Phoenix 2019 - 2020

Sunday, 13th October

Langton Green Phoenix 2 - 2 Mile Oak Wanderers
(Ben G, Rami)

My first attempt at a match report in 3 paragraphs or less...

Big 3G pitch, change of formation to 3-5-2. Ben G scored a wonderful opener after striding out of defence. 1-0. Warwick & Rami lively up front, Toby and Jack up and down the flanks with real purpose and our midfield solid and creative in possession. Sammy free kick crept under the wall but 'keeper equal to it. Ben H good save at the other end. Looking good until we conceded possession and then a needless free kick and as per recent games, didn't defend the set piece well enough. 1-1.

Second half poor start. Switched to 4-3-3 after Tom got a knock to the head and had to come off. Went 2-1 down from another set piece after we switched off from a throw-in. Corner this time. Practising set pieces number 1 on list of things to do. But plenty of grit from these boys. Back to 3-5-2 and Jack more central. Couple of mazy runs from both Finn and Jack saw us nearly score but nobody seemed willing to shoot. Ben G great pass down the right, Rami's strength took him though and an excellent finish into the corner. 2-2. Both teams could have won it at the end. Neither did and a draw probably a fair result on balance. Warwick man of the match but several excellent performances today - Ben G and Ben H both did particularly well, as did Toby as a wing back.

Some excellent play in and out of possession but some frustrating moments too. Plenty to work on, not least set piece defending. On to next week against a team who have a goal difference of +22 after 4 games. Better be prepared to do some work defensively and to stop giving away unneccessary corners and free kicks.

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Sunday, 29th September

Langton Green Phoenix 2 - 10 Eastbourne Borough Youth Orange
(Warwick, Jack)

Wow.

A cup tie against the best team we've ever faced in a "proper" game by a mile was always going to be really tough for the lads, but the boys acquitted themselves really well for 65 of the 80 minutes in horrendous weather conditions in Eastbourne's 4000 seater ground. We scored a superb second goal, put together some wonderful passing moves, but our opposition were just plain better. They moved the ball brilliantly and were calm, measured and technically very good in all positions. At 1-1 and then 5-2 and playing well we had a glimmer of hope, but 5 goals in the last 15 minutes once our boys were out on their feet put a really bad skew to a scoreline that probably didn't quite deserve to be as big as it ended up.

The commitment, effort and energy was so much better than it was last week and I left proud of the boys despite the score. We made some mistakes, absolutely, which you can't do against a team of this quality and expect to get away with them. Two of the first half goals and the first goal of the second half were completely avoidable but no blame can be apportioned to anyone and what if is a pointless game to play. It's all part of these boys' learning.

We scored a really genuinely excellent second team goal, Jack finishing Max's brilliant low cross at the far post after some lovely buildup play and there was one particular moment of sublime football that was as good as anything I've seen anywhere in youth football that I'm going to take away as my memory of this game. One touch passing the length of the pitch and a brilliant through-ball to create a goalscoring chance. If we can do that once, we can do it over and over again - as we read last week, to play fast, you have to WANT to play fast and in those moments we did just that.

Boys - take what you can from this. There are plenty of teams who would have ducked out of a game like this UTRAS or looked to play in an easier league, but you are challenging yourselves to play teams who have this sort of quality and you are getting so much more out of that. There is a bigger picture here that is more important than any one-off result. 

Well done to Eastbourne - a really decent bunch of lads who were gracious in victory and played football the right way. A pleasure to watch and I hope they have a great season. It's nice to play a team who play good football and behave the right way too.

Bring on the next game.

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Sunday, 22nd September

Langton Green Phoenix 1 - 6 Patcham United Dons
(Ben G)

Oh dear... on so many levels, oh dear.

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Sunday, 8th September 2019

Langton Green Phoenix 3 - 1 Marle Place Youth
(Rami, Evan, Finn)

Back to it for the first league game of the 2019-2020 season on a beautiful morning for football down in Sussex, at the World's End Recreation Ground in Burgess Hill to play against Marle Place Youth.

Some good moments, some not so good and plenty to work on, which is what you'd expect for a first competitive game of the season.

Three well taken goals from Rami, Evan and Finn. Jack, Ben G, Warwick and most notably Ben H in goal all played really well throughout and there were good moments from everyone today. We are encouraging the boys to be comfortable on the ball from the back and that will mean some mistakes, but the sloppiness today was disappointing because we've seen these lads play a lot better in that respect. I'm sure they'll sharpen up.

One thing they showed plenty of that was missing last season for long spells... grit. Well done boys. There was absolutely no laziness today from anyone. Not the best performance, but winning when not at our best is a good skill to have. It's a long season and this was a decent start. Well done all.

Good referee by the way.

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Tuesday, 3rd September 2019

Langton Green Phoenix 2 - 5 Lewes (Evan, Warwick)

Our fourth pre-season match in 7 days saw us play a very strong Lewes team who we thought were the best team we played last season in the league. It was a good, competitive match, once again split into 4 x 20 minute sections. A well worked header by Evan from Jack's free kick opened the scoring before we gave away two disappointing goals losing the ball cheaply in our own half. A silly 5 minutes in the second half saw three quick goals conceded before Warwick won and scored a late penalty after some positive attacking play.

Our midfield looked creative and positive, our forwards lively and intelligent in their running, but man of the match was goalkeeper Ben, who had an excellent game once again and showed intelligent distribution and great shot-stopping skills on several occasions.

A useful exercise. Some positives, some things to work on and an enjoyable final pre-season game against a strong side.

Roll on Sunday...

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Sunday 1st September 2019

vs Crawley

After a challenging game the previous Thursday against our Giants Kent Youth League team, today saw some excellent positive, attacking play on the Bennett 3G pitch against our friends from Crawley. We played 4 x 20 minute matches, scoring some well taken goals and showing a lot of composure in possession. Goals of note from Ben G and Warwick scoring excellent individual efforts and Finn finishing off the team move of the morning with a fine finish after one touch approach play that was fantastic to watch. Well done lads and thanks to Crawley, who showed some good play themselves and whose goalkeeper was excellent.

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Tuesday 27th August 2019

Langton Green Phoenix 2 - 1 East Grinstead Town
(Rami, Evan)

An excellent performance this evening in our first pre-season friendly in the warm summer evening sun against a strong East Grinstead side.

The game ebbed and flowed, both teams showing energy and some good passing moves to create chances at either end. Standout performances were plentiful, but Rami was particularly excellent up front, his work rate to win the ball back extraordinary at times, with Ben G solid and calm on the ball in the CDM role, linking things up well and showing great composure and communication skills.

A well taken rebound from a saved penalty by Rami and another well-crafted short range finish from another rebound by Evan saw us go 2-0 up in quick succession before a good goal on the break from East Grinstead after we pushed forward and left too much space in behind. Game management boys.

All in all, good stuff though, an even game against a good side and we created some very pleasing chances based around some of the things we've worked on. Well done boys and thanks to Brodie and Tom V for helping us out and of course to Brian for refereeing and Kevin / James for running the line.

Onwards...

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