Jets 2018 - 2019

Sunday October 7th, CDJFL Cup, 1st Round

Tonbridge Junior Thunder 2 - 4 Langton Green (OG, Rolf, Newman, Balcombe)

Another beautiful autumn day, and a short trip to Tonbridge for a cup match. TJT arrived with a 100% record in the A division, whilst the Jets arrived looking sleepy. They didnt look like they would need to wake up when gifted an own goal before they had even enjoyed any possession in their opponent's half, but that bonus was quickly squandered by a sleepwalking display that leaked two goals on the break, and almost more, were it not for some athletic goalkeeping by Daniel. Losing 1-2 and misfiring all over the pitch was a bad combination.

Some running repairs were attempted in terms of substitutions, and before the break 3 good chances came and went - JackO, Anton and Harry B all might have scored, but the fact they didnt only added to a sense of frustration and walking nightmare. The half time team talk was not a comfortable one, but did lead to a decision to change formation, aiming to change the game. Nathan pushed up into midfield, and after good work on the right wing by BenP and Alfie, Nathan arrived to meet a cross with a full blooded volley into the roof of the net. A proper good goal. Just in time too, as Nutty then had to dash to catch a train, with Harry N taking the wide left role. 

The direction of play was very much one way, and a number of chances didnt quite lead to a goal, but gave a sense that it was coming. Tom and Charlie came close - many of the dangerous balls through were coming from Ben and Harry at the back, who as well as denying TJT and chances, were also creating chances. With 10 minutes to go Harry N's cross/shot floated over the stranded keeper to make it 3-2 - taking the lead was vital given the Jets knew they would only have 10 players for extra time if the game went that long. Tonbridge pushed hard to equalise, but this left them vulnerable to fast breaks. Anton missed an easy one from John's through ball, but redeeemed himself late in the game as he chased down a clearance, and went to the by-line before delivering the kind of cross he and the squad had sent Tuesday night working on. Tom was flattened as he set himself to score (JackO did put the ball in the net, but the ref had already given the penalty), so up stepped Harry to maintain his goal-a game streak with what proved the last kick of the match.

4-2 looked comfortable. That isnt how it felt at half time. The positives were the second half performance, the lesson was to arrive mentally and physically ready to play, which is a lesson that needs learning before th error is punished.

Sunday September 30th, CDJFL u18 A division

Wadhurst 0 - 3 Langton Green (Manuel, Balcombe, Bachorski)

A gorgeous autumn afternoon, and a first road trip in the division, to unbeaten Wadhurst. With injuries and absences the Jets were cutting it fine. Toby raced back from rugby training in time to be a first half defender and a second half goalkeeper, replacing Dan who was needed elsewhere. 

The Jets started up the slope, and quickly established a dominance of possession. Some crosses came close to serving up an early lead, but the final connection was missing. Having spent much of the last few seasons being a fast counter-attacking side, the knack of breaking down a crowded defence wasnt apparent. A switch was made, putting Tom up front, and he paid his first dividend with a toe poke over the line after a long throw. Scrappy but necessary. The second goal was no beauty either, but it was an intelligently looped header from HarryB after a corner wasnt cleared. Several free kicks in good positions came to nothing. 2-0 wasnt a big score, but with Ben dominating the defence, it was a long way back for Wadhurst.

In the second half the flow of play was one way.....Anton rampaged down the right, HarryN tormented the Wadhurst full back, Alfie prompted with intelligent through balls. Finally Anton broke clear, blazed past everyone and scored a runaway goal. He might have had 3 more from the same template, not to mention golden chances for Charlie, BenR, Tom.....injured Matt limped on for the last 20 minutes and might have had a hat-trick. The Wadhurst keeper was a clear cut man of the match.

So, no dramas, another clean sheet....the team is still getting the hang of how to attack with the weapons they have, but is in a winning habit.

Sunday September 23rd, Kent County Cup u18s, Round 1

Langton Green Jets 7 - 2 Bredhurst Juniors (Balcombe, Gallagher 4, Allen, Bachorski

Incessant rain all morning was made irrelevant by afternoon sunshine at the Bennett 3g. The visitors sit atop the u18 Kent Youth League Premier Division, but may not have been aware of the home team's KYL pedigree across 4 seasons. This was a fixture with giant-killer potential, made all the more possible by Jack G's first game in green this season. Captain BenR was absent from the defence so HarryB took his place alongside Nathan, and Anton and Alfie took on supporting roles behind Jack, having been the strike force in previous games.

It didnt take long for it to be clear this was not going to be a lower league side trying to nick a goal against the KYL side, as most of the attacking play came from the Jets. The first goal came from a penalty as Jack was clipped moving fast inside the Bredhurst box. HarryB calmly slotted home, 1-0. The second goal wasnt long in coming....Jack ran at the defence: 'he's only got a left foot' was the touchline cry. The left foot put the ball in the top corner, 2-0. And a quieter touchline, for a while after.

Bredhurst clawed their way back in a phase where the Jets' clearances were not decisive and the challenges in the box were too frenzied. A penalty was given - Dan got a hand to the shot but not quite enough to keep the ball out, and all of a sudden a one-sided game was back in the balance. The breathing room margin was re-established when Matt turned and drilled a left foot shot intothe far corner for 3-1 and the half time talk became a cry for more of the same in the second half.

The half time talk was also about the need to be smart with penalty area tackles, and to avoid getting dragged into an ugly dogfight....that all seemed to have been forgotten when a second penalty was given to Bredhurst, and scored, and for a while the focus seemed to be on grievances with the decisions given, and the tackles endured. Charlie spent a few minutes on the touchline regaining focus, and the time was well spent, as within moments of returning to the midfield battle he linked with JohnC and lifted a ball over the full back and perfectly into Anton's path. The race was no contest, and Anton had the composure to finish left footed at the near post. 

With a two goal cushion restored it was time for the basics. JackO and Tom chased everything in midfield, Harry and Nathan's partnership at the back was a flashback to season's past, except that both now have substantially increased the quality of their distribution play. Dan's handling was secure behind them, though it was his feet that came to the rescue with Bredhurst's best chance.

What remained was a masterclass. Jack put one in the corner from 35 yards, and then Alfie put a dream pass through for Jack, again, and his left foot (again) curled the ball into the far corner. If he only has one foot it is a good one. Finally Alfie and Jack one-two'd their way through the defence for Jack to slot home......that left foot again...six left-footed goals today. not sure why Harry took the penalty with his right foot ?

This was no one-man show. There were top performances all over the pitch. Matt played in 5 of the 11 positions through the game, reliably in all of them. Anton and Alfie and Harry all adapted to a different role this week with responsible dedication. Those in defined roles all delivered with aplomb. JackG slotted in as if he had never been absent. Carlsberg dont do Sunday afternoons, but if they did......

September 9th 2018, Crowborough League u18 A Division

Langton Green Jets 4 - 0 Tunbridge Wells Youth (Lenton, Manuel, Bachorski, Balcombe)
A new season, a new(ish) squad, and a fresh challenge. School opportunities took several Jets away at the end of the final Kent Youth League campaign, which meant fresh blood was needed. The pre-season went well - thanks to our friends at Wadhurst and Whyteleafe for the much-needed tune-ups. Highlights in those games were Alfie's scissor kit, and amazing goals from BenR and Toby. Yes, that Toby. Both scored as centre backs, from open play, versus Whyteleafe. Miracle.

The first league game of the season was against near neighbours Tunbridge Wells, who won the u16 A division unbeaten last season. The Jets gave debuts to Dan in goal, BenP in defence, JackO, CharlieW and Harry N in midfield, and Alfie up front. The 7 regulars from last season lined up around them. 

It was a hot day and the Bennett 3g had a significant breeze that was nice for spectators, but also impacting on the game as it went straight up and down the pitch. The Jets played into it in the first half and it was clear immediately that TWY were going to fight and scrap, and be hard to break down. An even game with few chances but a lot of hard midfield tackling was almost broken open when Alfie set Anton loose; he raced into the box but the shot skewed wide. Aside from that a few Jet corners almost came to something; Charlie heading just over. The defence kept TWY at arm's length, conceding corners but not shots. At half-time 0-0 was fair; what remained to be seen was whether the change of ends would change things.

Almost immediately things did change. Nathan fed Alfie, who ran aggressively at the defence, and from 20 yards curled a right footer in off the far post. A magical goal had broken the deadlock, and crucially. TWY faced a dilemma - they had hung tough and defended valiantly, but to get back into the game were they going to be willing to push further forward and risk breakaways, exposing their defence to Anton's pace?

It was almost 2-0 soon after. HarryN jinked into the box, and found Anton, whose shot smashed off the underside of the bar and out again. That goal might have settled things, but instead TWY always had a chance to sneak an equaliser if they could stay in the game. HarryB, JackO and CharlieW proved themselves very hard to pass through, whilst BenR and Nathan were calm in defence, and wise in their distribution. JonC and BenP were also getting forward from full back - the traffic was one way. 

The 'breathing room' goal came when Anton sprinted after a long ball that seemed to be destined to go off the end of the pitch. Only he could have caught it - that part comes naturally to him. But having done so he also had the presence of mind to cut in, and pull the ball back into Tom's path to score from 6 yards out. It was hard to see a way back from that. TWY pushed forward but only ended up caught on the break again as Anton again proved himself the fastest guy in Kent, 3-0. HarryB then headed home Alfie's corner, and 4-0 is how it ended. It looked comfortable but the number of bloodied knees and tired players at the end of the game said this win hadnt come easily. 

As a first fixture in a new environment it was a good beginning. Hard work, some flashes of skill, and by the end some signs of a team taking shape.