Giants 2018 - 2019

Sunday 16th December 2018
Langton Giants 2 - 2 K-Sports
Luca, James D
Squad: Harry, Jack, Bertie, Owen, Brodie, Luca, Alf, Elliot, Ollie, James D, Simba, Tom, James H
Our last game of the year saw us welcome a new opponent, K-Sports to TWGSB, our opponents joining the league this season and having helped themselves to a very positive start, including a very impressive win over Ashford United two weeks ago. Made up of a collection of players who joined from a number of KYL clubs it wasn't surprising they'd started the season well and they certainly started this match well too. Again missing three key players and our two back-ups both unavailable meant we were down to just 12, with skipper Tom also suffering after a midweek illness, and we were struggling in the opening 20 minutes. K-Sports dominated possession and were putting our back three of Jack, Owen and Bertie under a lot of pressure, which they dealt with mostly but a very well delivered cross from deep landed perfectly between defence and keeper Harry for the powerful striker to head home and give our opponents a deserved early lead. This added to their confidence and again it was time for our boys to dig in, something they've become pretty adept at. Slowly but surely they started to find their feet, Brodie, Luca and Alf getting on the ball more and Simba, James D, Ollie and Elliot pressing high up the pitch to push K-Sports back. Our first chance came when Elliot skipped past a challenge and shot well towards the top corner but his effort was well saved, as was his well directed header from the resulting corner from Brodie. Simba was linking play well and flicked an excellent ball into the path of James D to hammer with his left foot, bringing an excellent save from the K-Sports keeper before then testing him with a header from a delightful Elliot cross. We were now starting to cause our opponents a lot of trouble, James D going close to finding an equaliser after a strong run which saw his shot just whistle past the far post. Brodie faked to shoot before his quick feet saw him felled on the edge of the box. Luca stepped up, and spotting a gap, side footed the free kick into the bottom corner with a brilliant free kick to equalise, something which had been coming.
1-1 at half time with the sense they were happier to hear the whistle than we were demonstrated a real turn around in the match.This only got more apparent in the second half as we put them under significant pressure for the large majority of the half, creating by far the most chances. With Skipper Tom showing great character to play a good 20 mins in both halves to give his team mates a breather, it was just the boost we needed as he put in a top performance despite not feeling great. The first 20 minutes of the half was all Langton, K-Sports were defending deeply and desperately at times but we just couldn't find the space to make the telling touch. Jack won a big tackle and charged forward, found Brodie who sent James D away who showed stunning pace to leave his defender in his wake and strike a superb effort which came back off the post. Football can be cruel at times and it felt that way when from a counter attack K-Sports were awarded a penalty kick for a challenge that was clearly outside the box, which was tucked away and we were back behind again. The difference this time was of course that it was now completely against the run of play so we just needed to carry on as we were and hope our luck would turn.... and it did, a mistake by the otherwise exemplary K-Sports centre half was pounced upon by James D in a flash and he finished smartly from around the penalty spot to level the game again. In the last 10 minutes only one team was going to win it and that was us, James D and Simba terrorising the away defence, with Ollie and Elliot doing likewise from the wings as the midfield trio of Luca, Brodie and Alf passing and probing. Harry came and dealt with a couple of dangerous crosses superbly well but was mostly unchallenged as Bertie, Owen and Jack were imperious at the back. James D had one narrowly wide, another back off the post AGAIN and another brilliantly saved as we just couldn't find the winner that to be honest our play deserved. 
Still, a fantastic effort to come back from behind twice, to put in such a strong performance with key players missing and secure our SIXTH draw in 10 games. In this league to secure points in 8 out of 10 league games before Xmas really is a very strong performance, with the odd bounce our way here of there we could be very high up the table but as it is we are still looking healthy in mid table and we have a break to look forward to. Ebbsfleet and Maidstone up next, wouldn't have it any other way!

Sunday 9th December 2018
Ashford United 4 - 2 Langton Giants
James D, Owen
Our penultimate game before Xmas saw us travel to high flying Ashford United at their impressive Homelands Stadium. With no Ollie already, we faced a double blow when injury and illness deprived us of the talents of Noah and Patrick, leaving us with just 12 players. Ashford are very good, but they are also very big, strong which suits the enormous playing surface to a tea. Despite this, our boys started off very well, coming close to opening the scoring just seconds after the kick off. Bertie fed Elliot who skipped past a tackle before feeding James D to swing in a great cross that was inches away from sitting Simba up for a close range effort. Ashford responded a few minutes later though when we were caught out down our left hand side but fortunately James H showed expert reactions to save down low to his right. A few minutes later he was required to pull off the same trick, and again he delivered. When he made a third great save a little later it became clear we were under the cosh and of this occasion the ball was bundled over the line at the third attempt, after Jack had blocked the second effort. A blow, but we were still in the game, thanks to another fine save from James H who was putting on an excellent display of goalkeeping. Max had entered the fray and was just starting to get up to speed with the game when we suffered a major blow, his hamstring giving way on him and he was done. Poor Max hasn't had a lot of luck with injuries in recent times so we wish him well, and some luck! This meant  we were down to the bear 11 and when a second goal was fired in from long range, giving James H no chance, we were facing a really hard task. 
Half time came and it became clear Alf was suffering with a groin strain, but he was prepared to give it ago, with the instruction to sit deep and not push forward too much. Alf decided to completely ignore this request and set about putting in a remarkable second half performance which typified the whole teams effort and character. Now facing into the howling wind, 2 down, with 10.5 players against a huge team who have been racking up heavy scores most of the season a lot of teams would have rolled over and got hammered. These boys though somehow fought back, taking full advantage of Ashford switching off at a corner, Alf, Brodie and Jack worked the ball to James D to near the penalty sport and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net to cut the deficit in half. Goals change games and suddenly it was us playing the football. Luca was stroking the ball around like only he can, Simba was holding the ball up superbly and linking with midfielders Brodie and Tom, with Elliot his usual effervescent self on the left. The back three of Owen, Jack and Bertie were standing tall against, well the VERY tall, Ashford attack. We won a corner, the first ball in was cleared back to the taker, Brodie, who found Alf on the edge of the box (the Alf who was supposed to be sitting back!) who appeared to be passing the ball into Tom first time, but a wonderful bit of creative thinking from our skipper saw him dummy the ball through his own legs, allowing the ball to find Brodie in behind the Ashford defence. Brodie lifted his head and picked out Owen with the perfect ball for him to calmly sweep home from 6 yards out to finish off a brilliant little move. To get back level in these circumstances was amazing, and for a glorious 20 minutes or so the boys went toe-to-toe with their illustrious opponents, matching them every step of the way. It was hard work, gutsy and full of controlled determination. With 10 minutes to go Ashford were awarded a penalty (a debatable decision for sure, but to be fair I'd have been screaming for it at the other end) which was dispatched to put Ashford back in front. We pushed forward looking for a reply, were unlucky not to be awarded a clear free kick in a very dangerous position and nearly broke through on a few other occasions, but when Ashford added a 4th in the closing minutes, with another superb strike from distance our race was run. 
All the boys deserve enormous credit for a remarkable show of character, effort and determination today, not to mention footballing ability. A special mention to Alf for really battling through the pain barrier for the team and to James H for some superb saves in that first half which kept us in the contest.

Sunday 2nd December 2018
Sevenoaks Town 2 - 2 Langton Giants
James D x2
Squad: Harry, Jack, Bertie, Elliot, Patrick, Tom, Alf, Brodie, James D, Simba,Ollie, Noah, Owen, Eddie
The third and final match of the run of games that the match reporter is absent from (he really needs to consider his commitment that one!) so again a brief report. A very tough away game today against a strong Sevenoks Team was made even tougher when Luca was forced to pull out due to a toe injury and Max was absent with his rib issues. To make matters worse, at 8.30am top scorer James D was ruled out of the game through illness. The good news though was by 9am he'd climbed off his sick bed and declared himself fit to play, and play he did, scoring both our goals. One was the match opener, a low finish from outside the box, the second was a late, late show, getting on the end of Bertie's long goal kick to finish a 1v1 with just minutes remaining. In between time Sevenoaks scored two of their own, one a very accomplished lob from distance, the other a calmly dispatched penalty. Sevenoaks are a very good side and by all accounts were more used to the wide expansive spaces of their great new facility and as such enjoyed a lot of possession as the Langton boys tired, so to keep fighting and somehow find a late equaliser speaks volumes of their work rate and attitudes. 5 draws and only 1 defeat after 8 games in this league also backs that up, these boys are competing very well, now just need one or two injuries to ease up as Patrick joined to walking wounded during today's game too. Well done to the boys, really impressive result. Great credit to James D for even playing in the game, let alone scoring both goals, and also to Eddie who stepped in at the last minute to help us out and again looked like he'd not missed a game all season. Such a luxury to have his quality waiting in the wings! It doesn't get any easier, top of the table with 100% record Ashford away next week! One to look forward to.

Sunday 25th November 2018
Bearsted 1 - 3 Langton Giants
Alf, James D, Simba
Squad: James H, Jack, Owen, Bertie, Elliot, Patrick, Tom, Alf, Luca, James D, Simba,Ollie, Noah
Another week where the match reporter was absent so just a quick summary. With no head coach present the timing of a bad accident which lead to assistant Andre being badly delayed wasn't ideal, but a minor irritation compared to those affected by the crash, we wish them well. A very soggy, bobbly pitch made for difficult conditions but despite this the boys managed to get the ball down and play their passing game well. A very early goal from Alf with an exquisite lob gave us a great start and was enough to see us hold a narrow lead at half time. The Langton boys were dominating possession and chances but when Bearsted equalised during the second half the game could have gone either way so it was perfect timing when James D scored a brilliant individual effort within a minute to reestablish the lead. When Luca smashed  free kick against the underside of the cross bar, Simba did what all good strikers do, and followed the shot in to stretch the lead to 3-1. Further chances were created but not taken, including a last minute penalty, but no harm done as all three points were secured in very challenging circumstances. That's a 5 game unbeaten run which is a great platform to build on with some tough fixtures on the horizon.

Sunday 11th November 2018 - KYL
Langton Giants 4 - 4 Greenways Aces
James D x2, Noah, Simba
Squad: James H, Jack, Patrick, Bertie, Elliot, Noah, Tom, Luca, Brodie, James D, Simba, Owen, Alf, Max.

As the season really starts to take pace with games coming thick and fast today it was Greenways Aces who visited us at TWGSB. Thankfully the rain and relented and the morning wind had settled to leave pretty good conditions for the match. Greenways had struggled to get positive results but single goal defeats by the very powerful Ebbsfleet and Holmesdale teams suggested they were going to prove a difficult challenge, and that they were. We couldn't get off to much of a worse start, going 2 goals behind pretty early on from a followed up rebound goal and a powerful header at a corner, naturally Greenways confidence was high. Despite the scoreline, we were dominating possession but were a bit guilty of not making quick enough forward progression with that possession. Thankfully though we corrected this shortly after the second goal conceded with what must be in consideration for goal of the season. Numerous quick passes, well into double figures, saw us pick our way through the midfield and find Simba on the edge of the box, after a smart turn he had the awareness to set the ball to the right for Noah to run on to an unleash an outrageous shot with the outside of his right foot which sent the ball bending into the top corner. A superb team goal finished with a stunning strike. This rattled our opponents and gave us a boost as we started to attack them at will, creating a number of chances. Jack volley over from a corner, then rolled their centre back before playing James D in who sent his effort across the keeper but it just missed the far post. Luca threaded a great ball which put James D in 1v1 but the keeper was fast off his line and closed down the chance smartly. It felt like another goal was coming and so it proved, but sadly for us at the wrong end. As we'd pushed forward we were caught on the counter attack and a good cross found the head of the striker to extend our deficit to 1-3 at the half.
The boys were determined to get back into this game and knew they were capable of doing so. James D very nearly got us off to the perfect restart, hitting the post from a tight angle after an excellent high-speed 1-2 with Luca created the chance. Brodie swung a corner in, James D stretched to reach it but was unable to keep the header under the bar, but he didn't have to wait too much longer for his goal. The team pressed high to pressure a Greenways throw in by their own corner flag, it worked, Tom winning the ball and finding Elliot who turned a clever ball round the corner for James D to fire low past the keeper to cut the deficit to one. Owen was fouled as he charged forward, Luca chipped the ball into the box which Jack met with a firm header that was well saved. Luca had two shots from distance, one just wide- the other just over, and James D fired over from close range after Simba had charged into the penalty box and pulled it back. We were mostly camped in their half now but again disaster struck. A good old fashioned lump down the middle wasn't dealt with and a very poor goal was conceded totally against the run of play, leaving us again two goals behind. Maybe some teams would have rolled over at this stage, but the boys came again, continuing to push forward and look for a way back into the game. Brodie was incredibly unlucky not to do so, his first time left-footed strike from fully 30 yards out somehow hitting the underside of the cross bar AND the inside of the post, and then the knees of the keeper who knew nothing about it.... but the ball tricked agonisingly wide. Simba then saw a shot from a tight angle saved thanks to a strong run down the right wing by Max. The goal finally came, James D refusing to give up on a through ball from Alf and pinching it from the goalkeeper, before turning and lobbing at an angle from the edge of the box. A brilliant goal that was almost identical to his effort at Holmesdale earlier in the season so clearly no fluke! 3-4 with 10 mins still to play, GAME ON! Pat came charging forward, beating several players before sending a perfectly weighted pass into James D who's shot went narrowly wide. Some great interplay in the middle of the park saw Patrick bearing down on goal but the keeper was quick off his line to save well. Max again went on a strong run and found Simba for the second time, the angle was kinder this time though and he was able to beat the last defender before finishing smartly across the keeper to tie things up at 4-4. Try as they might, the boys were just unable to find a late winner, one major goalmouth scramble but the ball just wouldn't fall for us and a good 4 v 2 in the closing moments wasn't exploited which saw the game end as a draw.
Disappointing to only take a point from a game where we've had far more chances on goal than the opposition, but when you give away such soft goals you give yourself too much of a mountain to climb. We've been excellent defensively in recent weeks, only conceding 3 goals in our last 4 games, so this can be viewed as a blip and the way the boys fought back from a two goal deficit three times was extremely impressive, so well done to them.

Sunday 4th November 2018

Tonbridge Angels 1 - 1 Langton Giants

Squad: Harry, Jack, Patrick, Bertie, Elliot, Ollie, Brodie, Luca, Alf, James D, Simba, Tom, Ethan

Due to the absence of the match reporter this week only a very short report from the match. An away trip to take on our good friends from Tonbridge Angels without the talents of Owen, Noah, Max or James H but boosted by appearances from Harry and Ethan to face a very strong opponent. The boys were up to the task though with the recent hard work in matches and training paying off as they started the game on top. Two goals ruled out for fouls at corners was frustrating but a brilliant free kick from Luca gave us a precious lead, only for the Angels to equalise in the closing minutes of the half. That does mean though that the boys had gone 155 minutes without conceding a goal, which at this level of football is very impresssive indeed. Keep it up boys.

Sunday 28th
October 2018
Langton Giants 5 - 0 Bearsted
James D x2, Tom, Simba, Elliot
Squad: James H, Jack, Patrick, Bertie, Elliot, Noah, Tom, Alf, Luca, James D, Simba, Max, Owen, Ollie, Brodie
After a few near misses the boys were finally able to turn performance into a result today against a gallant Bearsted team who started the day ahead of us in the division. This was our game in hand and the incentive was there, get three points and we'd climb 6 places up the league table to a position more in-keeping with some of our performances. We started off very well, dominating the opening exchanges as we camped ourselves in the Bearsted half. Luca swept an early testing free-kick in which James D met with an angled header just wide of the post before he then saw a low effort from distance well saved. Alf fed Elliot who skipped past a tackle before releasing James D down the left, his pace taking him free of the defence and allowing him to pick his head up to find strike partner Simba who's shot from point blank range was blocked by the keepers legs. The ball was never properly cleared though and Tom was on hand to step forward and fire home an unerring drive back across the keeper from distance to open the scoring. Bertie stepped forward to intercept and find James D who's powerful effort was parried by the goalkeeper at a tight angle before Noah's first time left foot volleyed effort went over from a cleared corner. As the half went on though Bearsted came more into the contest and we were grateful to keeper James H for a smart low save from distance. Patrick, Jack, Bertie and more latterly Max, were in complete command at the back though generally, which meant we were able to keep on the front foot throughout, even when some of the attacking football wasn't quite going to plan. In the closing moments of the half, Ollie found SImba near the penalty spot who spun and shot, but his effort was blocked so we had to make do with a narrow 1 nil lead at the mid point of the match. 
We started the second half very brightly. Brodie won the ball and instantly released James D who's effort went wide of the near post before Simba met Brodie's out-swinging corner with a first time volley but it went high over the bar. It felt like a second goal was needed, and was coming, and thankfully that sense was correct. Brodie threading the eye of a needle to play James D in 1v1 with the outrushing keeper, our striker having the pace and awareness to take it early and beat the keeper, and the despairing lunge of a Beartsed defender to double our advantage. This helped the boys relax on the ball a little more, and when skipper Tom went on a strong run into the box down the left hand side to pull the ball back for James D to fire home again, at three nil we felt comfortable enough to rest super-human Jack for the rest of the afternoon (He'd already played a full match for Kent Rugby before our match!). This luxury wasn't just down to the scoreline however, the imperious performance from Patrick in the middle of the back three was something to behold today and when you are able to drop the quality of Owen in alongside him, you know you'll be just fine. A few more chances came and went, Luca setting up several with his raking passes and Noah proving to be  a real threat on the right side, but in general we were happy with dominate possession and protect what we had. Alf, Tom, Brodie and Luca moving the ball quickly and cleverly, with Bertie and Patrick making the odd marauding run from deep to join in the attack when able. James D turned provider, pulling the ball back for Simba to finish back across the goalkeeper to make it four, before one of those runs from deep earned us our 5th. Patrick striding out of defence and charging forward, beating several players but always with his head up and then played Elliot in with a delightfully weighted pass which allowed the talented winger to dispatch the ball firmly into the far corner to wrap up the scoring.
So finally a win, not our greatest performance this season but today was about getting three points on the board and hopefully getting a few goals to boost confidence in front of goal. Both of those goals were achieved, a long with a rare clean sheet for which the defence deserve enormous credit, you don't get many in this league. Well done boys, we go again.

Sunday 14th October 2018
Larkfield 1 - 1 Langton Giants
Squad: James H, Jack, Patrick, Max, Bertie, Ollie, Brodie, Luca, Alf, Owen, Simba, Eddie, Noah
For the third time in 5 games this season we found ourselves facing Larkfield. With the previous two being very tight games there was no reason to expect this one to be any different, and so it proved. Without top goal scorer James D, the creative brilliance of Elliot or our influential captain Tom to call upon (another Rugby injury!!) we were relieved to be able to call upon Eddie who as always, was immediately up to speed with the game and put in an excellent performance. The boys started well, the bobbly pitch making it difficult for either team to dominate possession but we were definitely on the front foot. That said, we were almost caught out when we failed to play to the whistle and a speculative cross/shot hit the post, a close escape. Owen and Simba were looking lively up front, linking well together, with Luca, Brodie and Alf pulling the strings behind them to try and play them in. Max's long goal kicks were causing Larkfield problems until he got a whack on the knee and had to come off for a long stretch. The tigerish Ollie was having himself an outstanding game on the right and hit the ball of the match with a searching angled cross field ball from fully 60 yards to very nearly play Eddie in on the left side of the box. Owen won the ball high up the pitch to the right and quickly delivered a delicious cross for Simba to get on the end of but he was undone by a horrible bobble of the ball as it looked for all the world he was about to open the scoring. Owen's constant pressure was proving to be a real asset and when he blocked the goalies clearance he was unlucky that the ball broke too wide for him to be able to get a clear look on goal, his off balance effort going over the bar.  The main battle was going on in midfield with the occasional long ball from Larkfield causing Jack, Patrick and Bertie to be strong, something they were time and time again, winning numerous aerial battles. The one time Larkfield did break through, James H pulled off a remarkable save from a powerfully struck shot, flinging himself across goal to get two strong hands on the high shot, a stunning save that brought a round of applause from all. 
All this meant things were nil nil at half time with all to play for. The game continued to be a physical challenge but one that was expertly stewarded by the experienced referee. The boys stood firm but never reacted to any provocation. Noah was being asked to fill several roles today and did them all superbly well, winning tackles all over the pitch and using the ball well. As was Alf, who's consistent passing is becoming a feature of the teams play. Simba held off a defender and set Alf to have a shot from distance which was saved at the near post. Another feature today was Brodie's ability to take the ball out of the sky with a single touch to a team mate, a trick he pulled off several times, one of which went straight to Noah who had the awareness to drill the ball into the feet on Luca, he spun and delivered the perfect through ball for Simba to chase. Simba took the ball to the right of the centre half and dispatched a low effort back past the keeper into the bottom corner to give us a valuable lead with a brilliant team goal. As is always the way when protecting a narrow lead, the last 20 minutes seemed to take an age, but generally the boys did a great job of marshalling the game, not really conceding any major chances to Larkfield and continuing to be a threat, Bertie being a constant nuisance to them down the left wing especially. Larkfield were awarded a free kick, deep in our half but quite wide. The moment the ball was lofted high into our six yard box we knew we were in trouble though, the ball flicking off a Langton head and into the back of the net. Galling. Suddenly memories of two weeks ago came flooding back when we'd conceded twice late on at the same place, but no such despair this week, the last few minutes played out without any clear cut chances for either side and the game ended in a draw. 
Given the players missing, the fact it was such a familiar opponent, the bobbly pitch and a combative foe, this wasn't a bad result and was a very decent performance. 

Sunday 7th October 2018 - KYL Cup
Langton Giants 1 - 3 Junior Elite
James D
Squad: Harry, Jack, Patrick, Bertie, Ollie, Elliot, Brodie, Tom, Alf, James D, Simba, Noah, Owen, Luca, James H
Sometimes whatever the result, youth football is fantastic fun and a thoroughly positive experience. Today was one of those days and should be enjoyed as such. A tough draw in the cup saw us welcome Junior Elite to a resplendent looking Langton Rec in the sunshine. The pitch was in perfect condition and it was great to play at 'home' for once. Back in the Tandridge League Junior Elite were the Barcelona of our age group, sweeping all before them and handing out thrashings on a weekly basis, they gave us a couple along the way, so this was going to be a test to show how far we've come and in terms of performance the boys passed the test with flying colours, even in defeat. Whereas before we parked the proverbial bus to try and keep the score down, today we went toe-to-toe and for a glorious period in the second half were the stronger team and, to quote their own coach, we had them on the ropes. Things certainly didn't start like that though as Junior Elite reminded us all what a fine team they are, whipping the ball round with pace, accuracy and creativity and it felt like they had several more players on the pitch than we did. The back three of Jack, Patrick and Bertie stood firm though and as Junior Elite pushed forward we were able to hit them on the counter attack after Tom won a big tackle. Brodie found Elliot, who in turn found James D to charge forward and fire in a thunderous shot that the keeper did well to parry. That moment of threat from us though was quickly undone by a brilliant slide-rule pass that split our defence open and the ball was dispatched past Harry to give our visitors a deserved lead. We looked in trouble at this stage and needed to get a foothold in the contest. Slowly we started to, although Junior Elite continued to dominate possession, we were getting closer to them now and causing a few mistakes. This lead to our own attacking threat growing and a speculative but brilliantly struck effort from Owen from distance brought a very good save from their keeper low down in the corner. James D also had a dig from far out that went narrowly wide after being found with a smart ball from Alf. Jack stormed out of defence, the ball found Luca who in turn found James D, he whipped in a great cross which beat the keeper, Jack had carried on his run and gave everything to bundle the ball over the line but somehow the ball stayed out, no idea how, the clearance fell at the feet of Alf who fired back on goal only for his low effort to be saved by the keeper. A well delivered Junior Elite corner was met powerfully with a double fist in traffic by keeper Harry who was awarded a free kick for the clattering he took, superbly brave goalkeeping. In the closing moments Luca sent a powerful free kick wide after Ollie has won it iin a dangerous position with his quick feet.
1 down at half time and growing into the game, time to try and push on. Make no mistake, Junior Elite continued to play some mesmerising football and were stretching us all over the park, but thanks to sheer grit and determination, the boys kept them at bay and were starting to cause them problems too, it was turning into a proper cup tie. Patrick was majestic in the middle of the back three, reading the game superbly and calmness personified on the ball. Simba was having a great game, flipping between a striker and CDM role as needed and doing both with aplomb. Elliot was fouled, Brodie swung the free kick in which was inches away from James D toes just feet from the exposed goal. Noah won us a corner which Luca delivered to the back post where Brodie was so close to repeating his trick of last week, this time the ball dropping agonisingly onto the roof of the net. As we pushed forward though it felt inevitable that Junior Elite's quality would cause us problems and so it proved. A free flowing passing movement on the counter saw them double their lead with an outstanding goal, it was a devastating attack and a big blow. We were still in this though, James D sent a free kick wide and Harry made an excellent save down low to keep the deficit at two, which meant when we got one back moments later in was game on! Simba deserves enormous credit for this goal, chasing up the hill to close down the keeper, pressuring him into an error which saw the ball break for Alf who had the wherewithal to lift his head up and pick James D out to fire home from close range. Skipper Tom strode forward to meet a cleared ball from a great diagonal pass from Bertie and struck a firm effort wide as we searched desperately for an equaliser. For a wonderful moment we thought we had it, Ollie showing great tenacity to charge at the goal, the keeper saved it and James D bundled home the rebound but he was off-side. Another excellent counter attack saw Junior Elite add a third which effectively killed off the game with about 5 minutes left, but not to be bowed, the boys kept on fighting to the final whistle.
Junior Elite deserved to win this game, they are the best passing side we've faced, have fantastic attitudes, work as a team and don't get involved in any of the nonsense which sadly can be too apparent in some other teams. They're a credit to the league and enjoyable to play against. Our boys played superbly well and with a bit more luck could have pinched this one, but even so should be very proud of their performance today, it was very impressive.

Sunday 30th September 2018 - Kent County Cup
Larkfield 2 - 1 Langton Giants
Squad: James H, Tom, Jack, Luca, Elliot, Simba, Owen, Noah, Max, Patrick, Brodie, Alf, Bertie 
When you enter the County Cup, the hope is to get a bye in the first round or a tie against a team from another league. Failing that, at least get drawn against a team from a different division, just to see some different faces. So to get drawn against a team that are not only in our division, but we played two weeks ago and play again in two weeks time, wasn't ideal. With top scorer James D unavailable due to a rugby injury, and both Tom and Bertie struggling with rugby related issues the physical nature of the Larkfield team was always going to be problematic and something we struggled to cope with a fortnight ago. We knew we needed to start better than last time out and be ready for the intensity, and we were as we utterly dominated the opening exchanges. Pinning Larkfield back into their own half, moving the ball at pace and causing them all sorts of problems, especially down the left flank where Elliot was looking especially lively and Luca was pulling the strings. Some brilliant interplay between Simba and Luca found Elliot in space in the box, his well struck shot being well saved. High pressure from Owen and Tom saw us win the ball, Noah delivering a great cross that Brodie met with a leaping header but unable to find the target. We didn't have to wait long for a goal though, Luca, Simba and Elliot moved the ball quickly and decisively and found Brodie on the edge of the box who spun under pressure and looped his shot high into the roof of the net to give us a thoroughly deserved lead. Between that point and the half time whistle it was all Giants, with chances going begging every few minutes. Through all this, the back three of Patrick, Jack and Max, then Bertie, were in total command ensuring James H in goal was a practical bystander. A couple of the themes of the half was Alf's quick forward passing and Owen's brilliant hold up play; the latter also going close to scoring on a few occasions, a couple of efforts wide and one very well saved. Elliot and Simba also both had good chances but the deserved cushion of the second goal just wouldn't come.
The second half continued pretty much in the same vein, albeit with less clear cut chances, but still we were in control of the game and looking untroubled at the back. Bertie saw a good effort saved low and Owen had a firm shot go over the bar, but the longer the game went on the more the concern of not getting that second goal grew. As it turned out we were right to be concerned. Patrick was being obviously fouled as he was clearing the ball, nothing given, the ball broke clear and a Larkfield player was tripped in a dangerous position, which was given! A clear foul but not as clear as the one we weren't awarded before it, sadly a consistent theme throughout the match. The ball was almost inevitably dispatched into the back of the net with 10 mins to go. We pushed forward for a winner, going oh so close in a mad goal mouth scramble, before being on the receiving end of the mother of all sucker punches where, following a similar goal mouth scramble, Larkfield swept the ball home with practically their first effort from open play in the game. With less than a minute to go we were done, not before Luca was inches away from saving the day with a brilliant effort from distance which just went over the bar.
Football can be a cruel game sometimes, but the bottom line is we simply have to convert our chances into goals at this level or you will be punished. A harsh lesson today, the boys were superb generally and didn't deserve this outcome. Time to roll up our sleeves and go again next week.

Sunday 16th September 2018
Holmesdale 6 - 2 Langton Giants
James D x2
Squad: James H, Tom, Jack, Luca, Elliot, Simba, Owen, Noah, Bertie,   James D, Alf, Brodie, Eddie, Ethan.
Our second game of the season saw us travel to the Bromley area to face newcomers to the Central Division, Holmesdale, who had performed very well in the North division last season so we knew we were in for a tough outing. We've played them numerous times before in the Tandridge League but they're a very different team to those days and were strong all over the pitch. With a few absentees we were grateful to Eddie & Ethan for stepping up and putting in a great shift to help the team. We didn't help ourselves at the start though, failing to learn the lesson from last week as we conceded an almost identical goal, carelessly giving the ball away by playing from space into congestion and being punished with a very smart finish. A great and immediate response though, Luca delivering a delicious free kick that James D got on the end of and directed a clinical finish into the corner and we were back level. Elliot skipped past two defenders, sprinted into space and back heeled into the path for James D to shoot, his effort being well saved low down. No worries though, Brodie pinched the ball off the toes of the Holmesdale midfielder and lobbed a cracking ball over the heads of the defence for James D to chase. The keeper got to the ball first but the pressure from James' run caused him to spill the ball, James tracked it down and lofted it back over the keepers head from a ridiculously tight angle to give us a 2-1 lead, a brilliant goal. The scored stayed 2-1 for a good 10 minutes or so and at this stage all seemed well in the world. Owen, Jack and Bertie were looking strong, with James H confident behind them. Noah, Elliot and then Eddie were performing well as wing backs with Simba looking lively too. Slowly though Holmesdale's quality started to tell as they were getting on the front foot, especially in midfield where one lad in particular was beginning the run the show. Their equaliser was very good. Quick passing and intelligent running off the ball saw them open us up down the left wing and pull the ball back to be fired home. Sadly our self destruct button was pressed twice in the closing minutes of the half. Firstly a game of 'after you sir' between two of our midfielders allowed their Holmesdale counter part to pinch the ball, feed the striker to fire home.Then a run down the right went unchecked and somehow a cross was delivered despite three defenders trying to stop it and that was finished too. From 2-1 up with 10 minutes to go, we found ourselves 4-2 down at half time, and we knew we'd given them three of the goals we'd conceded from our possession.
We needed to tighten up in the second half and credit to the lads, they really did. The big pitch and concerns over some of the boys fitness started to take its toll though and Holmesdale were able to dominate possession as a result. At 4-2 we had a big chance to open the game back up though, with the play of the game almost resulting in a third goal for us. Noah won the ball, charged forward, he fed Brodie who played it first time to James D who played a delightful one touch 1-2 with Elliot which saw him bearing down on the goalkeeper. The speed in which the keeper got out though meant he was able to charge down James' shot. Brodie delivered the corner, Jack challenged the keeper and the ball agonisingly hit the post off of Jack's posterior ! Those two chances were as close as we got, with two worldys from fully 30 yards, both giving the excellent James H no chance as they flew into the top corner, giving the score line an unflattering appearance, albeit a thoroughly deserved win for Holmesdale.
The boys deserve great credit for their work rate and attitudes today, never giving up or letting their heads drop. We go again next week.

Sunday 9th September 2018
Langton Giants 1 - 1 Larkfield
Squad: James H, Jack, Brodie, Elliot, Owen, Max, Ollie, Patrick, James D, Alf, Luca, Harry, Tom, Bertie, Simba
The first game of our third season in the Kent Youth League and already enough to remind us what a battle it is going to be every week. We welcomed a much changed and physical Larkfield side who didn't give us an inch all day and we found it difficult to get the ball down and play in our usual fashion. Patrick was making his competitive debut and put in a calm and commanding performance at the centre of defence in the first half against the big and physical striker. Unfortunately a nagging leg muscle injury denied us of his talents in the second half. Larkfield started the better and we were our own worst enemy, giving the ball away cheaply in midfield and watching as the striker found the bottom corner. This put us on the back foot and we struggled to get into the game as Larkfield physically bullied us for much of the first half. We had a few chances along the way though, Brodie robbing the Larkfield centre back and shooting from distance and James D bringing a low save from the middle of the box. Despite our attacking troubles, Jack, Max, Patrick and Bertie stood firm in defence with James H looking confident between the sticks which meant we weren't in serious trouble of conceding a second. Just before half time though we were denied a nailed on penalty when Elliot was tripped and shoved to the ground but unbelievably it was waived away. That said though, Larkfield warranted their half time lead and we knew we needed to step things up to get something from this game.
Thankfully, we did in the second half. If Larkfield had edged the first half, we comfortably won the second half in terms of possession and chances created thanks to an increased effort and aggression to match our opponents. Alf, Brodie and Tom started to dominate the midfield, with Bertie and Ollie causing problems on the wings to service James D and Simba up top, the latter having a growing influence on proceedings with his strong running with the ball. Owen had returned to defence and put in some crunching tackles which helped us start to turn the tables. It looked like Alf was going to draw us level but his well struck shot from around the penalty spot was charged down. James D's pace and power saw him brilliantly hold off two defenders and his shot beat the keeper but the ball was cleared before it was able to cross the line. It felt like the equaliser was coming and so it proved. Bertie was fouled, with the free kick Luca swept a hanging ball in for Jack to power home with a thunderous header into the back of the net. We pushed hard to find a winner. James D and Luca both had free kick efforts go over the bar, the former also seeing a shot from ten yards out saved low. With ten minutes to go Harry had to make a surprise appearance in goal as James was suffering from a calf problem. The luxury of having two goalkeepers meant we didn't miss a beat. Push as we might we couldn't find a winner, Jack going closest in the dying seconds when it looked like he was going to repeat his trick from Brodie's corner but the ball flew agonisingly over the bar. 
Given our poor first half a draw was probably a fair result, but with the penalty claim and chances created it felt like we could have taken all three points. Never mind, good to have a point on the board and a long season ahead.