play was Rusthall’s but Ethan was diving left, right and forward to keep the scores level. Good defensive discipline from Langton caught Rusthall offside and stopped a good goalscoring opportunity. Evan came on to inject a bit of fighting spirit into the team but a Rusthall free kick went through and over everybody and straight into the top corner of Langton’s goal to give Rusthall a deserved lead. Langton improved after that, and a nice forward ball from Matt B to Max D and then on to Toby gave him two shots on goal, his attempt at the rebound hitting the post. That was the closest Langton came to a goal in the first half. Max Y was one of the Rangers livelier players, making a lovely run past three players down the left wing and winning a throw in. Rusthall’s number five was a constant threat throughout the game, and it took a perfectly timed tackle from Matthew C to stop him getting a one-on-one chance against the keeper. It was 0-1 at half time and the Rangers had done well to limit the damage to just the one goal.

An inspiring half-time team talk sent the boys out with an altogether different approach for the second half. Commitment, organisation, speed and focus all improved by about 50 per cent. Max D got an early shot in that skimmed across the face of the goal and was only just wide. The Rangers were on the attack from the outset, with Matthew C, Dom and Euan able to hold a much higher defensive line and keep the ball in the Rusthall half. Some ferocious tackling from Evan in the centre won him the ball and he spotted Max D in space and running forward. Max did well to hold off the defender and power a shot into the top right corner – brilliant finish. At 1-1 Langton put in some of their best play and nobody would have guessed they were playing three divisions higher than before Christmas. Some lovely forward play saw Jacob shoot just wide. The good combination between him and Max D saw Max shoot just wide. It was suddenly all going right for Langton Green. A nice ball from Matt B gave Max Y space to run into and he played a great ball into Max D who was just in front of goal. He’s a cool customer when he’s in sight of goal and it was a clinical finish that put the Rangers ahead.

Langton then took their foot of the gas a little and let Rusthall back into the game. The opposition had a shot on goal that narrowly missed the post and shortly afterwards it was only Evan’s last ditch, no holds barred, throwing of his whole body in front of the ball that denied another clear shooting opportunity. This was quite a physical game, with far more fouls and free kicks than usual. Cam was another who made his presence felt in crucial areas and took no prisoners, Euan also getting stuck in at important moments. Toby made a number of good runs, looking skilful, but couldn’t get an end result. Rusthall sensed that they had a bit more time and space and Langton were clinging on for the last five minutes or so. In fact, it all got a bit frantic towards the end. A goalmouth scramble at the wrong end and the ball finally trickled over Langton’s goal line to make it 2-2. Langton didn’t give up though, and Max Y in particular was showing the way with outstanding effort and commitment. A ball out from Matt B to Max D sent Max Y haring towards the goal looking for a fairy-tale finish, but he was fractionally off-side. Great link-up work between the two Maxes saw Max D brought down on the edge of the box. Langton’s free kick was virtually their last kick of the game but they couldn’t score and the game ended as a hard-fought, evenly-matched draw. If the Rangers can play whole matches like they did in the second half they could do very well in this league, but today was a good taste of what they’ll be up against every week.

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Saturday, November 29th

Tonbridge Junior Sopranos 6 – 0 Langton Green Rangers
Player of the Week: Ethan

This inter-divisional match against the team currently top of the premier league was always going to be a challenge. The Ranges rose to it well, with a supreme team effort from all the players that showed great commitment and determination from everyone. The two teams were closer than the final score suggests and, certainly in the first half, the Rangers gave the Sopranos a run for their money. It took the Rangers about three minutes to get going, however, and by then Tonbridge had already netted an early goal that caught Langton rather off guard. But the Rangers fought back straight away from the centre kick, although the ball was immediately back in their half as Tonbridge fired a shot over. Rangers started to build some good moves from then on, with Will a constant threat to the Tonbridge defence and looking the most likely to score. A good ball from Matt B in the centre sent Trisdon on his way, and another good pass to Will left him one on one with the last defender. A foul gave Max D the chance at a free kick from fairly close, but it went straight into the wall. Some good work between Max D and Will gave Max a good chance on goal, but just wide. The Rangers were pinned in their own half for much of this game, but defended well, and played some good balls up to Will, who was finding all the right spaces and keeping Tonbridge on their toes. Matt B and Evan were the stalwarts in midfield, holding everything together. Evan was again outstanding, giving 110 per cent, apparently being everywhere on the pitch and timing strong tackles perfectly.

But heroics were taking place in defence too. James dived in brilliantly to clear the ball off the goal line at one point. Matthew C was commanding, with some strong and tidy work at the centre of defence. Ethan was not player of the week for nothing – this was his busiest day’s work yet for the Rangers. He made countless excellent saves. Likewise, Tonbridge are not top of the premier league for nothing, and their class showed in their organisation, strength and awareness. Euan unfortunately felt the full force of their strength and had to come off injured about halfway through the first half. He had been fearless and extremely busy up until then. Max Y was running up and down the pitch at full pelt, one minute attacking, the next defending. At one point he tracked a Tonbridge player all the way back before catching him in defence with a well-timed tackle. A moment later he was putting the Tonbridge striker under just enough pressure to make him fluff his shot. When the half time whistle went at 0-2 down Langton Green were still very much in this match.

With Euan injured and James leaving early, both Maxes were forced to play as full backs out of their usual positions. But nobody would have guessed they didn’t play there every week – they both looked confident and capable. But the pressure from Tonbridge was unrelenting and a long powerful shot soon put them three up. A lovely pass from Evan sent Jacob away at one point, but the goalie was as good as the rest of his team and saved it well. Toby was also playing in a different position, just in front of defence. But again he looked right at home, with strong tackles and good positioning. But their constant efforts and shortage of subs inevitably started to grind Langton Green down, largely through sheer tiredness. They were struggling to get as many balls forward to their attackers and at times were fighting bravely to stay in the game. A goalmouth scramble gave Tonbridge their fourth goal. Two more goals game shortly after. But for the heroics of Ethan in goal the scoreline could have been much much worse. He was diving left and right and his short stopping was brilliant. Langton never let their heads drop though. An incisive pass from Max D sent Will scampering forward, and it was only the last defender that stopped him scoring. A couple of lovely through balls from Matt B sent Will and Jacob running at the Tonbridge defence on separate occasions, but however hard they tried Langton couldn’t get themselves on the scoresheet. It was a brave effort from the whole team that made the coaches and parents proud and hopefully inspired the boys to aim for the higher divisions.

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Saturday, November 22nd

Langton Green Rangers 8 – 1 Uckfield Jets

Will (4), Toby (3), Cam
Players of the Week: Joint Cam and Max Y

The Rangers played some beautiful football today to lift themselves into second position in the table. The finishing from Will and Toby was excellent, but it was the midfield engine room today that excelled themselves, providing a constant stream of opportunities for the attackers to run at the Uckfield defence. Cam and Max Y played out of the skins today and were absolutely colossal in midfield. Langton looked bright from the outset, despite the driving rain and muddy conditions. The first of many lovely forward balls from Matt B set Will running down the right wing in the first of many attacking moves that kept Uckfield constantly on the back foot. A nice throw in from James on the left sent Toby forward, he made a lovely cross but nobody was there to meet it. The passing and movement was awesome at times from the Rangers, with good interplay from the whole team. Max, Matt B, Toby and Will put some good combinations together. But the ball was played out from the back nicely too, with Matthew C, Dom and James looking composed when passing their midfielders into space. It was a throw in to Will that led to the first goal. He was strong, holding off two defenders with this shoulders while keeping control of the ball and shooting calmly into the left corner. Uckfield weren’t just here for the ride though, and they won a free kick dangerously close to the Langton goal. Excellent defending saw the threat off though. Will’s running was tireless, often from the half way line. The defenders kept a high line, allowing the midfielders to play further forward than usual. Matt B and Cam both looked like they wanted to score a goal today and they were able to leave the defending to their very capable team mates. Dom played the ball out to Cam on the right wing as a lovely move built down that side. He ran forward and passed to Will who added another great finish to put the Rangers two up.

It was a handball from Uckfield, who were feeling the pressure at this point, that gave Rangers a penalty. Will stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the corner for his hat-trick. And only 15 minutes had been played. He was not in the slightest bit flustered when asked to re-take the penalty because of an infringement and calmly slotted the ball the other side. Three-nil to Langton Green. But Uckfield continued to press, winning a couple of corners and forcing a good save from Ethan. Langton looked in control at this stage but couldn’t add any more goals this half, although Jacob hit the side netting just before half time.

The rain eased off in the second half but the Rangers didn’t. They stepped up the style, put together some lovely moves and showed off some brilliant solo efforts as their confidence grew. Max Y could turn into the revelation of this season if he keeps on improving at this rate. Last season’s utility player who sometimes looked short of confidence is growing into this season’s box-to-box midfielder with strength, pace and a dangerous looking shot. He set off on a brilliant solo run just inside the opposition half, dribbled around three Uckfield players and let rip with a powerful shot, but the Uckfield keeper was a good one and he saved well. Everyone felt like having a go at dribbling today, with Toby displaying silky skills as he bobbed and weaved around the opposition. Cam, with a style of his own, was also leaving Uckfield players in his wake as he charged forward. A scintillating run from Toby left the Jets no chance of keeping up, and with his greatly improved finishing skills slotted home Rangers’ fourth goal. But with the Rangers constantly pouring forward, the slightest slip was always going to leave the vulnerable to the counterattack. And so it was, rather against the run of play, the Uckfield Jets pulled a goal back. Cameron looked so determined to score a goal today, and so convinced that he could, it only seemed a matter of time before he did. But it took a while. A lovely run down the centre was only stopped by the keeper diving at his feet. Max Y wanted his name on the scoresheet too, and his belief seemed to be taking him past anyone and everyone whenever he got the chance. He nearly finished off a run from the centre line, though a thicket of defenders, but the Uckfield goalie was on top of his game today. Moments later he was defending with a tackle of exquisite timing, power and control. It was a joy to watch at times.

Every player took part in some of these passing moves, the team notching up nearly as many completed passes today as they have in the rest of the season. Toby was beating defenders at will and finished off a twinkle toes move with the outside of his boot for his second goal. He and Matt B looked so at home with the ball they both completed impressive looking back heel passes. Max won the ball well in the centre again, a lovely dribble and a peach of a pass to Toby, who scored his hat-trick to put the Rangers 6-1 up. Cam was still on his mission to score, but still defied by the keeper. He certainly deserved a goal, cutting inside beautifully at one point before shooting, but again the keeper was there. Dom was strong and brave at right back, playing on through a painful injury. Matthew C resembled a younger Booby Moore at times, as he surged forward from defence with the ball. Cam was doing everything except scoring, setting Will up for another chance to run at goal and he was making no mistakes today as he netted his fourth – that’s seven goals in two matches now. The Rangers were in overdrive now, excellent in all departments. All that remained was for Cam to score his well-deserved goal. In the end it didn’t come as a result of one of his brilliant runs, but from a goal mouth melee following a corner. The muddiest player on the pitch finally got his goal and he didn’t care how he’d scored it. 8-1 to Langton Green! The home team didn’t take their foot off the gas and looked like they could have played for another half an hour. Cam hit the post near the end and even Dom was so far forward he managed a good shot on goal, but they couldn’t increase their score. It was a well-deserved victory, borne out of excellent team work, individual effort and skill, and a thoroughly entertaining game to watch.

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Saturday, November 15th

Yalding & Laddingford 1 – 4 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Will (3), Toby
Player of the Week: Will

Plenty of shooting practice at training sessions paid off handsomely today, but it was Will in particular whose clinical finishing made the difference today bagging three of Rangers’ four goals. But aside from improving their recent profligacy in front of goal, this was a thoroughly solid performance by the whole team. Everybody was on form today, they all worked hard and they all stayed focused. Smaller pitches have hampered Langton in the past but some excellent passing and movement more than compensated for the lack of space. Langton started the better team, with Evan continuing his recent excellent form commanding the centre of the pitch brilliantly in partnership with Matt B. Jacob had a good game today, controlling the ball well, and linking with team mates in some lovely passing movements down the right hand side. Will was excellent in many ways today, but he was repeatedly successful at intercepting the Yalding keeper’s kicks, which kept Yalding under sustained pressure for long periods. Euan looked strong and confident today, moving forward with conviction and sending some lovely long passes forward to his team mates. In fact, it was a clever back pass from Jacob that gave Euan the chance to send a long one forward from the halfway line to Will, who always looked like he was going to score. And he did, to put the Rangers one up. The Rangers were peppering the Yalding goal with shots for the first quarter of the game – Jacob, Toby, Evan and Matt B all having a go. Confidence was high and the yellows had the work rate to match.

Langton were doing all the basic stuff right, but there were some lovely skilful moments in their too: a lovely turn and pass from Will, an amazing dribbling run from Toby, and flashy footwork from Matt B. Dom looked strong and confident at left back and James excelled himself at right back winning balls, starting forward moves, and always in the right position. The whole defence was kept in order as usual with no messing from the captain Matthew C. A perfect pass from Jacob found Toby well positioned in front of goal to fire off a superb strike into the left corner and give the Rangers a two goal advantage. A great long ball from Evan found Will near the left post and he met it well with his head, but it skimmed the outside of the post. This was just one of many good headers today, both defensive and attacking, and an area where the whole team continues to improve. Nice headers were spotted today from Jacob, Toby, Matt B, Matthew C, Evan and James. Another great set up from Jacob saw Will bearing down on goal again. It looked like it came off his toe, but no matter it flew into the right hand side netting and the Rangers looked to be cruising. Whenever Toby’s blue touch paper was lit he was off like a rocket, often leaving several Yalding players in his wake. A good final touch at the end of these runs and the goals would become an avalanche. Langton lost a little focus towards the end of the first half and Yalding, a very good team, never gave up and got back into the match a bit more. They hit the cross bar towards the end of the first half but couldn’t quite make their efforts count.

Max Y hit the ground running at the start of the second half, and is looking increasingly comfortable in a more forward role than he’s played in the past. A lovely little dribble sent Trisdon racing forward at one point. He didn’t score, but won a corner. Anything could have happened from the resulting goalmouth scramble but it was Will again who got the decisive toe to the ball to score his hat-trick and put Langton 4-0 up. It could have turned into a rout at this stage and although Langton kept the pressure up their hard work for the rest of the game didn’t bring them any more goals. Ethan didn’t have too much to do today, aside from a couple of perfectly timed runs out to meet onrushing attackers, with his defence looking so strong and capable and Yalding given little time on the ball. Matthew C found himself as the last man a couple of times, but always beat the attacker to the ball. James played some lovely balls down the line and in particularly nice move kept running to make a delightful one-two with Toby down the left. Dom was battling well and rarely beaten at right back.

Langton won several corners in this game and, although they were helped by the small pitch, Matt B, Trisdon and Toby all floated in some great balls into the central danger area. It was Trisdon who flicked on a Matt B corner with his head to give Max Y a good chance, but he couldn’t quite convert it. During a ten minute spell in the second half the Rangers’ tempo dipped a little and they found themselves penned back inside their own half. It was in this spell that Yalding pulled one back with a powerful shot that gave Ethan no chance. It was also during this spell that Matthew C made a superb run back to cover James at right back and clear the ball into safety. He’s not the captain for nothing! Langton picked it up again and started to dominate as they had earlier in the game. A wonderful solo effort from Toby left several Yalding players in his wake and his final shot looked good, but just skimmed the far post. Langton started this match just one place above Yalding & Laddingford in the league, but on this sort of form they look like more than a match for anyone in the league. If they can keep this up and finish off a few more of their chances, they could be challenging for top spot.

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November 8th, away at Edenbridge

Raw Skills Bears 0 – 3 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Trisdon (2), Max D
Player of the Week: Trisdon

The casual observer would never have guessed that the Rangers were playing a team today that currently sits two leagues above them. Langton Green were on top form and more than a match for the team from Edenbridge in this inter-divisional game. In fact, if it wasn’t for a lack of composure in front of goal from the yellows the scoreline could easily have been doubled and this would have been a fair reflection of the balance of play. The Rangers had most of the possession, nearly all of the shots on goal, and some of their passing and positioning was excellent. They started well, no doubt glad that the rain has stopped, with some good passing moves. Euan and Dom looked composed and confident in the full back positions, and started off some good attacking moves. Langton won a couple of free kicks early on but couldn’t build on them. Then Max D sent a lovely ball across the front of goal from a corner but there were not yellow shirts there for the tap in. Max D looked one of the brightest and liveliest players early on, and was the first to take a shot at goal. Then a lovely double one-two with Toby gave him a good scoring opportunity and he made no mistake, passing the ball calmly between the keeper’s legs to put the Rangers one up. Although the Rangers had the upper hand, they didn’t have it all their own way, Ethan forced to bravely challenge an on-rushing attacker early on – he timed his kick perfectly. Max D was incredibly busy in the first half, hitting the post, taking another great corner only for no Rangers to be in the right position, and making some good runs down the left wing.

Matt B was working hard alongside Evan in central midfield, always making sure they were first to the ball and generally giving their full commitment to every tackle. An incisive through ball from Matt B put Toby in on goal, and he nearly put the Rangers two up. A lot of the opposition’s attacking moves came down Langton Green’s left, and Dom was strong and fully engaged in keeping them at bay. Jacob made a good run down the right side and a nice pass to Toby, who was now on the right. Toby was running all over the place today at top speed and the Red and black opposition simply couldn’t keep up with him. Trisdon came on and was bursting with energy, desperate to score a goal. This was a great spell from the Rangers and the Raw Skills barely got a look in. Jacob forced a great save from a lovely shot out on the right. Trisdon sent a peach of a cross in from the right wing and Max Y very nearly converted into Rangers’ second. A good pass from Max gave Trisdon his best scoring opportunity yet and, even though the keeper got his finger tips to it, it was too hot to handle. All Trisdon’s hard work was rewarded with the Rangers’ second goal just before half time.

Langton started the second half two goals up and brimming with confidence and desire. Trisdon immediately set Max Y up with a chance, but it was straight at the grateful goalie. Trisdon then set Jacob up with a good chance, but it went wide. Then Max Y repaid Tris with a lovely through ball but Trisdon was just off-side. Max then set up Evan with a chance to run at goal, but there were simply too many defenders in the way. But this game wasn’t just about the forward play, Matthew C, James and Euan were always well positioned, understanding each other, in control of the ball as well as the attacking players. It really was a great team effort all around. There was a brief spell of about five minutes early in the second half when Raw Skills seemed to have a little more of the possession and there was a danger than Langton might lose focus and concentration, as they have done in other games this season. But that was soon forgotten as Jacob made a lovely run past several players and along most of the length of the pitch, his cross was good but the keeper was there fractionally before Trisdon’s boot. Toby had several good chances today, but simply couldn’t make any of them count. It wasn’t for lack of effort though, his runs with and without the ball today were excellent. One such great run gave him a shooting chance, but it was fractionally wide, the a powerfully taken free kick was well saved by the keeper. A lovely move started by Max Y deep in midfield carried the ball to Jacob, who passed to Trisdon, who fired the ball into the corner for his second, and Rangers’ third, of the day.

At 3-0 up it was all about the Rangers’ forward play and Trisdon’s boundless energy and enthusiasm in his attempts to get his hat-trick. Trisdon, Toby, Max D and Max Y, Matt B and Jacob all had shots on goal. Depending on how you looked at it, it was either brilliant approach play, movement and positioning to create so many chances, or wasteful finishing to not put more of them in the back of the net. Langton used the width of the pitch particularly well today, creating space for themselves and stretching the opposition. Ethan had a fairly quiet game today, but at one point he timed a run out absolutely perfectly to kick the ball off the toes of an attacker. Toward the end it seemed to be a case of damage limitation for the Raw Skills, who barely escaped from their own half. Langton never took their feet off the gas, keeping their shape well, maintaining the pace and always pushing forward. It was a very well deserved, convincing victory, but the potential avalanche of goals never quite happened. The team enjoyed themselves today, and looked full of running even at the end. Perhaps another five minutes and they might have scored three more, but well done for the brilliant team effort.

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Saturday, October 25th

Kingston Village 4 – 2 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Max D (2)
Player of the Week: Max D

A superb free kick and an excellent finish from Max D gave the Rangers a result that ultimately flattered to deceive anyone that this game had been as close as the scoreline suggested. This was the Rangers’ heaviest league defeat of the season, allowing Kingston to leapfrog them in the table as they dropped to third, and they were far from their best. The match started off evenly enough, Kingston shooting wide from a counter attack, but quickly followed by a good pass by Will out wide to Jacob, who forced the keeper to make a good high save. But Langton Green were soon under pressure, struggling to find any space on this small and slippery pitch. Will was the Rangers’ biggest threat going forward in the first half, and he also played his team mates in with some excellent passes. The small pitch meant that Ethan’s kicks from goal immediately became attacking moves, and one early in the game found Toby ready to burst forward but he couldn’t get past the four defenders that were in his way. Headers were possibly the Rangers’ strongest point to day, with Evan, Matt B and Matthew C all connecting well and bravely in central positions. Another long kick from Ethan was beautifully brought down by Will, who played Toby in behind the Kingston defence but again he was outnumbered. Another great ball out to Jacob in a wide right position gave him an opportunity to run at the defence, but Kingston were not letting anyone past today.

The game got rather scrappy about this point, with neither team able to string many passes together, and Langton’s lack of communication meant that often players in space weren’t spotted and more than one yellow shirt was going for the same ball. The defence, still suffering the after effects of last night’s sleepover, looked all at sea on occasions. But the first Kingston goal was a good one that would have beaten most defences. It was a powerful shot, low and hard, from out on the left, and was always heading into the goal.
A triple substitution injected some life into the yellows, with Trisdon in particular full of energy and running. He combined nicely with Will soon after coming on. Will’s first touch was lovely, but his second went wide of the post by no more than a millimetre. Dom combined well with both Toby and Evan to start off moves from left back. Evan was hugely influential again today, fighting for every tackle, always well positioned, and often keeping his team in the game with his great efforts. But the rest of his team weren’t up to his level today, and the Kingston number 12 found himself unmarked right in front of goal for the easiest of finishes to make it 2-0. The Rangers didn’t give up, however, and Cam soon found himself up front in an ideal shooting position. He connected well with good power, but sent it just wide. Ethan was kept busy today and played well, his kicks out highly influential, and he made a couple of perfectly timed runs to take the ball off the foot of an on-rushing red attacker. A diving save helped to keep the scoreline respectable. But nobody could grumble at being 0-2 down at half time.

Trisdon started the second half as he finished the first, chasing every forward ball for all he was worth. But on the whole, the midfield were too static and at times Langton Green simply didn’t look up for it today. Another well-taken strike from Kingston put them 3-0 up and it looked like the match could turn into a rout at this point. But the yellows trudged bravely on, with several, such as Matthew C, Euan and Dom, fighting their way back from various injuries. Some good interplay between Max and Trisdon provided an outlet for the Rangers. But make no mistake, they were under the cosh at this point. Their 5-0 win at home against this team earlier in the season seemed like a very distant memory.

But then a Kingston hand ball gave the Rangers a free kick just outside the area. The box was packed full of the whole Kingston team and they’d put four in their wall, but Max stroked it perfectly around the wall with his favoured left foot and into the top left corner to pull one back for the Rangers. Then, possibly the only time Langton had strung three decent passes together in the whole match, Matt B played Toby in with a perceptive pass, a short run and pass from Toby to Max and Max sped off towards the Kingston keeper, he halted his run briefly to fool the keeper and passed the ball clinically into the corner – fantastic goal. At 2-3 the Rangers suddenly got a new lease of life and for ten minutes anything looked possible. They won a couple of corners and the belief was flowing through the team again. Even though Kingston added another to make it 2-4, the Rangers had saved their best till last. Another good free kick by Max rebounded to give both Jacob and Dom half chances to score. Max’s free kick from just past the half way line forced the keeper to make a couple of good saves in a goalmouth scramble but the Rangers couldn’t add a third. And today they really couldn’t complain about the final score.

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Saturday, October 18th

Langton Green Rangers 3 – 3 Ridgeway Jupiter

Goals: Will (2), Max Y
Player of the Week: Toby

Exciting. Thrilling. Nerve-shredding. Disappointing. All these words could be used to describe this match. The Rangers played well today and put together some beautiful passing moves but were denied a victory by Ridgeway’s excellent goalkeeper and the woodwork around him. Rangers’ (unofficial) statistics speak for themselves: Shots on goal, 30; shots on target, 20; shots that hit the woodwork, 4; goals, 3. Ridgeway, in contrast, only had about six shots on goal yet also scored three times. Ridgeway were a good team, though and started with an immediate attack from the whistle. But the real revelation of the first period was the threat posed by the partnership between Max Y and Will. Max Y was playing further forward than usual and made some excellent passes, but also tracked back to defend when required. His partnership with Will nearly paid off when he hit the post fairly early on. But it was a peach of a ball forward from Matt B in central midfield that dissected the opposition defence and found Toby running forward. He laid it off to Will, who scored to put the Rangers one up.

The yellows now started to play some lovely football, Dom sending Toby on his way down the right wing before passing to Will, whose shot was saved. Confidence was high in the Langton team, with Evan performing a nice back-heel while under pressure in the centre. They didn’t have it all their own way, however, still looking slightly vulnerable to the counterattack and Ethan had to made a couple of good saves. Toby was full of running and cunning play today, sending a powerful shot over the bar, before minutes later being chased down en route to the Ridgeway goal by the last defender. A lovely passing move from Toby to Will to Max Y finally saw Max’s efforts pay off with his first goal for the Rangers. At 2-0 up after about 15 minutes, Langton looked ready to go on and knock five or six more in with a nonchalant display of training ground football.

The defenders looked good when called upon. James, in particular, had a good game, looking strong and composed at left back. He also set off a number of good attacking moves down that side. Good teamwork and understanding between Matthew C and Ethan also helped keep Ridgeway at bay. James even found himself in a goal-scoring position at one point, but shot only just wide. Matt B continued to send some beautiful balls forward, through, over and around the Ridgeway defenders. But perhaps the enthusiasm all suddenly got too much and, coupled with four simultaneous substitutions, Ridgeway saw an opportunity and took it to pull a goal back. But the fresh legs on the pitch of Max D, Trisdon, Jacob and Cam soon resumed the Langton forward attacking threat. They had a couple more shots on goal before half time but couldn’t make any count and it was 2-1 when the whistle blew.

Trisdon was straight out of the blocks as soon as the whistle blew for the second half, sliding in on the Ridgeway keeper. But the Southborough team’s goalie was outstanding today – strong, confident and not one mistake. Matt B was finding different team mates to pass to in the second half, and some good moves built up with Max D and Trisdon. Toby was also like lightning up and down the pitch, with some lovely dribbling and control. He was also there to help out his defenders when needed. He really deserved at least one goal today, but it simply wouldn’t happen for him. Cam looked capable in the centre, snuffing out many of the Ridgeway attacks. Shots on goal from Langton were too numerous to mention them all, but Max D had a good shot saved and shot just wide soon after. Langton put on a long period of sustained pressure in which Will hit the crossbar and Toby had a shot saved. It all finally paid off when Will broke free to run at the goalie, making no mistake by shooting low and hard into the corner to put the Rangers two ahead. Will was desperate to bag his first Rangers’ hat-trick today, continuing to threaten the opposition goal with at least half a dozen more shots on goal before the end of the game, which were variously saved, deflected or went just wide.

Goal threat came from a number of Rangers’ players though. Max D hit the post, had shots saved and flying wide and made a lovely dribbling run in from the corner. But it’s been a familiar picture this season that, despite Rangers having more possession and often playing nicer football, the opposition have simply had a more clinical edge in front of goal. And it was the same today. From a rare foray into the Rangers’ half Ridgeway won a corner. It was long and perfectly executed, and the Ridgeway forward got a good shot on goal, unchallenged, and it was bang on target to pull one back for Southborough. Rangers worked hard and played some clever moves, with Evan, Matt B and Toby, in particular, showing some lovely flashes of skill. But, yet again, a quick Ridgeway counterattack against the run of play and the opposition scored to draw level. The Rangers didn’t give up and continued to pile on the pressure, forcing a couple of great saves from the Ridgeway keeper. It wasn’t their day today, though. But nobody could say that this match wasn’t great to watch and 3-3 at the final whistle reflected the Rangers’ enthusiasm, energy and moments of lovely football.

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Saturday, October 11th

Wadhurst United 2 – 0 Langton Green Rangers
Player of the Week: Will

This was always going to be a tough match, playing a team two divisions higher up, but the Rangers matched the home team for effort and attacking threat in the first half. Rangers got off to a good start, with Jacob finding space out wide to run forward, but Wadhurst had a couple of speedy wingers of their own and soon had a shot on goal, although it was just wide. The whole Langton team were forced to defend for periods in the first half, but they did it well, with Toby and Jacob both helping out their defenders. Matthew C looked strong and convincing as always, snuffing out several attacks, but he couldn’t do it on his own today. Cam got forward a couple of times, putting Will in on goal on one occasion. Will had an excellent game today – he was full of running and provided a constant threat to the Wadhurst defenders. The yellows continued to defend well, and good teamwork meant that when Wadhurst got the ball in the net from a short corner, it was off-side. Ethan made several great saves today, but he was helped considerably by his defenders so that whenever Wadhurst had sight of goal they were under pressure. Dom and Evan, in particular, held off marauding attackers with their strong shoulders.

Evan performed his holding midfielder roll well today, never slacking and always there when the defence needed help. And slacking was not an option in this game – it was high tempo stuff and Wadhurst were accomplished players – a momentary lapse of concentration would have cost Langton dear. Matt B looked composed in central midfield, but couldn’t quite find the right team-mate with the right pass at the right time. Toby, Trisdon and Will all made promising runs, but the Wadhurst defence was well organised and focused. A long shot from Wadhurst clipped the crossbar and Ethan made a good save from a free kick. Langton held their line well to catch Wadhurst off-side and deny then a good scoring opportunity. The Rangers did well to keep it 0-0 at half-time, but could they keep up this level of effort and focus for another 30 minutes?

The high tempo continued into the second half, with Wadhurst sending a free kick just over minutes after the whistle. Toby made a great run down the left wing, but couldn’t find a team mate in passing distance. Wadhurst then did the same, forcing a brilliant diving save from Ethan. A smashing pass from Will gave Trisdon a chance to run at the opposition goal, but Langton again lacked that finishing touch or a bit of luck necessary to put them in the lead. A good cross from Matt B gave Toby a clear header on goal, but the keeper was there. The next minute Matt B was tracking back at top speed to help out his defenders. And they needed that help more as the second half wore on. Wadhurst were putting some good passing moves together, while Langton struggled to string passes together on a regular basis and lacked rhythm and momentum. James and Euan worked hard and played well in the full back positions, but were increasingly under pressure. A passing move involving Toby, Will, Trisdon and Evan was one of the best that the Rangers put together today, but they needed to do that more often against such a strong team.

Trisdon was bearing down on the opposition goal at one point, but was judged to have been tripped. Toby took the free kick from close to the goal, which he sent over the wall perfectly, it rebounded off the keeper and in the resulting scramble it was Matt B who had the best chance, but the ball flew just over. Trisdon and Will continued to use their pace to good effect, but often found two or three defenders in their way. A slick counter attack from Wadhurst led to their goal, which had looked on the cards for some time. The Rangers kept their heads up well, but still couldn’t bring any fluency to their play. Trisdon kept running till the end, charging down a Wadhurst free-kick bravely. Minutes later his long shot from the right wing beat the keeper, but trickled agonisingly past the post. A moment of confused defending made Wadhurst’ second goal too easy, considering all the excellent work that had gone before. Constant hard work from Cam and Evan, in particular, in the central areas, stopped the score getting any worse. All in all, Langton gave a good account of themselves, but were beaten simply by a team that were slightly better organised and showed slightly better teamwork.

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Saturday, October 4th

Uckfield Jets 1 – Langton Green Rangers 3

Goals: Trisdon (2), Max D
Player of the Week: Trisdon

The Rangers were not deterred by either the mid-day kick-off, playing in red bibs, or playing in the rain for the first time in months, and started well with some controlled passing. Early interplay between the two Maxes, Toby and Trisdon looked smooth and classy. This spell didn’t last very long, however. A last ditch tackle from Matt B thwarted an Uckfield counter-attack and Langton spent the next ten minutes or so struggling to get out of their own half. Luckily Matthew C was at his imperious best in central defence, making numerous good clearance and never afraid to head the ball when required. Euan was working hard at right back to keep the opposition out, well supported by Max Y dropping back from midfield in support. Max Y had an excellent game today, also setting up some good forward play with Toby ahead of him on the right wing. He even looked to be heading towards goal when he got on the end of an incisive pass from Matt B. Both goalkeepers were busy today, Toby the first to test the home team’s keeper after he ran onto the end of a good pass from Evan. The game opened up as the rain stopped and it was end-to-end exciting stuff, with neither team able to quite gain the upper hand. Matt B sent a strong shot flying over the crossbar, and soon after, Uckfield forced Ethan to make a save. Toby covered a lot of ground today and the opposition found him hard to pin down. He popped up the left wing to receive a good pass from James, who looked assured at left-back and set up some good forward play.

Dom was one of three subs to come on about halfway through the first half, and immediately got stuck in, making a good tackle. Despite a few individual flashes of brilliance, the Rangers looked a little heavy footed and reluctant to commit to tackles on occasion. Good news for the spectators though, as it kept the game very open – both sides had chances but neither quite gained the upper hand. Despite the weather, Ethan didn’t have much chance to get cold today – he was constantly tested and held onto a long-range shot particularly well. Back at the other end, Toby was turning on the pace down the left wing and a great turn and cross gave Max D a good shooting chance. Then Trisdon put Toby in on goal and the keeper fumbled the powerful shot, but eventually stopped it going over the line. Seconds later, a clever ball from Matt B sent Trisdon running from just past the halfway line. He’d beaten all the defenders and shot low to the right, but the very tips of the keeper’s finger tips sent it outside the post. Cam looked strong in the centre and Matthew C was clearing up confidently most of Uckfield’s counter attacks. Matt B was working hard alongside Cam as usual in the middle, with a brilliant pass sending Trisdon on his way, but again the shot was just wide. The next minute Matt was tracking back most of the length of the pitch, never forgetting his defensive duties. Toby also sent a shot flying goalwards, but the keeper was well-placed. Neither team could complain at the 0-0 half-time score.
The half-time hairdryer treatment seemed to do the trick, and the Rangers started the second half looking much more composed. They won two corners in quick succession early on, but still couldn’t quite get the ball to go over the goal-line. A brilliant cross-field pass from Toby sent Trisdon away in plenty of space and this time his high powerful shot was bang on target: 1-0 to the Rangers, 10 minutes into the second half. An improved work-rate from Langton started to pay off and they were able to string several passes together in some good moves. Max D set Toby off on a run and he fought off some close attention from the last defender very well, but eventually ran out of pitch and collided with the keeper. Toby’s work rate, positioning and passing was excellent today and he really deserved a goal. But then perhaps the focus lapsed a little, and as a result of a short spell when Rangers couldn’t clear the ball away from their goal, Uckfield scored to draw level. At about this time in recent games the Rangers have sometimes lost their way, but today they kept their heads up and worked hard to get back into the match.

Uckfield kept up their attacking tempo too, and the Rangers were kept in the game again by a well-timed tackle from Matthew C and a good save from Ethan. A lovely pass from James set Toby off running again, but he was fractionally off-side. Soon after, another of Toby’s great cross-field passes set Trisdon away. He lobbed the keeper with some style to put the Rangers back in the lead with his second goal of the game. Back at the other end, Matthew C was saving his team’s blushes yet again. Dom was getting forward well, taking a good free-kick, although the resulting pin-ball in the area came to nothing. The two Maxes were linking up nicely on the left, Max D’s shot rebounding off the keeper for Max Y to have a go, but again the Uckfield goalie was too quick and agile for any easy goals today. A sustained period of pressure gave Max D the chance to get a single big toe to the ball at exactly the right moment and it was just enough to put Langton two goals ahead. Interplay between Max D and Max Y continued to provide an attacking outlet for the Rangers. But they were forced to defend right up until the end, with Evan clearing well from a corner and Max D bravely charging down an Uckfield free kick right on the edge of the box. The Rangers extra effort and focus in the second half paid off today and they finished deserved 3-1 winners.

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Saturday, September 27th

Langton Green Rangers 6 – 4 Yalding and Laddingford

Goals: Max D (3), Toby (2), Trisdon
Player of the Week: Evan

The Rangers were not at their best today and, despite netting six goals, looked vulnerable to a last minute comeback from the visitors. They were busy from the outset, quickly gaining the upper hand in terms of possession, but much of the play was scrappy and didn’t flow well. Toby had a shot on goal saved within the first minute, which was quickly followed by a free kick taken directly by Max D, who constantly had the opposition goal in his sights. Evan was excellent today, fully committed at all times and giving 100 per cent effort throughout. It was his shot that rebounded off the keeper to Matt B, who couldn’t quite get under it and sent it over the bar. A good cross from Jacob gave Toby the chance to volley in the Rangers’ first goal from close range. A well-executed long-range switch pass from Matt B put Max D in perfect shooting range and he made no mistake to put the Rangers 2-0 up. Soon after, a great dribble from Toby down the right gave Max another shooting opportunity but it was well saved by a diving keeper. Matthew C looked assured at centre half, as always, with Dom and Euan in support on either side. Dom even took a couple of chances to get forward, showing off the power in his rarely-used shooting foot. Jacob was often there or thereabouts in the goal mouth, but couldn’t make the ball go over the line, firing two rebound shots in quick succession at one point.

As has often been the case this season, the Rangers had most of the possession but looked vulnerable to the counter-attack, which is exactly how Yalding pulled one back. Trisdon came off the bench and made an immediate impact, with his first touch a brilliant long pass to Max D, who slotted home his second to make it 3-1. Trisdon was full of enthusiasm and running today, and it was the first of his several bicycle kicks that rebounded for the well-placed Max D to score his hat-trick – 4-1. His name sake, Max Y, popped up soon after to make one of several good runs through midfield, only to be bundled over by two opposition players. Evan hit the post from Trisdon’s free kick. It wasn’t all going Langton’s way however, and they conceded a penalty following a push in the box. Luckily for them it was just wide. Euan was another player full of beans today, making an excellent last-ditch clearance shortly before the whistle. Yalding kept the pressure on up to half time, forcing Ethan to make a good save just before the whistle.

The Rangers kept up the pressure as the second half started. Trisdon was desperate to get on the score sheet, and despite his many efforts at the spectacular, his goal came from something of a goal mouth scramble. Soon after, a great cross from Max Y allowed him to try another flying scissor kick, but it was just over. The sixth goal was entirely Toby’s. He won possession of the ball right in front of the opposition goal, ran around a defender and finished with aplomb.

At 6-1 it should have been all over, but the Rangers continued their recent habit of taking their feet off the gas towards the end of games, allowing Yalding to force their way back into contention. Ethan was soon being forced to dive left and right to keep the ball out of his net, and whenever the Rangers did win possession they looked vulnerable to a counter-attack. A couple more bicycle kicks from Trisdon didn’t pay off, nor did some good passing and dribbling from Max Y.

A Yalding counter-attack inevitably pulled a goal back for the visitors. At this point, the Rangers were still pushing forward, with Toby putting in a good cross for Evan to be unlucky hitting the post. But another counter-attack made it 6-3 and the Rangers started to feel the pressure. Yalding were gaining more of the possession, winning corners and having shots on goal, one even hitting a post. Matt B was brought back on to help shore up the defence. A Yalding free-kick was deflected to make it 6-4, and with the Rangers under the cosh it felt like they were saved by the whistle from an almost impossible comeback.

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Saturday, September 20th

Pembury Broncos 3 – 2 Langton Green Rangers (Away)

Goals: Matt B, Toby
Player of the Week: Evan

Football can be a cruel game and the Langton Green Rangers have every right to feel disappointed at this result. They had most of the possession, played the better football, but simply lacked a clinical edge in front of goal. Pembury are without doubt a strong, well-organised team, but they won today thanks to three excellent counter attacks from deep inside their own half, each resulting in a well taken goal. The Rangers started well, looking much better organised and with a lot more ideas than last weekend.

Trisdon, in particular, was full of beans immediately from kick off, putting pressure on the opposition keeper. Evan was excellent today, playing out of his usual position in central defence. He was brave, committed and well positioned throughout the match. Max Y was also full of running today, making some impressive runs forward from midfield, while tracking back well.

Matt B started this game as he finished the last, full of clever passes and finding space when it really mattered. It wasn’t long before he powered a volley on the turn just over the crossbar. Toby pounced on the resulting weak goal kick, passed to Matt in front of goal and, cool as a cucumber, he slotted it into the top right hand corner. That’s four goals in three matches now – not bad for a defensive midfielder!

So at 1-0 up after only five minutes it looked like everything was going Langton’s way, and they continued to play some excellent football. Some of the passing moves were brilliant, fast, and making use of the full width of the pitch. Toby’s pace was scintillating today – he looked like he was jet propelled a couple of times as he left Pembury players in his wake. Passing moves often involved most of the team, starting with James playing the ball out from left back, to Cam who looked assured in the centre and worked well with his central partner Matt. Dom made a number of important interceptions at right back. A great cross-field pass from Max found Trisdon the right who fired a powerful shot that ricocheted off the post but didn’t quite cross the line. Toby was tripped making one of his speedy runs down the right. Trisdon took a good free kick but it hit the side netting.

Langton didn’t have it all their own way, however. James had to make a goal-line clearance and at one point Pembury won four corners in quick succession. They always looked dangerous, particularly on the counter attack. Jacob found himself in some great positions and involved in some good passing moves, but it was the Pembury keeper keeping the black and white stripes in it for much of the game. Having said that, Pembury did get the ball in the net at one point, but good defending meant it was off-side. Euan looked assured when he came on at right back and was fast on his feet, covering well. Another good passing move, involving at least five players saw Toby fire one towards the top right corner, but again the goalkeeper saved. Somehow the first half finished only 1-0 to the Rangers.

Evan and Euan continued to be strong, with Evan in particular making some important headers, letting the rest of his team concentrate on their forward play. Ethan didn’t have too much to do in the first half, thanks to his defenders’ skill and organisation. The Rangers kept up their stylish play, with Toby running onto numerous balls, only to be stopped at the last by the keeper or the off-side trap. Finally all Toby’s hard work paid off. He received the ball inside his own half and sprinted past the entire Pembury defence. One on one with the keeper he slotted it into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0. Not content with that, he was shooting at the keeper again just a minute later. And again. Pembury’s keeper must surely be their player of the week.

But against the run of play, Pembury suddenly broke from within their own half to make it 2-1. The Rangers carried on as before, apparently bundling the ball over the opposition goal line at one point, only for the ref to blow for a foul. Jacob, Toby and Trisdon all continued to test the keeper, but the ball simply would not go over the goal line. Pembury had no such problems though, another break at speed clinically finished to draw 2-2. Somehow they did the same soon after to take the lead. And a great last-ditch tackle from Evan just before the final whistle stopped them adding another. Hugely disappointing for the Rangers, who played their hearts out. But if they play like this every week there will be plenty of victories to celebrate as the season goes on.

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Saturday, September 13th

Paddock Wood Predators 2 – 1 Langton Green Rangers (Away)

Goal: Matt B
Player of the week: Matt B

This was far short of the flowing football of last week, with both teams struggling to find their rhythm and the game started off rather scrappily. But the Rangers definitely had the upper hand, with most of the play in the Paddock Wood half. As last week, the yellows looked solid at the back. Despite the number 44 on his shirt, Matthew C, looks absolutely certain that he belongs in the centre of defence. He held a high line well, with Dom and James on either side also taking no prisoners. There were some big lads in the Paddock Wood team, but they couldn’t push their way past the Langton defenders. Cam was also rock solid in the centre, and certainly never pushed off the ball, but making some good forward passes. Will and Toby paired up well early on, with Will making a good run down the left wing and making a great pass to Toby, but it was only half a chance. Matt B also showed some good footwork to dance forward through the packed Paddock Wood midfield.

But when Paddock Wood did win the ball they broke forward quickly and dangerously. They had a shot wide and Ethan had to make a save early on. They looked particularly dangerous from corners, with one of their big players able to hit the ball high and into the middle of the box. It was Matt B’s great awareness and positioning that paid off for the Rangers after about ten minutes. He was waiting on the edge of the penalty box when the ball came out to him. The ball bounced high and it wasn’t easy, but he fired a great volley into the back of the net to put the Rangers deservedly in the lead.

Ethan must have been practising kicking from his hands, because they are now huge, immediately creating a number of forward opportunities for Langton. The yellows continued to have most of the possession, but couldn’t unlock the tightly packed Paddock Wood defence. Much of the Langton play went through Matt B as he set up forward moves and covered the defence. Evan, Toby and Jacob put together some good moves and did just about everything except get the ball in the net.

Max got into the game more as it went on, helping out his defenders at important times and playing more defensively than as a forward player. Euan came on at right back instead of Dom and was immediately up for every challenge and apparently making more noise than the rest of the team put together – his team-mates certainly knew where he was and what he wanted! Matt B had another great volley go just wide before half time, and it was 1-0 at the break, although the Rangers probably deserved to be at least two or three up on possession alone.

Langton started the second half by passing the ball a bit more fluently and maintaining most of the play in the opposition half, but Paddock Wood always looked a threat. Their throw-ins were nearly as long and dangerous as their corners, and it was one of these that led to a move that ended in a brilliant diving save from Ethan.

At about this point, the balance of the game started to change, as Langton slowed down considerably and gave Paddock Wood more time on the ball. Inevitably, a sustained spell of pressure led to a Paddock Wood goal from a goalmouth scramble. Shortly afterward, almost out of nowhere, a fantastic shot from the right wing flew over all the yellow defenders and the keeper to put Paddock Wood ahead.

Langton Green finally woke up, and for the last ten minutes mounted an excellent period of sustained pressure. Will shot just wide from Evan’s corner. Toby made a great run and put in a brilliant cross but nobody could get on the end of it. Toby’s free kick was strong and on target, but the keeper had it covered. James even worked his way forward from defence to have a good shot at goal, but it just wasn’t to be.

The Rangers were the better side for most of the game, but that short spell where they lacked focus in the second half cost them dearly and it ended 2-1 to Paddock Wood.

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Saturday, September 6th

Langton Green Rangers 5 – 0 Kingston Village (Home)
Goals: Matt B (2), Toby, Max D, Trisdon

Player of the week: Matthew C

Langton Green Rangers had looked good in their pre-season friendlies, but nobody had expected the new team to be quite as brilliant as they were in their first competitive match, not just of this season, but ever. Last season’s Yodas and Devils combined unbelievably well in this new 9-a-side format and looked like they’d been playing together for years. 

Kingston Village must have been expecting a result at the Langton Rec, having got the better of both the Yodas and Devils last season, and they were an impressive side from the outset, forcing a couple of early corners and a last ditch clearance and a save from ‘keeper Ethan. But the Langton Green Rangers passed the ball around beautifully and gave Kingston no time on the ball. Matthew C marshalled his full backs brilliantly and the Langton defence looked completely in control. Toby posed an early threat with some great running at the defenders. Matt B was at the hub of much of the good passing, giving the forwards a plentiful supply of good balls. A period of sustained pressure paid off for the Rangers when the ball was half cleared from the Kingston goal mouth where Matt B was waiting in space on the edge of the penalty are to lob the ball perfectly over a mass of players and the keeper to put the Rangers ahead.

The defensive trio of Matthew C, Dom and James looked calm and confident, starting a number of attacking moves with clever passing. Cam and Evan were strong and well positioned in midfield, allowing Matt B to play further forward than he’s used to, and this certainly paid dividends, allowing Jacob and Toby to be a constant threat up front. Kingston kept up the pressure though, winning a number of corners, forcing Ethan to make a good save at his feet, and sending a powerful shot just over the bar. But Toby’s constant running finally paid off, Cam having put him through one on one with the keeper and he slotted the ball into the corner: 2-0.

A lovely passing move from Matt B to Toby and through to Max D put him on the score sheet for the first time and the Rangers were three up. The yellows began to dominate the game, Evan had a shot saved, Cam did a lovely dribble down the right flank and the whole team looked like they were enjoying themselves. Euan came on as a defender and took no prisoners at full back. Matthew C tracked a Kingston forward back half way down the pitch and used his body to force the red player off the ball at the last. It was 3-0 at half time and the Rangers looked completely in command

Goal kicks and corners were carried out well, training drills apparently remembered. The confidence flowed through the team, infecting Max Y who made a couple of lovely solo runs down the left. And it was his strong clearance from a Kingston corner that set up a great passing move that ended up at the other end of the pitch with Matt B calmly side-footing his second into the net. But Kingston are real battlers and at 0-4 down had probably their best spell of the match as Langton energy and concentration flagged a little. Ethan was forced to make a couple of great saves to maintain the Rangers’ lead.

Trisdon had only been on the pitch for about ten minutes, but was desperate to get on the score sheet, forcing the keeper to clear off his line in goal mouth scramble. Soon after, he went on impressive solo run, had almost run out of play past the touch line, but somehow flicked the ball in from an almost impossible angle. It finished 5-0 to the Rangers and if they keep playing like this they’re in for a fine season.