Falcons 2017 - 2018

Langton Green Falcons 3 TW Foresters 0 

Sunday 12th November - 11:30am ko at Groombridge

Match reporter: Paul Richards

A very cold morning at the Groombridge Tanyard, but thankfully the early morning downpour had given way to some semblance of sunshine. However, I am not convinced that our linesman coming out in sympathy with the boys by wearing a pair of shorts was entirely appropriate.

In a fitting tribute on Remembrance Sunday, both teams were smartly lined up by the referee to pay their respects with a one-minute silence and the opportunity for reflection.

The whistle was then promptly blown for the unbeaten Falcons to once again go head to head with Foresters.

The last time these teams met, our Falcons had a convincing win of five goals to nil - could this be the match that the Falcons finally get to face a defeat?

FIRST HALF

In no time, Luca set the pace with some spirited charges down the right flank to finish with a couple of great crosses into the mouth of the Foresters goal. Sadly for us, on both occasions our forwards were unable to seal the deal.

This was not for the want of trying, as evidenced by the Falcons white kit looking decidedly muddy within the first 10 minutes.

Harry was next to put in a cross - which was met by Joey, but not a goal.

Luca then gained possession and kept the ball to deliver yet another dangerous cross, this time Harry was onto it and shoots…

GOAL 1-0

Perhaps it was the cold, but the Falcons' pace and pressure appeared relentless.

Max then lobbed the ball into the box, Joey was again onto it, but the Foresters defence got the better of him.

Ben was also to experience the pack instinct of the Foresters defence and found himself surrounded and boxed in. 

The Falcons' hunger for another goal resulted in a goalmouth melee; Harvey got a touch of the ball and promptly chipped it past the Foresters' goalie.

GOAL 2-0

Max produced a now familiar long lob, only for the ball to just go over the crossbar.

Ben followed with an attack that saw him hold onto possession and take a shot, only for it to be saved by the keeper.

The pace was relentless and Foresters were proving to be worthy adversaries. The Foresters linesman played his part by allowing continued play.

The effective Luca was then taken down, leading to Harvey taking a free kick against a line of Foresters.

The ball was promptly sent back towards our keeper, Dan.

Luca once more drove down the right flank and produced another cross, which was again met by Harry and a near miss on goal.

Joey had a rest and Victor joined the fray.

Ben gained possession and held onto the ball with some aggressive play. He took the shot, but was thwarted by a defender.

The first half concluded with some amazing tackling and retained possession from Lewie.  He created the space in which to take a shot, only for the ball to rebound off the cross bar and back into the game.

WHISTLE BLOWN FOR HALF-TIME

The cold was now penetrating my thought through layers of clothing. No sympathy for our underdressed linesman and Colin’s request for some of my attire was refused.

WHISTLE BLOWN FOR THE SECOND HALF

For an unseen reason, a member of the Foresters midfield is down. Looks like a painful ankle injury. Sadly he was unable to recover and to the applause of all spectators was escorted off the pitch.

Ben’s spirited possession of the ball was rewarded with an opportunity to take a shot, but was again unsucessful.

Foresters were now very much on the attack.

Lewie produced another spirited sprint back up to the Foresters goal.

The heated play on the pitch proved a welcome distraction to the cold off it!

Ben took possession of the ball and the unwelcome attention of a defender. This led to the defender going down and some words of advice from the referee.

Joey was next to receive some referee advice following a scrappy tackle and some argy bargy.

A Foresters free kick lead to a dangerous threat to our goal. 

Scrappy play ensued.

Joey managed to square up to the goal and took a shot that went just wide of the goal mouth.

The game resettled into the Falcons favour with retained possession and dominance thanks to some controlled passing.

Shots on goal followed. The cross bar bruised again.

The Falcons were playing a forward game with our defence lined up at the halfway line.

Harry stole the ball from a Foresters' forward. He ran with it and chipped it across the Foresters goal mouth. The ball was promptly intercepted by a diving Lucca, who at full stretch and mid-flight headbutted it into the goal. 

GOAL 3-0

One of our season’s finest.

The Foresters crossbar again received some punishment, this time from Max.

Undaunted pressure from Langton and spirited defending from Foresters.

Final whistle blown but not before Luca produced another great cross, and due to the cold my hands gave up the ability to write.

FULL TIME

Before the start of the game we had the opportunity to reflect. At the end of the game, reflection can quite rightly turn towards the success of this remarkable team of lads. League winners for the past two seasons, so far unbeaten this season, and with three players listed in the top 10 goal scorers.

A defeat may come, but there is no harm in living in the moment, is there?

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Langton Green Falcons 3 Sedlescombe Rangers Junior 1

Sunday 29th October - 9:30ko at Groombridge

Match reporter: Steve Conn

Sunday brought an early kick-off against tough opposition at Fortress Groombridge. By 8:30am many of the Sedlescombe team had already arrived - they were either really up for the game or hadn’t noticed the clocks had changed.

The ref checked the pressure of the match balls and deemed that only two out of five were rock hard enough. Cue the pump. So the match kicked off with a solid ball, a healthy contingent of Sedlescombe parents but an absence of Falcons support, save the admirable Jorge waving his flag. Seems matchreportitis has reached epidemic proportions in Langton Green….

The Sedlescombe boys had obviously eaten their porridge and started the game on the front foot. A dangerous free-kick then a corner were fielded well by Dan C (who had had Weetabix). 10 minutes in, the Falcons began to shake off their hangovers and put some football together, with Ben just failing to turn the ball in after a scramble in the Sedlescombe goalmouth. A dangerous Sedlescombe attack was then thwarted by a superb last-ditch tackle from Lewie. 

The breakthrough came after 20 minutes. A Falcons through-ball caught the keeper handling the ball a couple of yards outside his box. Josh hit a sweet free-kick past the wall and against the post. Ben was first to react, turning the rebound in effortlessly. 1-0

The Falcons nearly added a second immediately, as Max broke up play and fed Joey, whose shot was well-saved. This seemed to sting Sedlescombe into action and once again the Falcons found themselves under pressure, and too often second to the ball. 

On 25 minutes, a stitch for Josh brought Luke off the bench (remember him??). The game was very even and fiercely contested. Good pressure from the Falcons, a nice overhead kick by Ben well saved, a superb through ball from Luca nearly put in by Joey, and some determined play by Harry and then Victor down the left.

At the back, the Falcons defence were their usual impeccable selves. Harvey's reading of the game was excellent, Kaan stamped out every threat without breaking sweat, and Dan B and Lewie again showed what excellent attacking full-backs they have become. Behind them Dan C was mopping up anything that came his way, showing very intelligent positioning and coming off his line decisively. The communication between the back five was exceptional….really good to see.

After 35 minutes, the Falcons were getting on top. A big goal-kick from Dan was allowed to bounce, Joey flicked on intelligently, and Ben showed immense strength and speed to break away from the Sedlescombe to defence and finish clinically. 2-0

The Falcons nearly put the game to bed before half-time. Luca hit a sublime cross-field ball to Luke, whose shot was deflected onto the post.

Half-time - and a deserved 2-0 lead.

Sedlescombe obviously ingested more Jaffa cakes than the Falcons at the break because they came out with great determination and energy, testing the resilience of the Falcons’ defence. Then some sleepy defending from a corner saw Dan have to make a sharp save at his near post.

As in the first half, the Falcons took 10 minutes to get their heads together. A great driving run by Luke was only stopped by a foul.

Then another dramatic burst from Lewie took him into the box, only to be thwarted by a challenge that could easily have been seen as a penalty. Dan B broke up play and fed Max, whose shot was cleverly turned towards goal by Joey….and very well saved. Then after 55 minutes, the pressure told. Sedlescombe failed to defend a throw in, leaving a smiling Ben unmarked six yards out. He doesn’t miss from there. A second successive hat-trick for Ben and 3-0 for the Falcons.

Max and Luke were getting a grip on midfield. And Max nearly extended the lead but shot just over the bar.But all credit to Sedlescombe, they didn’t give up, and after 60 minutes got their reward with an unstoppable shot to make it 3-1. The Falcons dug in well. The rest of the match was a tight affair, but the Falcons were never really threatened. In fact they nearly extended their lead with a few minutes to go. A typical mazy run from Luca led to a nice shot from Harry, well saved…..the keeper tried a quick throw but Harry intercepted and send a lovely lob back over his head. The crowd waited for the inevitable bulging of the net, but a Sedlescombe defender appeared from nowhere to acrobatically overhead kick off the line, injuring himself in the process. A suitably dramatic end to a high-quality match, and the Falcons’ hardest test so far this season. The ref stopped by at the end to say that he thought the match was a great credit to the league. So the Falcons march on - seven games, seven wins, some very nice football along the way and a very healthy looking league table. 

http://fulltime-league.thefa.com/ProcessPublicSelect.do?psSelectedSeason=704764918&psSelectedDivision=7276552&Submit.x=11&Submit.y=9&Submit=Submit&psSelectedCompetition=0&psSelectedLeague=4344945

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Tunbridge Wells Youth Falcons 0 Langton Green Falcons 9

Sunday 8th October - 10:30 am ko at Ridgewaye Playing Fields.

Match reporter: Marc Parris

The game this morning started on a bright and sunny day with a pitch that at least had some grass on it this time.

The game started with a little too relaxed Langton and the ball didn’t seem to flow amongst the players as well as it normally does. The passing game was certainly not up to the normal Falcons standard. This in turn made for some interesting early runs from the TWells Youth boys. The first 10 minutes were definitely end-to-end stuff with a couple of half-hearted shots agains Langton - if they were accurate shots things could have been different!

A nice run down the wing from Harry forced a corner, could this be the start we needed? Ball in and a lovely little side chip from Joey was tipped just over the bar from the keeper, another corner. Taken but quickly out by TWells.

Some great work in midfield by both team and some hard tackles going in. A nice pass forward saw the ball go out for a corner. Great corner taken by Harry but out by TWells straight to the feet of Lewie for the first shot on goal, just over.

The Langton boys are now showing signs of upping the pressure a little, but still the passing was shocking. The ball was gathered by Luca who made a great run down the wing, took it inside and had a great shot, just wide again. Is this ball going to go in today?

Some more pressure from Langton saw Joey have a shot, just wide. Then again the ball to Josh and another shot, this one went even closer, but not close enough!

The ball then quickly ended up in our half and a very tense minute followed, then a free kick to Twells. Taken and just over the bar. This was a bit of a wake up.

Then a bit of magic by Ben, a lovely shot, out by the defender but only back to Ben who slotted the first goal.

GOAL 0:1

This is all we needed, someone to get us off the floor. Suddenly the boys' heads were up. A free kick to Langton taken firmly by Josh, hit the cross-bar, out into the path of Joey, in for a header, goal.

GOAL: 0:2

More positive midfield work and the passing was starting to improve. Some lovely ball work by all the midfield and a nice pass through from Harry saw the feet of Joey, shot, but just tipped over by the goalie.

The game was definitely not won at this point as there was some great individual play from a couple of the TWells boys. Some pressure in our goal-mouth again saw a corner awarded to TWells. Great corner but safely caught by Dan.

HALF TIME

Some words must have been said by the wise one, and a load of jelly babies and caffeine shots, as the boys came out a different team. Passing was great and general team play was so much better, oh, and they were talking to each other.

The pressure was on and a nice little run by Joey saw a shot just wide, then a quick Harry in the right place slid it in the bottom left. Goal.

GOAL: 0:3

Now all the boys were on it, heads up and team play was back to normal. Some more passing saw a great run by Harry again to Luca, who had a short run then to make all on his own. Goal.

GOAL: 0:4

Some more general midfield play saw a great pass through from Max to Joey, short shot came off a defender back out again for a second shot, which saw the ball almost burn out when it orbited the sun!

There really is nothing to write about apart from the amount of pressure the Langton boys were now pounding on the TWells goal.

Out for a corner taken by Harry, strike from Dan B who hit the cross-bar, out to the feet of a waiting Max. Strike. Goal.

GOAL: 0:5

From the kick-off we were back in the goal-mouth of the opposition, some great short one-touch passing and to the feet of Joey, who managed to flick it over the head of one defender and on the half-volley buried the ball into the top-left corner. Goal.

GOAL: 0:6

More pressure, a lovely run by Victor and great cross onto the head of Luca for yet another. Goal.

GOAL: 0:7

Another lone run from Luca, chipped in to Joey, who managed a little chip into the back of the net. Hat-trick. Goal.

GOAL: 0:8

Sub: Joey off. Harry on!! Missed that one, when did Harry get subbed?

Great move from the management. A great run from Luca, who fed Harry, who managed slot the ball straight into the right-hand side of the goal. Goal.

GOAL: 0:9

Final whistle

Tunbridge Wells Youth Falcons 0 Langton Green Falcons 9

Another great performance from the boys in the end, but I feel there is a lot to be taken away from the first-half performance. We don’t want to be caught out in future games.

Well done boys and management.

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Raw Skills Saints 0 - 9 Langton Green Falcons

Sunday 1 October - 10:00ko at Edenbridge Rec

Match reporter: Steve Conn

On a soggy morning in Edenbridge we were welcomed by a very smart chap in a suit and tie, who explained that the pitch we were due to play on had a broken goal. Ian immediately decided we need a besuited ‘greeter’ for opposition teams at Groombridge (Paul Richards, obviously...). The pitch we moved to turned out to be bigger and wider than Wembley…wingers on the far side would struggle to even hear Simon’s dulcet bark. There was also a notable absence of travelling support for the Falcons…..this match report dodging is getting out of hand. It was at this point that we noticed the ‘greeter’ had slipped into a little black outfit and was actually the ref. After a detailed instruction session for the linesmen and players, the match kicked off. The Falcons, with George in for fractured-wristed Harv, started to dominate from the off. First chance, a free-kick from Max, deflected off the wall. Then after 5 mins a corner was cleared to Lewie, who smacked it into the top corner with his swinger - he is making a habit of scoring spectacular goals. 1-0.

The Falcons were dominating play. Ben came close. Then 15 mins in, Max slipped a lovely ball to Joey, who made no mistake. 2-0

Some drama - match stopped for the ref to give a linesman a ticking off for 1) not moving, and 2) not noticing offsides. But we all knew Colin was doing his best.

The Falcons were continuing to dominate possession but struggling to get their usual slick passing game going. Luca came close. Dan and Captain Kaan had to clear up a Raw Skills attack. George fed Max, spread nicely to Harry, lovely shot that the keeper could only palm into the path of a hungry Joey. 3-0

A few minutes later Harry got clear again and his cross-shot (let’s call it a shot) found the net. 4-0

The Falcons won the ball straight back and attacked again. Another lovely cross from Harry (this one definitely a cross), neatly turned in by Victor. 5-0

A few minutes later, as half-time loomed, Victor beat his man, fed Ben, some lovely feet, then deftly poked into the top-corner by Josh’s left foot. 6-0

Half-time Jaffa cakes and a good lead for the Falcons without them ever really getting their game into gear.The second half started with a pinpoint cross from Victor. Joey leapt like Billy the Fish, hung in the air, surely the hat-trick. No, over the bar. Some rampaging runs from Dan B and Lewie, but the Falcons were a bit flat. Then after 50 mins, a Falcons corner was punched out by the keeper, landing just outside the box at the feet of Victor, who arrowed an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net. A Raw Skills spectator commented: ‘I bet he practiced that on FIFA 18’. 7-0

Play became more even and Raw Skills started to have a few attacks, testing Kaan’s pace and Dan’s handling. A Raw Skills shot shook the post, but the Falcons kept their goal intact (and keeper Dan said he had it covered…).Victor just missed his hat-trick with a shot agonisingly wide. Joey again thwarted as he hit the bar. Then after 65 mins, a lovely interchange between Ben and Harry. Harry weaved past three defenders and rolled the ball into the corner of the net. 8-0, and now Harry on a hat-trick as well as Joey and Victor. 

A minute later, Luca fed Ben, who calmly made it 9-0. Max nearly turned a corner in. Luca had a point-blank shot straight at the keeper. Another shot from Victor, so close to completing his hat-trick.The full-time whistle was imminent when Max slotted a lovely ball through to Harry, who had timed his run to perfection. Surely 10-0 and Harry the one to claim the hat-trick…but the ball trickled wide. Just time for one more Falcons attack. Joey clear and surely the hat-trick. Just wide again. 

Final whistle. 9-0. Obviously nobody wanted the match ball. And no post-match water for the boys because a cute little dog had lifted its leg on/in the drinks bag. So the Falcons maintain their perfect start with four wins out of four, but they’ll have to raise their game for some of the tests ahead.

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Langton Green Falcons 3 Broad Oak & Horam Legend 1

Sunday 24h September - 11:30am ko at Groombridge.

Match reporter: Ben’s dad

PRE-MATCH WAFFLE
For once no hiding in hedgerows or purposely turning up late. This week’s intrepid reporter, much to the surprise of Steve, volunteered for the task.

A case of let’s get it over with and feeling tempted to exploit a gained insight into the inner workings of a number of players, thanks to Birthday Boy Ben’s sleepover.

So to the task in hand, note pad and pen at the ready (old school for this hack) for some determined note taking to offset a last season comment (Ian) that my reports 'are all the more interesting because it's as if you are reporting on a different match’.

As the two old adversaries squared up, the modest home crowd warmed to the task. Some direction from Ian to keep the noise down as there was a tennis tournament next door. Good luck with that.

11:30 The Referee’s whistle is blown.

ROUND ONE
Broad Oak (BO) win the toss followed by a threatening presence in the Langton Green (LG) box. Dan politely instructed to wake up by Simon.

Dan responds with a goal kick bringing the ball nicely into the BO throng of defenders. In the ensuing melee, Birthday Boy Ben, sporting a handsome pair of new sock boots and appearing up for another all-night session, breaks cover and takes a shot - thwarted by the BO goalie.

The ball promptly returns to the LG half. This could be a close game.

Some great defence from Lewie and a switch back to the BO half whereupon Harvey seizes on the ball and nearly gets a goal.

Harvey to Joey - shot on goal - saved.

Back and forth play ensues, LG politely asked to fill the gaps. Simon’s helpful suggestion ignored, for what followed was some close quarter scramble and passing, resulting in the ball being mopped up by Ben.

11:45 GOAL-1-0

Ben gives the game a lift by tapping the ball past the crowded BO goalie.

Unfazed BO retain their composure to deliver the ball within threatening distance of the LG goal.

11:48 GOAL 1-1

A cross hits the far upright bar (editor’s note: it’s traditionally called a ‘post’) … only to rebound with a heart-stopping effect into the back of the LG net.

LG respond - Joey takes a shot - saved.

Determined play from both teams. Whistle blown against LG - offside?

Ball back in the LG half…nice cross kick from the accomplished looking BO number 22 - Harvey blocks. Great tackle from Luca. Harvey gets stuck in again. This time Kaan blocks the attacking BO 22…phew.

LG concede a corner only for Dan to pick up the ball. Assisted by Luca, the ball is now back in the BO half. Close quarter encounters and then the whistle blown. Ben has been cut down in the BO box, but is thankfully back on his feet (the bag of frozen peas can be consumed this week).

Penalty given.

12.03 GOAL 2-1

Joey takes the shot and slots the ball into the back of the net.

LG keep the pressure up – Josh hits a lovely shot from the halfway mark and just misses the goal.

Solid support in the midfield, Max blocking and running with the ball, some tidy passing

Even play ensues with some great defending from LG.

Ball perfectly cleared by defender Dan.

HALF-TIME WHISTLE BLOWN.

As is the way…the home team support has now swelled. Banter ensues, seems last week’s match was filmed and is now on YouTube.

At this rate the match report could be a thing of the past...just a thought.

Also, all hope of striking my own hits against a group of delinquents has been thwarted by their remarkable recovery.

ROUND TWO
LG kick off

Solid start with the ball remaining in the BO half.

Ben shot…wide.

Ben to Joey…no joy

Josh great pass to Joey - strikes hard, ball comes back , Josh gathers it and strikes at the goal…saved

Whistle blown, why… this is good stuff.

Attention switches to the LG end. Harvey is down (how, why) and after some attention is helped off the pitch.

(Post-match update: against Harvey’s wishes, for he and his dad had tickets to the Brighton game, he was promptly taken by his dad to A&E where it was found he had fractured his wrist by falling on it. A serious loss to LG in the coming weeks.)

New boy George, who has been patiently waiting on the sidelines, is quickly brought into the game. Welcome aboard.

The game restarts.

BO pick up the pace and threaten the LG goal. BO 22 takes a solid shot, Dan saves. Lots of exciting play but at the wrong end of the pitch. Nail-biting stuff.

A hefty goal kick from Dan brings LG back onto the attack. Good defence from BO. BO get a throw in.

LG respond. Luca runs with the ball - passes to Ben - back to Luca, Ben runs forward Luca passes to Ben who is promptly swamped by BO defenders. Shame…all the makings of a set piece.

A solid LG midfield keep the pressure up on BO. Max running with the ball again. Determined but thwarted.

Ben has the ball and goal in his sights. BO goalkeeper comes out and both boys collide hard. Joey collects the ball and puts it into the back of the net.

Whistle blown. No goal

The clash looked nasty. Ben is up but the BO goalie is down.

Protests from the BO sidelines. Thankfully, the BO goalie gathers himself and is back in the game, as evidenced by the following long goal kick.

A good chip of the ball from Max puts LG back into the game. Some determined possession and running of the ball from Luca.

Ben stops short of the goalie this time.

12.55 Joey off, Josh back on the pitch (missed that!)

Back and forth

1.02 Ben off Joey on - must be in extra time now?

1.04 GOAL 3-1

Victor runs down with the ball followed by a lovely cross. In the melee, Joey jumps up to the high ball and heads it into the goal.

1.05 FULL-TIME WHISTLE BLOWN

Langton Green Falcons retain their season’s unbeaten record.

Despite the score, this appeared to be an even, hard fought match. Here’s to Harvey making a full recovery before these two teams meet again - and Fruity Ciders all round (perhaps not!).

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Langton Green Falcons 5 Hastings Utd 1

Sunday 17th September - 11:30am ko at Groombridge.

Match reporter: Colin Campbell

It was as I looked through the long undergrowth behind the goal for the match ball kicked into the bushes in the opening minutes of the match that I copped the dreaded match report.

The tactical late arrival of several others, who shall remain nameless, left me the obvious target for an apologetic Steve.

Before my first notes were made with knackered biro on a scrap of ketchup stained paper, the ball had already caressed the back of the net twice. We all feared Hastings would be formidable opposition, but the Falcons were dominating.

Goal one was a Ben R slot home in the first minutes, the second a Lewie C surging run from midfield. In truth, the Falcons put Hastings on the back foot from the get go and then throughout. Our passing was sharp and intricate, our runs fast and multi-directional. The Falcons defence was impressive, as always our goalie Dan on his toes.

But this was a physical game and both sides battled hard. Joey and Ben were felled and subbed off, leaving the Falcons temporarilly neutralised up front. But hang on, here comes Josh B. In the box, dummy right, shoot with his left. Three nil.

The Falcons' attacks were relentless, the ball often spread wide to Harry, who supplied a stream of perfect crosses. Luca forging forward, skilling his way towards goal with footwork a ballerina would be proud of. At the back, an impervious wall of steel and speed, Kaan, Harvey and Dan.

But the Falcons' defender Harvey G featured at both ends of the pitch. Another perfectly delivered corner dropped to Harvey in the middle of the box. A back heel? Or was it his backside/hip? Anyway it was in the net - 4-1. Cue crazy Mum dancing on sidelines from ecstatic parent Sharon in the style of MC Hammer!

You notice I missed the opposition's goal and a Hastings yellow card. Oops was talking about my hangover at that stage.

The first half was a stressful watch, a bit like eating chilli: painful but enjoyable and left wanting more.

Round two, but could the Falcons hold on to the score line?

The Falcons just continued with their attractive football, Josh B winning balls, Harry sending in curling passes behind the Hastings defence, often with Joey on the end of them. Dan B made a few great runs but also several goal-saving interceptions.

Then came the controversial moment of the match, a hastily produced red card for a Hastings player. From the sideline it was clear Hastings were being frustrated by a well-organised side. A few minutes after the red came a yellow for my own son. Ouch, I am told I owe a tenner. Instead, can I ask he just puts his boxer shorts in the dirty laundry for a month, or perhaps not take his phone to bed every night? [Editor’s note: yes, you can]

Lewie peppered the Hastings goal on several occasions. But it finished 5-1, a final goal coming from Joey, who confidently placed it into the side of the net in one of his many sprinting runs that sliced the Hastings defence in two.

All the boys played brilliantly including our new signings Victor and George.

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TW Foresters 0 Langton Green Falcons 5

Sunday 10 September - 10:30ko at Southwood Road, Rusthall

Match reporter: Alastair Cameron

The first match of the new football season and how unlucky can you be to cop the first match report.   I had forgotten all the old tricks of arriving late and lurking behind bushes to avoid the dreaded approach from Steve.  A “just say no” campaign was clearly waged from some other parents. Even before the match report disaster, my morning had taken a turn for the worse having begun so well with a gentle stroll to the pitch, the sun was shining, birds singing and even the angelic Lewie had managed to string more than two words together, and then the bombshell was delivered.  “You do know that we now play 40 minutes each way.”  My life is over….!

There was some nervous discussions amongst the coaches as by 1000 the team was only about nine strong and some doubt about there being enough players. However, it all came good in the end and a full complement of boys and a sub appeared as if by magic.  A good time to welcome Victor to the team!

I’m not sure if other parents have noticed the ageing and shrinking effect that standing in wet and windy grass fields is having on us, as most of us are now lower than the boys.  Just to set the scene for our first match, we had a “proper” referee, a short and narrow pitch, a very long pair of shorts and a formal circular handshake on the pitch. Captain Kaan won the toss and elected to kick downhill, and the game got underway with a steady start.   It really looked like the training throughout the summer holidays had paid off as the boys seemed keen to make the most of the full pitch with cautious play and good ball control at both ends of the field.

The Falcons started to look dominating after about 10 minutes and there were several opportunities and a corner shot, but none hit home.   Then at 1042 Joey put the ball firmly into the net to put us at 1 – Nil This inspired Harvey to take a power shot that cleared the goal and most of the hedge behind – Lost Ball #1. Ben took a couple of shots over the next few minutes but we still remained at 1 – Nil.  Not a lot happened on the pitch for the next 15 minutes (or I nodded off).  Then Harvey managed to foul Kyle, who took the free-kick and Dan made a cracking save. Victor made his debut after being subbed on for Harry and got straight into the action.  

A few minutes later it appeared the ball was in the goal but there was no excitement to claim it from the boys, so “play on”.   A decisive goal from Ben just before half-time brought the score to 2 – Nil, inspiring Lewie to make a long run with the ball but in the end he passed it and the half time whistle was blown. Foresters came onto the pitch and moved the play into our end and seemed to have a new lease of life, but we soon got things back our way, Harry came back on and Luca went off.  A long cross from Victor to Ben and that made 3 – Nil. 

The pressure was on now from Foresters and Dan was earning his keep with some great saves. Foresters managed two corners in a row but that’s as far as it went, apart from Lost Ball #2. Play moved into the opposition’s half and Luca got hold of the ball, ran around the keeper and let the ball casually roll into the net, making 4 – Nil, and Lost Ball #3. 1155 (surely it will all be over soon?) Joey makes the score 5 – Nil and five minutes later the full-time whistle was blown. 

An excellent start to the season and it’s worth adding a few comments to the victory.  Maybe George needs to reflect if he made the right move, especially as it seems to have made Mark half the man he was!   And although it wasn’t supposed to be mentioned, an avocado in Ben’s smoothie certainly did the trick; unbelievable that parents lie and say “of course it was banana”!