Rangers 2015 - 2016

April 24th 2016

Kingston Village 1:3 Langton Green Rangers
Goals: Evan, Toby, Tristan
Man of the Match: Tristan

Langton Green Rangers finished their season on a high note, with a well-deserved victory over Kingston Village that lifted them above their opponents in the league and to a creditable 7th place in the top division. Rangers started their last league match of the season full of good intent, piling on some sustained early pressure. Evan looked strong and threatening the centre, sending some nice balls forward and getting on the end of some himself. He sent Toby off to make his first attempt on goal within a minute or two of the whistle. Toby repaid the favour a couple of minutes later, with a nice cross to Evan in front of goal. He still had some work to do though, a couple of little touches got the ball under control and he finished with style to put Rangers ahead. Tristan was sitting in for Ethan in goal, but didn’t have too much to do in the first half. Kingston won a dangerous looking free kick on the edge of the box, but sent it wide. Owen looked strong in central defence, not his usual position. He made several lovely headers and also cleared the ball off the line after a spot of defensive confusion. The teamwork in the first half was excellent, with Matt B helping out in front of defence, some nice passing from everyone, and several players keen to get forward. Euan got all the way forward on the right at one point, crossing one in for Evan, but his shot was saved. James, then later Dom, looked assured in the other full back position. But it was Owen who sent Toby scuttling off down the centre unchecked to put Rangers two up. Evan and Owen both had a chance to fire long shots toward goal, but the Kingston keeper was on his toes, saving both. But Langton weren’t having it all their own way, with Kingston looking dangerous on the counter, and hitting the cross bar from a corner. A good period of pressure from Kingston ended with a nice dribbling move that won them a goal just seconds before the half time whistle. 2-1 to Langton at half time.

Some nice work from Max Y down the left ended with him putting the ball in the side netting. Evan was in goal for the second half, allowing Tristan to test the Kingston defence. Evan looked very calm and assured in goal, but in truth he didn’t have too much to do as his defence kept Kingston at bay. Max D was helping out, too, making an excellent defensive tackle near his own goal mouth to keep his team ahead. Trisdon was a constant threat running towards the Kingston goal, although he couldn’t quite put the finishing touch to any of his moves. He was winning the ball well in the thick of things, too. Langton started to lose some of their energy and commitment in the second half, compared to their high tempo in the first. The game started getting a little scrappy for a while, and both sides looked equally likely to score the next goal. Tristan had two shots saved in quick succession, with the Kingston goalie keeping his team in the game once again. Then his sent a lovely cross right in front of the goal line, Max D and Matt B were both charging in, but neither could quite get a toe on it. It was very near the end when Rangers completed a classy move that sealed the win for them. Tristan saw a good pass down the right to Toby, who crossed to Tristan, who controlled it well and scored his team’s third goal.

---------------------------

April 17th 2016

Raw Skills Sharks 1-0 Langton Green Rangers

This match never looked like the league champions against the team that are second from bottom, but that goes to show that Langton Green Rangers are a much better team than their league position suggests. They dominated midfield in this game, created more goalscoring chances and defended well. On another day they might have won it, had it not been for one slick and lethal counter-attack from the top-of-the -table team. Langton started well, dominating possession and keeping the ball in the opposition half. Owen was strong through the centre, winning balls and bringing them forward and Toby was on his way towards goal several times. But Raw Skills started to exert pressure of their own after about ten minutes, their number 10 looking a constant threat. Matthew C and Max Y were doing well to keep him under control, but Ethan was forced to make a good save early on. Tristan sent Toby away with a lovely pass, but he was brought down right on the edge of the home team’s penalty area. Max D lifted a lovely free kick over the wall but the keeper was well placed to get a hold on it. Jacob was looking dangerous on the right wing, and after some good interplay with Toby, made an excellent cross, but Max D couldn’t quite convert the half chance. Out of nowhere, a Raw Skills counter-attack saw their number 10 out-pacing everyone and slotting home calmly to put his team ahead. Langton kept up their pace and energy though, Matt B coming on in the centre to thread some nice balls through to his team makes. Matthew C looked wonderfully calm and assured at centre-half. Raw Skills kept their pressure up too, with Ethan forced to make another fine save, and well-timed tackles from Dom and Euan required to keep the opposition at bay. Owen won the ball and launched a counter-attack from a Raw Skills corner, but it left Toby with a lot to do and he shot just wide. It was 0-1 at half time, but Rangers were very much still in the game.

Raw Skills applied further pressure from the minute the whistle went for the second half. Trisdon had been hustling and bustling up front for most of the game, causing Raw Skills all sorts of problems. A lovely ball from Matt B gave him half a scoring chance but he couldn’t quite finish. Owen launched another quick counter-attack from a Raw Skills corner, but Toby couldn’t quite stay on his feet. Soon after, Owen nearly scored himself, after a nice dribble through the penalty area, but the keeper saved his shot. Much more the play was in Langton’s half of the pitch during the second thirty minutes, but the yellows defended well as a team. Ethan made a brilliant diving save from a corner that kept his team in the game. Another corner, this time it was Max D who kept his team afloat with a goal-line clearance. Good work between Toby and Tristan created about the last chance of the game, but Tristan’s shot was just wide.

---------------------------------

April 3rd 2016

Langton Green Rangers 6-0 Tonbridge Invicta Hurricanes

Goals: Toby (3), Evan (2), Tristan
Man of the Match: Toby

It may be late in the season, but winning suddenly looks like it could become a habit for Langton Green Rangers. They were excellent today, with the whole team working together to play some nice football, and looked assured and always in control. Although having an extra player helped, Langton put some lovely forward moves together, attacking with pace and style, while defending capably and as a unit at all times. Although the Rangers were camped in the Tonbridge half for most of this game, and they had plenty of shooting practice, the opposition defended extremely well and it took a while for the first goal to come. Max D, who played extremely well on the left wing, looking strong and incisive, had the first chance saved early on. Soon after, Tristan had a long shot saved. The whole team was passing the ball around confidently, often starting with a confident ball out from Matthew C at the heart of defence. Owen was at the heart of a lot of the action, with his Rory Delap style throw ins creating a whole new set of chances. But it was an excellent through ball from Jacob that broke the deadlock. Tristan was on the end of it, took the ball around the keeper with aplomb to leave himself a simple finish. Max Y was setting off some good attacks from defence, too, using the width of the pitch well to send forward players on their way. One such pass to Tristan allowed his to send Max D away for a great chance, but he was just off-side. Owen was desperate to see his name on the score-sheet, dribbling through thickets of defenders on several occasions, but he couldn’t quite get the finish he wanted. Toby was full of running as usual, and a smashing ball from Evan sent him off at full pelt. He had to stretch to get a toe on it before the keeper could get there, but it was just enough for the second goal. The Rangers were 2-0 up at half time, but it possibly should have been more, although they had never looked seriously troubled at the back.

It was a cracking tackle in the centre of the pitch that won Matt B the ball in a good position to pass out wide to Tristan, who crossed for Toby to slot home his second. But the Rangers didn’t have it all their own way in the second half, with Tonbridge able to launch of couple of counter attacks from deep in their own half. Luckily the pace and tenacity of James, Max Y and Euan in tracking back snuffed out Tonbridge’s few chances. Rangers piled on the pressure though, as their confidence increased and Tonbridge started to tire. Owen, Jacob and Matt B were all giving Toby a plentiful supply of balls to chase, with one of his shots hitting the post. The opposition keeper was kept on his toes, with Max D, Evan and Toby all shooting in quick succession. It was Toby’s cross that gave Jacob a shooting chance, and Matt B another on the rebound. If Rangers had been a little more decisive in their finishing the scoreline could easily have reached double figures. In the end, the fourth and fifth goal came from an unexpected source. Evan received the ball from a corner, turned beautifully and fired a cracker into the top corner that left the keeper no chance. Minutes later, Evan again, virtually on the touch line and from a seemingly impossible angle, sent a high looping ball over the keeper and into the net to make it five. And it was Evan’s pass that set Toby up for the hat-trick that earnt him a well-deserved man of the match award.

--------------------------------------

March 20, 2016

Langton Green Rangers 2-0 Pembury Athletic Broncos
Goals: Toby and Tristan

It had been a long time coming, but Ranger’s first league victory of the season was confident and accomplished and will hopefully spur them on to one or two more before the end of the season. Every individual had a good game today, while some had an excellent day, but it was the team effort, commitment and focus that was the difference between the two teams. Pembury are a good team, but Langton had them well beaten; this was no fluke. It started out fairly even, although Pembury probably put slightly more pressure on the Rangers’ goal in the first half, forcing eight corners. Ethan made his first save within five minutes of the start, but five minutes later Langton managed their first effort on goal, with Will sending Toby on his way to send a nice cross over, only to be intercepted by the Pembury defence. Moments later, Langton were attacking again, this time in numbers, with Toby, Will, Tristan and Trisdon all looking dangerous. Trisdon was awesome today, a constant threat during the first half. He was too hot to handle for the Pembury defence, skipping through three or four of them at times. He tracked back to help his defence out too, full of energy. Owen was a tower of strength through the centre, making some nice passes forward, but the defence behind him held strong under quite a lot of pressure.

Pembury had won five corners within 15 minutes, but Langton were calm and assured under pressure. Matthew C took control in the centre, while Euan and James were quick and focused either side. When Max Y came on at left back he was brimming with energy, making several excellent last-ditch tackles behind his team mates. If Langton had held on to the ball a bit better in the first half they could have been rewarded for all their efforts, but sometimes they lost possession a little too easily. Tristan was showing some lovely skills just behind Toby, and Matt B joined in when he came on. Some very nice football was played at times by the yellows. A half-time scoreline of 0-0 was probably a fair reflection of the first half hour’s play.

Langton came out for the second half buoyed with confidence and looking the more positive team. Owen sent Trisdon haring away down the right within moments of kick-off. It was a great ball, but unfortunately Trisdon was just off-side. Perhaps a sign of Langton’s desire to score quick goals today was the number of times they were caught off-side, but this persistence soon paid off. Trisdon made another lovely run and great cross – Tristan was just about there, but couldn’t quite make a good connection. Pembury counter-attacked though, forcing a nice save from Ethan, the shot from the rebound luckily hitting the side netting. Then it was Toby’s turn to make one of his characteristic speedy, dribbling runs down the right. His cross was good, Tristan was perfectly placed and made no mistake about his finish, 1-0!

The Rangers didn’t look back from this point, growing in confidence while Pembury looked increasingly short of ideas and resources to break them down. The forward players all looked like they wanted to get on the score sheet, and played some lovely passes between themselves as they terrorised the Pembury defence. The second goal wasn’t long coming – it was simple but perfectly executed. A long kick from Ethan found Matt B in space, a classy ball from him to Toby, who scorched the grass under his feet on his way towards goal, and finished calmly in the bottom corner to put the Rangers two up. Pembury had a couple of attempts on goal after this, but the pressure was now mainly from the yellow team. The interplay between the forwards was lovely, their passing crisp and intelligent and their pace scintillating. Will and Toby were caught off-side a couple of times, but they were close calls and sign of the Rangers’ increasing confidence to have a go. Max Y stopped Pembury from pulling one back towards the end, but it was really all about Langton for the last 15 minutes. The team looked comfortable and like they were enjoying their football on the way to their well-earned victory. If they play like this over the next few weeks, they’ll be notching up a few more points without a doubt.

---------------------------

February 21st 2016

Ashurst Wood Junior 3-0 Langton Green Rangers
Player of the Week: Matt B

Another match for Langton Green Rangers where the scoreline didn’t reflect the closeness of the match or the effort and ability of this Langton team. A soft goal within the first minute and another in the last couple of minutes aside, this was a fairly even match in which the Rangers acquitted themselves well, dominated the game for long spells, and did everything except create some decent goalscoring chances. They were a goal behind before the team looked fully awake, setting themselves an uphill task from the outset. Ashurst Wood looked likely to double that lead, too, in the opening exchanges. Owen prevented things from getting worse with an excellent clearance off the line. Langton were briefly over-run at the back, Ethan forced to make a great save, and the team saved by the goal post. Minutes later Ashurst Wood won a penalty, but the shot was wide. But Langton Green renewed their efforts and started to claw their way back into the match. Toby looked like a constant threat up front, having two shots on goal, but couldn’t avoid the keeper either time. The defence started to look more organised too, with Owen taking more charge at centre half – a position he’s not used to playing. James was looking strong at left-back too, making a couple of important interceptions. And with Euan looking lively at right back, the defenders started to convince as a unit. All the passing and movement had come from Ashurst until now, but the Rangers got their act together in the centre, with Tristan and Evan working some nice passing moves. The midfield started to look more convincing still when Matt B came one, immediately working a nice one-two with Evan and adding a bit of vision and creativity to the passing. Rangers finished the half with a good spell of sustained pressure. Overall possession was about 40-60, and at only one goal down the yellows were still very much in the game.

Langton started the second half much brighter than the first, but were lucky to escape when a spell of defensive confusion allowed Ashurst Wood to unleash a shot, luckily just wide. Matt B looked almost back to something like his pre-season best, despite playing in borrowed boots. Instrumental in midfield, making lovely incisive passes, showing great awareness, tackling hard and winning the ball. He even had half a shooting chance at one point, but couldn’t quite control the ball. Jacob crossed a nice ball into Toby at one point, who passed to Max D, but his shot was just wide. Max D looked strong and dangerous as ever, making a great header from a corner, but again just wide. Langton were dominant at this point, and continued to be for much of the second half, but Ashurst kept most of their players behind the ball and the yellows simply couldn’t find a way through. Then, against the run of play, Ashurst Wood nicked a second goal. The Rangers didn’t let their heads drop though, giving it all they were worth. Max Y made some good runs and Dom made some important blocks at the back. Overall possession in the second half was more like 70-30 in Langton’s favour, but they still couldn’t make it count with a decent goal-scoring opportunity. Then, right at the end Ashurst Wood counter-attacked to make it three-nil and create a scoreline suggesting they’d won at a canter, which they definitely had not. The Rangers played really well today and if they keep up this level they simply must start to win matches. Let’s not forget that Ashurst Wood are third in the league, and Raw Skills Sharks, who the Rangers beat convincingly in a friendly, are now top. With a run of slightly easier matches to come, things should soon start to come good for Langton Green Rangers.

------------------------------------------

January 24th, at Edenbridge. FRIENDLY

Raw Skills Sharks 1-3 Langton Green Rangers
Goals: Tristan, Max D, Will
Man of the Match: Tristan

Langton Green Rangers were brilliant today, showing what they’re really capable of and how much they’ve learnt in training, comprehensively beating a team that is currently second in the league. What a shame it was only a friendly. Fully expecting to play a competitive league match today, only for the pitch to be ruled unplayable, the two teams instead played a friendly on an 11-a-side pitch. It was 11-a-side, with a narrowed pitch and 17 and a half minutes played each way. The eleven-a-side format obviously suits the Rangers, because they were excellent today, and it augurs well for next season, when they move up to that team and pitch size. The bigger pitch and team allows Langton to play their two brilliant centre halves, Matthew C and Owen, simultaneously, with Tristan in a number 10 role that seems to be born for, and the whole team given more space to play the ball around. Whatever it was, it worked a treat, with Raw Skills barely getting out of their half during the first part of the game. Good early pressure from Langton was born out of quality passing and movement and lovely team play. Max D has a shot on goal within a minute. Then Langton had three corners in succession. The opposition couldn’t keep track of Toby, who just kept dribbling and dribbling and dribbling. He had a shot deflected wide early on after a good run. Raw Skills launched the occasional counter attack via their lightning quick number 10, who looked a constant threat, but he couldn’t quite finish any of his half chances. Some lovely interplay between Toby, Max D and Tristan gave Tristan a good chance and he put it away with some skill to put Langton ahead. Jacob was causing Raw Skills problems down the right and he got a good shot away from a tricky angle. The keeper couldn’t hold onto it and Max D was there for the rebound to put the Rangers two up. Will looked hungry for a goal and likely to score as well, but put his shot just wide after a lovely run on goal. It was a well-deserved 2-0 at half time.

Raw Skills imposed themselves a little more in the second half, but some excellent defending kept Langton ahead and Raw Skills’ number 10 at bay. He came extremely close when he’d beaten Ethan from an almost impossible angle, but Owen used his extra length well to fling himself at the ball, clearing it off the line – brilliant stuff! A lovely ball from Evan gave Jacob another chance, but the keeper saved. Some of the passing was top drawer from the Rangers, who strung six or seven together in a row on occasions. Max Y made a couple of lovely individual runs down the left, only to be stopped by the keeper picking the ball off his toes. Euan played his part in a very strong defensive display, blocking that dangers number ten on several occasions. But the number 10 got his reward eventually, out-running the Langton defenders and slotting home a well-deserved goal. The pressure was on now, but Ethan kept the Rangers in the game with a fantastic diving save. Langton kept up their tempo though, and a nice move started with Owen, to Matt B, nice pass to Max Y, who crossed it well into Will’s path. A cracking finish from Will put the game beyond the reach of Raw Skills and it finished 3-1, a result that never looked in doubt. Any neutrals watching would not believe that this was only Rangers’ second win this season. The future suddenly looks much brighter for this team.

----------------------------

Pembury Athletic Broncos 2-0 Langton Green Rangers
Player of the Week: James

The 3g pitch should have suited the Rangers’ recent moves towards a more passing, flowing style of play, and it initially looked like it would help them on their way. They started off with some nice passing moves, switching play well across the pitch. But they soon came under pressure from an accomplished Pembury side, several places higher than them in the league, and the yellows struggled to get the ball out of their half for a brief period. Then, slowly but surely, Langton Green started to get the upper hand, winning the physical game and looking dangerous going forward. Max D had a reasonable shooting opportunity from a nice Matt B corner, but the penalty area was simply too crowded. Evan was battling well for the ball in the centre, and Toby was a constant threat down the right wing. He was too hot for Pembury to handle for much of the game, often going past three or four players, but couldn’t convert all that skill and effort into enough good scoring opportunities. He hit the post at one point after one particularly dizzying run, and Tristan very nearly converted the rebound. Tristan was showing some silky skills on the left, too, setting Matt B up with shooting chance that was deflected. He had another shot soon after, but fired over the crossbar.

Langton Green were the better team in the first half, penning Pembury back and making them defend for all they were worth. But the black and white stripes did look dangerous on the counter, and Langton occasionally looked a little unsure of themselves with an opposition player or two bearing down on them. James was the outstanding defender today, looking assured, mopping up well, and setting off forward moves well. Owen came on to add yet more muscle to midfield, but complementing that with some good skills of his own, as well as awareness of his and his team-mates positioning. It was 0-0 when the half-time whistle blew.

Langton started the second half brightly, passing the ball out from defence with confidence. Matthew C, Euan and Dom all started to look more confident at the back, and a betting man would have put his money on the Rangers at this stage. Jacob was finding some good positions and the forward play looked good, although still lacking that end product. Owen made a lovely run out from the left to feed Toby in a good position, but he couldn’t create a good enough scoring chance. Evan fired one just over from the edge of the box a minute later, then Tristan had a shot saved. Suddenly Langton were caught in possession at the back and were lucky the referee blew for off side or they would have been a goal down. Minutes later, and not for the first time this season, Ethan kept his team in the game with an athletic diving save at his near post.

But towards the end of the second half, Langton lost a little focus, started to look too close together all the time and short on ideas. It didn’t take Pembury long to shift up a gear and show why they’re much higher up the league. They started to look much more alive, were given a little more space to play with, and knocked in a couple of goals in quite quick succession. It finished 0-2 and left Langton Green Rangers bottom of the table. The first division was never going to be easy, but they were the better side for much of the game here today, as they have been in previous matches. A little bit of luck, some more clinical finishing, and a sustained focus should soon see them off the bottom and in a position that reflects their abilities and efforts.

--------------------------

October 11th 2015

Crowborough Athletic Colts 4-2 Langton Green Rangers

Goals: Will, Toby
Man of the Match: Owen

The bookmakers wouldn’t have given very good odds on Rangers winning this one against a top class Crowborough team, but the yellows started this match looking willing and able to win. Unfortunately though, conceding three penalties against a top team like this will always leave a mountain to climb, and today the mountain was simply too high for Langton. Their forward players started brilliantly, Toby making some lovely mazey runs that left the defenders bamboozled, Will chasing everything hard and Matt B and Max Y putting in some neat crosses. The bright start paid off when the ball fell to Will on the edge of the box and he powered the ball into the bottom corner to put Langton one up after only five minutes. Evan was also making some nice passes forward and the Rangers forward play looked slick and effective for the first ten minutes. The defence did not look quite so convincing, however, and a quick counter-attack from Crowborough drew them level.

This was an exciting first half of open play, with both teams looking dangerous on the attack but vulnerable at the back. Ethan was forced to make a couple of good saves to keep Langton in the game, but so was the Crowborough keeper. Ethan’s goalkeeping reached an even higher level when he saved the first of Crowborough’s three penalties. Toby continued to tease the opposition defence and Evan tested their keeper with a good shot. Crowborough were unlucky not to score from a corner that found one of their attackers completely unmarked, but his header was just wide. A nice pass from Max D sent Will haring towards the goal, but the keeper got their fractionally ahead of him. The Langton defenders improved as the half wore on, with Matthew C really getting to grips with the game in the centre and James making a couple of nice runs forward down the left wing. 1-1 at half time seemed like a fair result and the crowd eagerly awaiting an exciting second half.

And the crowd weren’t disappointed as the second half kicked off with a fast and furious pace. Langton applied some good sustained pressure for the first ten minutes, passing and moving nicely with Toby and Will constantly threating Crowborough’s goal. Another shot from Evan forced the Crows’ keeper to make a good save, but from the resulting counter-attack they won a penalty and this one was unstoppable as the opposition took the lead. New recruit Owen was starting to make his mark on the game in the centre of the pitch, looking very strong and making some intelligent passes. It was one such pass, just a minute after Crowborough scored, to Tristan that gave him a chance to shoot. The keeper saved but Toby tucked the rebound away with aplomb. At two all with 15 minutes left, the bookies were quoting evens.

Another nice long ball sent Tristan away again and he won a free kick but the Rangers couldn’t convert the chance. Max D was starting to battle his way into the game and Owen made some crunching tackles to keep the Rangers in it. But some nice football from Crowborough saw them starting to dominate possession and they looked increasingly dangerous. They hit the crossbar twice in quick succession but Langton finally caved in under the pressure and the blues were ahead. Langton conceded another penalty near the end to make it an unflattering 2-4 score line. The difference between the teams had been less than the scoreline suggested, but at this level the Rangers’ careless errors are costing them dear.

------------------------------

September 27th 2015

Langton Green Rangers 0 – 6 Ashurst Wood
Man of the Match: Toby

There were never going to be any easy games in division 1, but the Rangers didn’t help themselves today by getting off to a rather sluggish start against top-of-the-table Ashurst Wood. The game was beyond rescuing after the first 20 minutes, by which time the yellows were 0-4 down but hadn’t really got out of second gear. Evan was making a last ditch tackle near his own goal line within the first couple of minutes to stop an otherwise certain goal from the visitors. This was the first of many from Evan – one of the few Langton players who started and continued the game like they meant business. The Rangers barely got out of their own half in the first 20 minutes – they were always second to the ball, slow to tackle and reluctant to chase – and Ashurst Wood made them pay the price. Man of the Match Toby was full of running from the start and was another one setting an example to his team mates. He made a couple of good runs down the right wing whenever he got the ball, but the opposition had too much possession. Ashurst Wood are an excellent team and their first goal, within five minutes of the whistle, was a good one. A lovely break down the left wing from their number 10, a pass across to the striker in acres of space and a fine finish. It could have been much worse, if that same number 10 hadn’t been stopped in his tracks minutes later by Matthew C. Ethan was also forced to make a good soon after. But a well-taken corner by Ashurst Wood saw them go two ahead. Then they got another from a free kick.

To their credit, Langton didn’t give up, Toby showing the way again with a fine run nearly the whole length of the pitch. But he didn’t have enough support to turn his effort into a goal. A long range shot put Ashurst Wood four up. The Rangers upped their game for the last ten minutes of the second half, at least partly due to Max D coming on to bring some muscle into the centre of the pitch. From a corner, he had a good shot saved soon after coming on. Ranger’s best effort of the first half came when Jacob skipped past a defender and crossed nicely to Toby, whose shot was only just wide. Langton kept hold of the ball much better towards the end of the second half and started to stretch their opposition for the first time, but everyone was pleased to hear the whistle signalling a break.

Some teams might have given up at 0-4 down, but Langton Green gave a much better account of themselves in the second half, making the opposition work for the ball, passing it between themselves and driving forward whenever they could. Max D continued to match Ashurst Wood for strength and commitment in the middle, leaving several opposition players in his wake as he went on a fine run and creating a shooting chance for himself, but it was narrowly wide. It was the partnership between Max D and Toby that looked the most dangerous attacking threat for Langton throughout the second half, with some fine interplay creating a number of half chances. Evan continued with some strong tackling, as did Matthew C, who also played the ball out of defence beautifully a couple of times. The yellows were matching the visitors during this spell, and even looked the most likely to score, but couldn’t quite finish off any of their moves.

But after about 20 minutes of head-to-head battling, the class of Ashurst Wood shone through as they took an excellent corner to give them a fifth goal. The Rangers’ hard work finally won them a penalty, but a great save denied Will the chance to get on the scoresheet. Rather against the run of play, Ashurst Wood netted a sixth near the end. But Langton kept battling to the end, with only the keeper’s fingertips denying Max D what would have been a well-deserved goal.

----------------------------

September 6th 2015

Tonbridge Invicta 2-2 Langton Green Rangers
Goals: Tristan, Evan
Man of the Match: Matthew C

“That was the best I’ve seen us play,” said Rangers’ manager Tim.

“Phew, we got away with it,” said Tonbridge Invicta’s manager.

Both statements were true today, as the Langton Green Rangers hit the ground running in the first division of the Crowborough league. They looked assured, their teamwork was excellent, and they were the best team for much of the game in their first top-flight match. If there was a downside to today’s performance it was only that the Rangers’ domination of the play wasn’t reflected in the scoreline. With something like 75 per cent of the possession and about 20 shots on goal compared to Tonbridge’s four they could have won by a generous margin if only for a little more clinical finishing in front of goal.
The Rangers started like last season's first division champions, rather than the newly promote side; Tonbridge were barely allowed a touch of the ball for the first 10 minutes and all the play was in their half. Rangers were stroking the ball around beautifully, with everyone looking confident on the ball. Matthew C, James and Dom were strong in the tackle, pressing the ball and passing it forward nicely. Matthew C, in particular was immense from the start, timing crucial tackles perfectly, always in the right place and strong in the air. Toby was terrorising the Tonbridge defence on the right wing and the constant pressure won a couple of corners early on. But there was a hint of what was to come after about 15 minutes when Tonbridge counter-attacked, making good use of their very pacey forwards, and forced Ethan to make a good save. Langton’s attacking moves were skilful and neat but simply lacked that finishing touch.

A great pass from Max D out to Will allowed him to cross to Toby, who forced a diving save from the keeper. Another nice move started with Matt B’s first time pass to Evan, who passed to Will, whose shot rebounded off the keeper. Matt B’s shot on the rebound was saved by the keeper. New boy Tristan was involved in many of Rangers’ attacking moves, looking fast, slick and clever. Langton’s passing and movement looked great all over the pitch, but completely against the run of play, another very fast counter attack from Tonbridge put them one up. The Rangers didn’t change their style of play though, keeping hard at it. Corners were being won, shots were being saved or going narrowly wide, but they simply couldn’t score a goal. All the forward players had at least a couple of shots on goal, but it would just not go in the net. Clever passing from Matt B, excellent speedy runs from Tristan and Toby, great passing from Jacob and strong possession from Evan was all great to watch but still the goal wouldn’t come. The Tonbridge keeper was kept busy under the constant pressure but his side came off at half time still one up.

The second half started in much the same vein, with Langton controlling possession and looking more dangerous, but occasionally looking vulnerable to the quick counter attack. It was almost unbelievable when one of these counter attacks gave Tonbridge probably only their third shot on goal and it went in to give them a two goal lead. But a couple of minutes later Rangers’ pressure finally paid off, as a peach of a cross from Jacob fell to Tristan, centrally place in front of the goalmouth, who pulled one back for the yellows. As the Rangers’ frustration and confidence both built, both full backs, Euan and James, made nice probing runs forwards and looked like they might get themselves on the scoresheet. And Matthew C’s very long range shot was as close as many of the day’s others from much closer range. The Tonbridge keeper was keeping his side in the match at this point, making good saves from Evan, Toby and Tristan. But it wasn’t until literally the last kick of the match that a lovely powerful shot from Evan finally flew into the top corner of the Tonbridge net to give Langton a well-deserved point.

It was a great start to the new season and if the Rangers keep playing like this they could be up there with the very best teams in the league.