Giants 2018 - 2019

Saturday 13th July 2019
Lewes FC Tournament
The Giants win the cup!
The last tournament of the summer, and therefore the last kickings of the 2018/19 season saw the Giants end the season on a high with a magnificent victory against tough opponents. With neither regular keeper available for this one, old friend Adam joined us for the day and was outstanding all afternoon. We started slowly, missing countless guilt-edged chances in each of our first few group games, and the the format being that only the group winners would progress to the cup competition there was no room for error, especially after our opening game ended 0-0 against a very strong Horsham team. It meant that going into our last game a win would see us win the group, a draw likely mean we'd finish runners up (which would have put us in the plate) a loss and we'd be going home. Facing Esher in that last game, who hadn't conceded a goal and won all their games, we dominated them from start to finish and James D finished off a wonderful passing move to send us through. In the semi-final we were up against a very aggressive and physical Galaxy team. Not one's to be easily intimidated by such antics, the boys blew them away with their brilliant football, scoring 3 times quickly and taking any sting out of the contest, running out 4-1 victors. The final saw us have a repeat of the final at our own fiesta v Select Soccer, and the result was similar, a comfortable 3 nil win and the cup was won!
Results and Scorers
Langton Giants 0 - 0 Horsham B&A
Langton Giants 2 - 0 Pevensey & Westham (Simba, o.g)
Langton Giants 1 - 0 Montpelier Villa (Elliot)
Langton Giants 3 - 0 Premier Utd (Max, James D, Elliot)
Langton Giants 1 - 0 Esher United (James D)
1/2 Final - Langton Giants 4 - 1 Galaxy FC (James D x3, Jack P)
Final - Langton Giants 3 - 0 Select Soccer (Elliot, Simba, James D)

Sunday 30th June 2019 
TW Youth Ridgewaye Tournament
The penultimate tournament of the summer season saw us enter a team in the u15 age group in the morning with another team playing up a year in the u16 competition. The morning started well, with the team winning 3 out of 4 group games, with a classic fiesta 0-0 thrown in for good measure. We then had a number of chances to win the 1/4 final but were unable to convert, the nearest being when he hit the post from close range, resulting in the worlds longest ever penalty shootout (partially thanks to a ridiculously close penalty spot) which saw our boys convert 20 consecutive penalties and still not win! Going second in a shootout is very tough, the team that goes first wins more often than not, as every time a lad steps up they know if they miss in a sudden death situation they're out. So for all of them to slot away their pens time and time again under that pressure was very impressive. Despite going out, I'd like to think this effort alongside the penalty shootout win at our own fiesta earlier in the summer gives the boys confidence for any future instances. Going out of a tournament having not conceding a single goal all morning is a little galling, but that's fiesta football for you.
The afternoon was a very physical affair, every game a real hard battle and to be honest, not a lot of pretty football on display. Not helped of course by the smallest pitches we've played on all year making the 6-a-side format incredibly packed, with no space to play, it felt like a tackling competition at times. With a few injuries, we were grateful to Josh to join us to give us a 6th player at least and the boys were superb in the group stages, winning their first two matches before a narrow 1 nil defeat against Sheppey, a 0-0 draw in the final game was enough to see us progress to the Cup competition. We came up against a very strong team (including the Crystal Palace u16 goalkeeper!) who took their two chances very well in the second half to knock us out. Despite this, I thought the boys gave a very good account of themselves and should be pleased with the efforts.
Results & Scorers
Langton Giants 2 - 0 Tonbridge Junior Samurai (Simba, Jack B)
Langton Giants 4 - 0 Langton Chiefs (Bertie x2, Simba, Brodie)
Langton Giants 0 - 0 Jarvis Brook
Langton Giants 2 - 0 Pevensey & Westham (Berte, Owen)
1/4 Final - Langton Giants 0 - 0 Tonbridge Angels Blue (Ginats lose 21-20 on pens)
Langton Giants 2 - 0 TW Foresters Yellow (Josh, Jack P)
Langton Giants 1 - 0 Hollington Youth (Luca)
Langton Giants 0 - 1 Sheppey United
Langton Giants 0 - 0 Broad Oak & Horam
1/4 Final - Langton Giants 0 - 2 TW Youth

Saturday 8th June 2019

Tonbridge Juniors Fiesta

The Giants win the cup!
After a couple of years break from it we returned to the Tonbridge Juniors tournament to face some of the worst weather we've ever experienced at a summer tournament, with torrential rain and strong winds making the very exposed pitches very challenging to play on, which only made the achievement of the day even more impressive. 7 group games saw us finish with a record of won 5 drew 2, with the highlights being Alf's hatrick in the last game and a 2-1 win over the stronger half of the Angels team that included an outrageous goal from Jack B that brought gasps from all around the pitch, I would try to describe it but I couldn't do it justice, suffice to say it ended with the ball in the back on the net and three Angels players on their backside! A tough quarter final against a physical and highly motivated Hawkhurst was won late on by Jack P at the back post with the prospects of penalties looming, before we had to play one half of the Angels in the semi final, and then the other in the final, Giants edging both 1 nil thanks to Jack B goals and some fantastic goalkeeping from James H who had a magnificent day between the posts. Given the conditions, size of tournament and level of opposition, this was right up there as one of the teams best fiesta wins, well done boys.
Results & Scorers
Langton Giants 4 - 0 Langton Green Chiefs (Jack B x2, Simba, o.g)
Langton Giants 1 - 1 Broad Oak & Horam (Simba)
Langton Giants 3 - 1 Rusthall (Noah, Simba, Jack P)
Langton Giants 2 - 1 Tonbridge Angels White (Jack B, Patrick)
Langton Giants 3 - 0 Tonbridge Invicta (Brodie, Jack B, Patrick)
Langton Giants 1 - 1 Tonbridge Juniors City (Jack B)
Langton Giants 5 - 0 Tonbridge Juniors Utd (Alf x3, Simba, Patrick)
1/4 Final - Langton Giants 1 - 0 Hawkhurst United (Jack P)
1/2 Final - Langton Giants 1 - 0 Tonbridge Angels Blue (Jack B)
Final - Langton Giants 1 - 0 Tonbridge Angels White (Jack B)

Sunday 2nd June 2019

Langton Green Fiesta

The Giants win the cup!
Our very last appearance at our home fiesta, for a number of the boys this was their tenth as they first appeared in it playing up a year as u6's! With this being our last we wanted to go out in style, and we certainly did. Two teams were pulled together and the performance in the group stages confirmed that they couldn't have been stronger, with an astonishing 14 wins from 14 matches between them, which in the lottery that is 10-minute football, really is quite remarkable. Unfortunately due to a surprise in one of the other groups, our 'Yellows' team were unlucky to have to play the reigning champions Select Soccer in the quarter finals. An uncharacteristically slow start saw us fall two goals behind and although we managed to get one back, the damage was done and the team were out. Talking of uncharacteristic, our 'whites' team managed to win a penalty shootout, helped by a great save from Harry before then putting on a fantastic display in the final against Select Soccer, beating them 4-1 thanks to a stunning four goal salvo from Luca. Other points of recognition go to Brodie, notching up his 200th goal for the Giants, joining only Simba in that exclusive club, and to James D who joined the 100 club with his 10 today taking his tally to 101! 
Results & Scorers
Giants Yellow 2 - 0 Ringmer Rovers White (James D, Noah)
Giants Yellow 7 - 0 Sevenoaks Town B (James D x2, Owen x2, Brodie, Noah, Bertie)
Giants Yellow 2 - 0 Rusthall Palace (Brodie, James D)
Giants Yellow 5 - 0 LG Chiefs Utd (James D x2, Brodie x 2, Noah)
Giants Yellow 2 -1 Tonbridge Jr (Bertie, James D)
Giants Yellow 3 - 1 TW Youth Rockets (James D x2, Patrick)
Giants Yellow 1- 0 TW Foresters (Bertie)
1/4 Final- Giants Yellow 1 - 2 Select Soccer (James D)
Giants White 3 - 1 Tonbridge Jr Samuari (Simba x2, Elliot)
Giants White 6 - 1 TW Youth Galaxy (Luca x2, Simba x2, Alf, Elliot)
Giants White 2 -1 LG Phoenix Black (Luca, Elliot)
Giants White 3 - 0 Rotherfield (Alf x2, Elliot)
Giants White 3 - 0 Crystal Rusthall (Jack x2, Simba)
Giants White 2 - 0 Sevenoaks Town A (Tom, Elliot)
Giants White 1 - 0 Hawkhurst (Simba)
1/4 Final- Giants White 2 - 1 Tonbridge Jr Shogun (Tom, Elliot)
1/2 FInal-  Giants White 0 - 0 Ringmer Rovers (Giants win 3-2 on pens)
Final - Giants White 4 - 1 Select Soccer (Luca x4)
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May 2019
Rusthall Fiesta
The first tournament of the summer and ultimately a frustrating one. Things started well enough as we dominated every game in the group stage to win the league comfortably but then came unstuck in a disappointing semi final against a team we'd beaten comfortably in the group stage, we just couldn't find the net and then conceded a sloppy goal to send us home in a tournament we really should have won.
Results & Scorers:
LG 2 - 0 Broad Oak (Tom, o.g)
LG 0 - 0 Rusthall Palace
LG 1 - 0 Hollands & Blair (Jack B)
LG 2 - 0 Rustall Crystal (Jack B, Elliot)
LG 2 - 1 (Jack B, Brodie)
1/2 Final LG 0 - 1 Broad Oak 1
Kings Hill Tournament
Another frustrating afternoon in front of goal as despite dominating every game we played, finding the back of the net was proving to be our downfall. Not helped by a bizarre format which saw only 3 group matches, which was always likely to end up with the narrowest of margins, we went out of the cup competition when a 3 way tie at the top saw us lose out by a single goal on goal difference. Quite why they didn't have a single group of 8 teams I'm not sure, but it meant we played two quite straightforward matches in the knockout stages to win the shield competition. Well done to the boys for that, it was good for them to find their shooting boots finally, and a special mention for Owen who as well as being outstanding all day long also pulled of the pass of the season to set up one of James D's FOUR goals in the final.
Results & Scorers:
LG 3 - 1 Leybourne (Alf x2, James D)
LG 0 - 0 Faversham Town
LG 0 - 0 Kings Hill
1/2 LG 1 - 0 Leybourne
Final  LG 4 - 0 TW Foresters (James D x 4)
Sunday 14th April 2019
Langton Giants 2 - 1 Tonbridge Angels
Elliot, Alf
Squad: James H, Patrick, Jack, Owen, Luca, Brodie, Alf, Noah, Elliot, James D, Simba, Bertie. Ollie
Our final league game of the season and a tough one against our good friends Tonbridge Angels who we tend to enjoy tight well contested games with, such as the 1-1 draw earlier in the season, and this one was to be no different, a pulsating match that could have gone either way and one to enjoy. We started firmly on the front foot, Luca firing narrowly over from distance with a powerful effort before James D had a low shot saved after good work from Brodie and Alf created the chance.  All of this was in the first couple of minutes of the match. Soon the game was end-to-end, a great cross from the Angels right winger took out everyone except their left winger who met the ball with a firm header that required an excellent diving save from James H to keep out. Simba went on a storming run, fully 30 yards past several tackles before seeing his low shot saved at the near post. Another shot as saved by the impressive Angels keeper, this time a firm effort from James D after some brilliant build up play, before our own impressive keeper, James H made the save of the day, down low to his left when it looked like the ball was past his despairing dive. The back three of Patrick, Owen and Jack were immense, winning everything whether it be on the floor or in the air and using the ball smartly in possession. Ollie and Brodie both had their best performances of the season, enjoying the surface and the more technical style of football that was on display. Bertie burst into the box to strike a goal bound effort which was blocked and James H made another good save. With all these chances at both ends it felt only a matter of time until the deadlock was broken, and so it proved. Bertie fed James D who used his blistering pace to burst into space and delivered the perfect cross for Elliot to sprint in to get on the end of, finishing calmly with a controlled side foot volley to give us a precious lead just before half time.
If anything, the second half was even more enthralling, with the action just attack after attack, both teams putting an enormous effort in and taking it to their opponents. Again we started quickly, James D bring an excellent save from the Angels keeper within the first minute thanks to some fantastic build up play, Elliot passed inside from the left wing to Alf who had the awareness to dummy the ball for Simba to collect, him delivering the telling pass to create shooting opportunity. Noah was hugely impressive both wide and in the centre today, winning the bal back for us on numerous occasions and using it with great care, I don't think he gave the ball away once all game. Simba had a 1v1 at an angle after outpacing his defender, narrowly wide of the far post, before Angels fought back, their outstanding striker hitting the post from a tight angle after riding three tackles. Angels put us under a lot of pressure and we had to stand firm against a number of superbly delivered corners which we defended well in the main. Then a piece of individual brilliance gave us breathing space. James D pressured the Angels back four and the ball broke into the path of Alf who absolutely wellied it from outside the box right into the top corner to double our lead. A great goal from a player who deserved it after a string of excellent displays this season. Moments later it was our turn to be frustrated by the post, this time James D seeing his thunderbolt brilliantly tipped onto the post by the Angels No.1, then after being set back by Bertie, James D fired hard but high as we tried to put the contest to bed. Angels are a fantastic side though who never roll over against anyone and kept pushing forward against us and creating chances. James H made a high save and then recovered a spilt shot bravely amd athletically to keep the ball out of our net. No goalkeeper could have done anything about what happened next though, the Angels striker being allowed space on his deadly left foot for the only time in the game and he punished us with a wicked strike that almost burst the next. 2-1, 10 minutes to go. Understandably Angels came at us to try and force the equaliser but we stood firm and remained a threat on the counter attack. There was one major heart in mouth moment, when with practically the last kick of the match, an Angel corner directly struck the inside of the post, but to our relief the ball was cleared, and there was with further relief when the referee blew for the final whistle and the points were secured.
So a great way to finish a challenging league season and the boys deserved that slice of luck at the end, they've not had much of it this season so they can enjoy this one without any guilt at all !!

Sunday 7th April 2019
Welling United 3 - 0 Langton Giants
Squad: Harry, Patrick, Owen, Max, Brodie, Luca, Alf, Bertie, Ollie, James D, Simba, Elliot, Tom, Noah
After a very competitive game against Welling just two weeks ago that even the oppositions coaching team couldn't believe we'd lost, we were looking forward to another tight contest. In general this was one was too, but a combination of unfortunate errors, a poor pitch and one difficult to understand refereeing decision the score was more than a little unfair on the boys, albeit Welling did deserve the three points on this occasion.
The pitch meant neither team were able to play the football that had been so good to watch in the previous contest and the fist 35 minutes went by with no score on the board. James D saw a low shot saved from Ollie's clever pass after Simba had done superbly to hold the ball up and switch the play. Twice Harry was called upon to be brave and save at the feet of Welling forwards but the back three of Max, Patrick and Owen were mostly in command. We came very close to opening the scoring thanks to the move of the game between Elliot, Simba, Brodie and Alf the play James D in behind the Welling defence. The keeper came out and made himself big and James D was unable to find the target with his weaker foot, hindered somewhat by being off balance at the time. Moments later we were behind, a ball into the back post caused confusion between defence and keeper and the ball was dispatched into the back of the net. In keeping with the rest of the half, it was a very scrappy goal to concede.
The second half started well enough, Tom was having an excellent game in the middle of the park, with Luca casing problems with his attacking intent and quick feet. Brodie won a big tackle in the middle of the back and instantly released James D with a first time through ball that split the defence wide open, the keeper was quickly out though to snuff out the danger. At this point the game was still firmly in the balance, so it was disappointing when a second goal for Welling was allowed to stand despite a clear foul on Max at the back post before the ball went bobbled into the net. A very poor decision that seemed to take the wind out of us a bit. Welling were confident and getting stronger, requiring harry to make a good save from close range. Elliot and Noah were pushing us forwards on the wings, Luca finding the former with a smart pass inside the box but again the quick reactions of the keeper was to deny us. Another excellent bit of play, this time between Noah, Alf and Simba created a shooting opportunity for Luca who struck the target with a powerful effort but was well saved. Noah showed great technique for the second time in recent weeks when firing back in a low shot from a cleared corner, again saved. Towards the end a misjudged cross/shot found its way into the far corner from an awkward bounce which was a bit of a kick in the teeth and gave the scoreline an unpleasant and unwarranted look to it.
One more left, we go again.

Sunday 31st March 2019
Ebbsfleet United 5 - 0 Langton Giants
Squad: James H, Patrick, Owen, Max, Bertie, Tom, Alf, Luca, Brodie, Elliot, Simba
Matches in the Kent Youth League don't get much tougher than Ebbsfleet away with them being the champions in both of the last two seasons. They're not going to make it to three in a row but they remain as strong as ever and play probably the best football in the league. So always going to be a tough day but one that was made even greater when we lost the services of Ollie, Jack, Noah and James D, and with neither of our part-time players being available we were left with just enough to field 11 players, no subs and key players missing. Owen, Brodie and Elliot all started the games with knocks too so we were really thin on the ground. To suit the players we did have available, and the challenge, we changed formation too and actually over the 80 minutes the boys adapted very well in the circumstances. If things weren't going to be difficult enough, conceding TWICE in the opening 90 seconds of the match really did ram the point home. At that stage I was genuinely concerned we were about to be well and truly trounced. However, we might have been lacking numbers but we didn't lack pride and all eleven of them set about fighting for everything, battling all over the pitch to ensure we left with our respect in tact. James H was required to make several big saves, one of which was from point blank range, another was a brilliant diving effort at full length to his right, tipping the ball around the post. Owen set aside his injured arm to put in a sterling performance, matched in every aspect by center back partner Patrick who was equally as colossal. Bertie and Max were full backs and won untold challenges whilst also pushed forward when opportunity arose. Luca was battling and creative, including a number of dangerously delivered free kicks which nearly got us in and gave us all a big smile when he pulled off an outrageous back-heel nutmeg on the Ebbsfleet right back. Alf was everywhere, very nearly bringing the scoreline back to 2-1 when he closed down the goalkeeper and tackled him, the ball just wouldn't break for a tap in but when it was cleared Brodie drove the ball goal wards from distance but the effort was blocked. Elliot and Brodie were the wingers, with the unenviable task of trying to get up to join in lone striker Simba on the big pitch when they could. Simba showed great strenght throughout holding the ball up and trying to play in his team mates but legs tired with no subs and despite the best efforts Ebbsfleet were able to take advantage, helping themselves to three more goals to see the game finish 5 nil, which to be honest felt like a pretty good outcome given the way things started and how tired the boys were. One of them felt very harsh though, Alf being on the end of a challenge in the build up that left him with a swollen, bloody lip and a wonky finger but no foul given. Typical of the lad and the team as a whole, he stayed on the pitch and didn't back down for a second. Skipper Tom was vocal and led from the front throughout, he also saw a volleyed effort go wide, and Alf has a shot well saved following some superb build up when Simba switched the ball to Max, who's knock down for Alf to strike.
So predictably a tough day but one where the boys can hold theirs heads up high thanks to their superb attitudes and effort, many other teams in these circumstances would have been on the end of double digits I'm certain.
Sunday 24th March 2019
Langton Giants 1 - 2 Welling United
James D
Squad: Harry, Jack, Owen, Max, Tom, Alf, Noah, Elliot, Luca, James D, Simba, Brodie, Elliot
 A new team for the boys to face up against in the form of Welling United, a big club who's men's team play in the National League and who's u15s had helped themselves to a very impressive season in the Kent Youth League, sitting right towards the top of the table with some very impressive results under their belt. With no Patrick or Ollie available and Brodie and Elliot both nursing injuries, we were a little thin on the ground but went out and put on one of the performances of the season, which the final scoreline didn't reflect. Harry helped himself to a very good game against his old team, starting with a fine save down low to his left. For the next few minutes it was off-side goals that ruled the roost, two for them and one for us, which left everything at stalemate. Owen, Jack and Max were superb at the back, with Luca, Tom and Alf in midfield closing down their opponents, Bertie and Noah doing likewise on either wing. Luca struck a great low free kick that was well saved from distance as we started to grown in confidence. This confidence was added to when Simba ran at the Welling defence, beat a couple of their players before finding the feet of James D. James D rolled his defender and let fly into the bottom corner to give us a lead. Brodie and Elliot were both able to join the fray and set aside any sign of their injuries with a couple of very fine performances. Harry pulled off two saves, one from a header and one stunning effort from point blank range to keep our noses in front. We came close to doubling our lead within a few minutes of each other, firstly Tom showed great footwork in the box to create the space to fire a shot narrowly wide before Noah demonstrated fantastic technique with a brilliant volley that stung the hands of the Welling keeper from Simba's intelligent cross. Unfortunately with a few minutes to go before half time, Welling were awarded a penalty for handball and dispatched it will to level to scoreline at 1-1.
The second half saw us step up a level and we played some great football. with most of the action in the Welling half, which meant we were exposed to the counter attack but forward we pushed. The first time saw Harry save the day with a great block with his foot. Luca volleyed wide, James D beat two before seeing his shot deflect narrowly wide. When Luca saw another free kick well saved we were feeling confident but frustrated the goal wasn't coming. That frustration only grew when the next counter attack saw us concede a sloppy goal, albeit to a very well taken finish. We pushed forward for the rest of the half, trying desperately to find an equalizer. The closest we came was when Simba played in James D 1v1 against the keeper who was out very quickly to block the shot, and when Noah broke down the right from Simba's through ball, his cross being scrambled away for a corner. The second goal just wouldn't come so we ended up losing 2-1 despite our best efforts.
A result that was had on the boys, their coach was kind enough to say the same thing, we deserved a draw at the very least but the footballing gods were against us. Still, lots to take from such a good performance against a very good team.

Sunday 10th March 2019
Langton Giants 0 - 5 Maidstone United
Squad: James H, Jack, Patrick, Owen, Luca, Tom, Alf, Bertie, Noah, Simba, James D, Ollie, Brodie
A return to the rec for the first time this season saw us welcome the best team and biggest club in the league. With the wind howling and the pitch cutting up as a result of the heavy overnight rainfall it was as tough as it gets, but despite the scoreline, the boys actually left this contest with great credit. We very nearly got off to a dream start, Luca firing a superbly struck free kick just inches over the bar within the first minute, the first sign of a very impressive performance to come from the mercurial midfielder. Alfa and Simba linked up brilliantly to play in James D only to be denied by the quick to react goalkeeper, and when James D saw a well struck effort from distance well saved from Noah's incisive pass things were looking very positive. We knew though that is was only a matter of time until the league leaders responded and they did, James H pulling off three excellent saves in a row, one of which down to his left was right out of the top drawer. Brodie won us possession high up the pitch by getting his head to a clearance and the ball fell kindly for Simba who swung in a cross-shot that the wind caught hold of and had the keeper back peddling, he did well to claw it away. With 30 mins gone we were right in this game thanks to James H saves and an outstanding performance from our back three of Patrick, Jack and Owen, who remained immense throughout the contest. Maidstone are top of the league for a reason though and in these conditions took advantage of a couple of opportunities before half time to go in 2 nil up at the half.
Still, we were very competitive, Oliie, Noah and Bertie were putting in real shifts as wing backs, with skipper Tom putting in a leaders work rate in the middle of the park and carrying the team forward. These conditions are a keepers nightmare, and when the wind caught a hopeful ball and carried it to just under the cross bar, with two giant Maidstone strikers steaming in it looked nailed on to be another goal, but keeper James H saved the day with a strong punch to clear the ball, truly fantastic goalkeeping. Maidstone did grab a third when a combination of the slope and wind made it difficult for us to clear our lines and the chance was smartly dispatched into the bottom corner. Owen then cleared one off the line with an acrobatic overhead clearance before James H made another good save low down. The fourth goal was extremely unlucky, one of their strikers completely miss hitting a shot, the ball could have gone anywhere, but it scuffed off to the other striker 3 yards out to tap home, not the luck we needed against this opposition. The boys kept going, never backing off for a minute and still trying to play their football. Still time for another great save from James H and the most outrageously cool bit of defending from Patrick when he back-heel nutmegged the Maidstone striker in his own penalty box, not necessarily one from the coaching manual but fun to see! Simba set up a chance for James D which was wells saved and James D saw another one saved after he spun from a pass, also from Simba who was very influential throughout. In the last minute of the game one of their midfielders spun and let fly from fully 30 yards right into the top corner, an amazing strike but one that felt harsh so late on after our boys had given so much.
So a lopsided defeat, but they've given out heavier this season (including against us) and will do so again, but couldn't have asked for any more from the team today, they were all excellent and their attitudes spot on.

Sunday 3rd March 2019
Greenways Aces 0 - 4 Langton Giants
James D, Alf, Elliot, Luca
Squad: James H, Jack, Patrick, Owen, Bertie, Max, Tom, Brodie, Alf, James D, Simba, Luca, Elliot, Ollie
The long league season continued today with a trip to Gravesend to face Greenways Aces who we'd enjoyed a thrilling 4-4 draw with earlier in the season. To say the conditions today were difficult is a major understatement, they were appalling. Storm Freyer was doing her worst with winds reportedly up to 50mph and the pitch was heavy, boggy and covered in mud from the game that was played on it immediately beforehand. It wasn't a day for pretty football, it was a day for hard work, commitment and playing as much football as possible in the circumstances. Thankfully the boys were not found wanting in any of those categories. We very nearly scored as quickly this week as we had conceded last when Alf closed down the goalkeeper and tackled him, the ball went over the bar but the scene was set. In these conditions, set pieces were always going to be a danger so we were relieved when keeper James H leaped to clutch a dangerous free kick out of the sky. We were playing up the slope and it was proving a challenge, but a combination of Max and Brodie released James D to sprint clear, but under pressure from a recovering defender and the big goalkeeper he sent his effort just inches past the post. Luca entered the game and had an immediate impact, his through ball again releasing James D and this time his shot went the right side of the post and we had a deserved and precious lead. With Patrick, Jack and Owen in complete command at the back, even playing up the hill wasn't proving too much trouble, allowing the likes of Alf, Tom, Brodie and Elliot to push forward in support of Simba and James D. Bertie found James D with a delicious cross and the keeper did well to save from point blank range and Tom fired a volley over the bar after Luca's cross was cleared. Towards the end of the half we were treated to some fantastic football as Patrick thread a ball to Alf, who spread the play out to Ollie to flick the ball into the feet of James D to spin and find Luca who fired narrowly wide. James D hit the target with a free kick but was well saved and it meant the first half ended with us holding a 1 nil lead.
For once a single goal lead felt like a big one, as we now had a second half playing down the slope and with the wind behind us which, along with the boys superb work rate, meant it was very difficult for the Greenways boys to progress up the pitch and pretty much the entire second period was spent in their half. Alf pulled back a clever pass for Simba, his shot being brilliantly saved and Max seeing a cross shot just miss over the bar. Any nerves were settled when Alf struck with a brilliant volley from the edge of the box, the shot too powerful for the keeper to stop from crossing the line and our lead was doubled. This brought about almost total dominance as we created chance after chance despite the worsening surface and growing wind. James D shot wide as the ball was running away from him down the slope at a tough angle and was then denied by a clearing defender after Brodie's through ball and played him in. Brodie himself went close twice from distance, both narrowly going over the bar. Elliot skipped down the left wing and slipped the ball into Alf in the box, who with his back to goal, showed fantastic awareness and skill to flick the ball back past his own shoulder to play James D in who was unlucky to see his shot come back off the cross bar. Simba was again denied but a great save after an excellent 1-2 with James D and Ollie found Max with a brilliant pass, the latter being denied with a last ditch tackle. Luca delivered an intelligent free kick and Elliot darted in round the back to finish smartly at the far post to make it three nil. One of the features of our play in recent weeks has been the ability shown by our rearguard to join the attack and Bertie, Jack, Owen and Patrick all did this to great effect today, the latter pulling off an outrageous nutmeg to boot! This didn't detract from their defensive brilliance for one minute though, they were all outstanding today. Luca sort of got a 4th goal for us towards the end, linking up well with Brodie and his final ball going in-off a defender, technically it may have been an own goal but I'm giving it to Luca as it was his final touch that caused it.
Enormous credit to all the boys today for finding a way to get the job done in very challenging circumstances. A special mention has to go to the defence for their performance today, utterly dominant throughout which gave us the platform to attack at will, and to James H for a flawless display in goal, he didn't have massed to do but everything he was required to do he did cleanly on a very difficult day for goalkeepers.

Sunday 24th February 2019
K-Sports 3 - 1 Langton Giants
Squad: Harry, Owen, Patrick, Max, Bertie, Noah, Tom, Luca, Brodie, James D, Simba, Alf
After a three week break from games due to weather postponements and half-term we set off for a late kick off at the excellent K-Sports facility in Aylesford to face the third placed team in the league who have secured some excellent results in recent weeks, including a draw with Ebbsfleet, and wins over Sevenoaks and Ashford, so we knew this would be a tough one. We were also missing Jack, Elliot and Ollie which only made the task harder and Alf came straight from the airport after a 4am start..... but we were encouraged by our excellent performances against them just before Christmas where we'd secured a 2-2 draw. To say we got off to a bad start is a major understatement, conceding a poor goal within 30 seconds of the match starting as we simply didn't switch on from the kick off and K-Sports took full advantage. Slowly but surely we started to gain traction in the match, the back three of Owen, Patrick and Max were commanding the penalty box with Luca and Tom providing a shield in front of them. Things were looking less shaky and we were starting to play. Luca saw a powerful drive charged down and Brodie fed James D but his effort went wide. Max stormed forward from defence, riding several challenges before finding Brodie to set it for Simba to swing in a fantastic first time ball which spit the K-Sports defensive line and leave James D with the keeper to beat. Recognising the goalie was stuck in no-mans land, James decided to lob him, a great idea but not quite executed well enough and the ball flew wide of the goal. Still, we were now an attacking threat and when Luca swung over a corner, Simba reacted quickest and volleyed home from the edge of the six yard box to level things up. Thanks to TWO fantastic defensive blocks from Owen and a smart save from Harry this is how things stayed until half time.
We were almost undone as quickly in the second half as it looked for certain K-Sports would score but Patrick was this time the hero with a last ditch block. K-Sports upped their game in the second half though and caused us lots of problems. Our defence was still performing manfully though and mostly kept their efforts to shots from distance. We pushed forward still but were caught out by a pacy and well constructed counter attack, the fast right winger bursting into the box and having the awareness to square the ball to his striker who hesitated just long enough to allow Harry to close the gap and make a stunning save with his outstretched boot. The ball fell kindly back to the striker though who stepped forward to knock the ball into the back of the unguarded net, only for Patrick to appear out of nowhere and somehow deny him. Fantastic desire not to concede and an example of the whole teams effort on the day. None more so than the two wing backs, Bertie and Noah who ran non-stop all day long for the team in surprisingly hot weather. Another counter attack, this time with no escape, a smart finish reinstating K-Sports lead. They had further chances but a combination of defensive blocks, Harry's saves and wayward finishing meant we remained firmly in the contest. Alf was having the latest in his run of great performances and twice was inches away from bringing us level again. First a shot from distance was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the K-Sports keeper, then on a counter attack of our own, Alf carried the ball forward waiting for the defence to close him down so he could slip the ball to either Simba or James D who were in support but when the defence sat off, did the right thing and went for goal himself. He struck it cleanly and past the dive of the keeper but the ball struck the inside of the post and bounced away to safety across the face of the goal. So close ! The last 20 mins were what youth football should be all about, both teams going at it hammer and tongues, chances at both ends. Bertie beating the keeper to a cross and back-heading it just over the bar and then seeing a second header saved at point blank range, he's our new Andy Carroll ! Still 2-1 down as we entered injury time, we won a corner. It was time to go for it, everyone in the box, and I mean everyone, even Harry running from his goal to join in the fun! It wasn't to be, inevitably we left ourselves open to a third goal via the counter attack but it was good to give it a go and to be honest, 3-1 was probably a fairer reflection on the match as K-Sports really were very good during the second half and thoroughly deserved the three points.
Our boys can take a lot of credit from the game though, they made a very good team work very hard for their win despite missing some key players. A great game of football to boot, and a tonic after the unpleasantness of our last match.

Sunday 3rd February 2019
Langton Giants 2 - 6 Ashford United
Jack, James D (pen)

Squad: James H, Jack, Patrick, Owen, Bertie, Max, Luca, Brodie, Alf, James D, Simba, Elliot, Noah

On a far more pleasant afternoon that last Sunday the Giants took on high flying Ashford United. Having played them a few times now we knew what a threat they can be and so it proved on this occasion. We were on the end of an early warning when they hit the post from distance as, not for the last time, we failed to close down their long range efforts, something we paid badly for as the game went on. We lost skipper Tom and live wire Ollie to sickness before the game started but everyone is was in good health and we were unfortunate to find ourselves behind to a deflected effort 15 minutes into the contest that one gave James H no chance in goal but he was able to make a very smart low save moments later from another long range effort. We soon found ourselves further behind when a probing through ball into the box caused confusion and the ball bounced off the back of the Ashford striker for their second. Noah struck a volley firmly from distance but too high and James D saw an effort fly wide from an excellent Bertie ball, before Jack went on one of his famous barn storming runs, played a one two with Simba before finishing well to cut the deficit in half. This gave the boys a boost in confidence and James D when close to equalising but was denied by a smart save from an angled drive.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was the best period of the match for the Giants as they enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in the Ashford half. Jack, Patrick and Owen were keeping a high line to push us up the pitch, with Elliot, Noah, Alf, Simba and Max. doing an excellent job in a new striker role for him, creating several moments of panic in the Ashford penalty box. There were a few close shaves, quite how we didn't score from a Brodie corner I don't know, but we just couldn't create that clear cut opportunity. Ashford are too good to pin down for long though and having failed to take advantage of the pressure we'd created we were caught with a sucker punch, a cross only half cleared but superbly volleyed int the roof of the net on the swivel, an excellent strike. Then we suffered the pain of a second goal conceded thanks to a wicked deflection and suddenly from being a goal down but on top, we found ourselves 1-4 down with a mountain to climb. A glimmer of hope when Elliot's quick feet from Luca's incisive through ball were too much for the Ashford defender and he was tripped in the box, James D stepping up and sweeping the penalty home with the minimum of fuss to bring the score back to 2-4. Max was having quite an impact up front as we still tried to go forward, really putting himself about and linking up well with his strike partner, he also hit a good shot from the edge of the box wide. James D ran through onto a lovely little dinked pass from Elliot but saw his powerful shot parried at the near post. In the last 15 minutes a couple of things happened. Firstly, and most impressively, Ashford attacking players scored two wonderful goals, one a mazy run finished off with a superb curling finish, the other an outrageous strike from fully 30 yars out into the top corner. Both of them were the sort of goals you just have to applaud. Unfortunately the other thing that happened was far less to be celebrated or applauded as a few of the Ashford team let themselves down quite badly with an ugly display of bad sportsmanship, foul language, childish behaviour and severe lack of class. It was something we didn't deserve to be on the end of and something which doesn't befit their clubs status or indeed their coaches attitude which was spot on throughout, even subbing the main protagonists off to his credit and apologising to us. A shame, because we should have been congratulating them on a deserved win with some excellent goals. Huge credit to our boys for rising above the provocation.

Sunday 27th January 2019
Langton Giants 1 - 2 Sevenoaks Town
Squad: James H, Jack, Owen, Patrick, Luca, Brodie, Alf, Elliot, Noah, James D, Simba, Max, Tom, Bertie
In appalling weather conditions the Giants welcomed a very strong Sevenoaks Town team to TWGSB for our latest league encounter. Having secured an excellent draw away at Sevenoaks last month and a superb win over Holmesdale last week, the boys were in confident mood that they could keep up their good form, even some recent results hadn't gone their way, they've been playing well generally. We started well, defensively tight and transitioning quickly on the counter attack with the pace of James D causing the Sevenoaks defence serious problems early on, so much so it nearly forced an error from their goalkeeper in the first minute which for a split second looked like it was going to leave the goal gaping but their No.1 did well to recover the situation. The game was beginning to take shape, Sevenoaks enjoying quite a bit of possession and moving the ball very smartly, us keeping a good shape and then looking dangerous on the counter attack. A cross from James D on the counter whistled narrowly between Alf and Simba and Owen put in some brilliantly timed tackles to win us the ball back, one of which he followed up with a Luca-like through ball that James D got to a split second before the keeper but a recovering defender cleared the danger. James D was looking like a threat when we were in attack but off the ball he was clearly struggling after missing some school this week with a heavy cold, the freezing conditions were making it hard for him to breath and with breathing being higher up the priority list than goals (even for James!) he had to depart the game. A second blow just a few minutes later when creative influence Luca was also forced to end his participation in the match with a calf injury. This meant that whilst we continued to be defensively strong and competitive all over the pitch, we now lacked that attacking threat that had been prominent in the opening exchanges. The conditions were getting worse, howling winds, sleet, rain and freezing temperatures would have made for quite a miserable afternoon had it not been for two spirited well matched teams putting on an excellent game of football. Sevenoaks thought they'd opened the scoring but the goal was correctly disallowed for an obvious foul on goalkeeper James H, who was also called upon to make a stunning save from a well struck free kick. 
Nil nil at half time was a fair reflection, our back three of Jack, Owen, Patrick and latterly Max, had been outstanding, with Tom, Brodie, Noah and Bertiie all providing a high level of protection in front of them, with Alf supporting Simba and now Elliot up front. We continued to battle thoughout the second half, the pace of the Sevenoaks right winger was proving to be a real threat and their passing impressive throughout. With 20 minutes to go that pace down the right saw us exposed, the ball was sent across and try as we might, we couldn't quite clear the ball and although James H did well to get a hand to it, the strike was too powerful and Sevenoks had the lead. We tried to fight back but were missing the pace of James D up front, so Max had a stint up there to add some physical presence and pace and he did a very good job, narrowly being called for off-side when he looked to be through on goal. Noah and Bertie were doing an excellent job as wing backs, both putting in a real shift. A cross field ball found the strong Sevenoaks right winger who controlled with one touch, and finished brilliantly with his second, a really high quality finish to double the Sevenoaks lead. At this stage, 2 nil down, injured players and freezing cold the boys may have been forgiven for feeling a bit sorry for themselves, but they didn't. James H started it off with another excellent save from a free kick and Jack then went on one of his barm storming runs which always gives the boys a boost. Brodie sent a free kick over the bar as we looked for a way to get back in the game. With less than 5 minutes to go, Noah pushed forward and found Brodie who exchanged a fantastic 1-2 with Alf on the edge of the box before finishing calmly past the goalkeeper to score. With only a few minutes to go we tried to find a way to grab an equaliser but credit to Sevenoaks, they kept us at bay and ran out deserved 2-1 winners.
All things considered, another excellent performance from the boys, with a bit of luck and not losing two major attacking threats so early on we might have got something from this game, but it wasn't to be. 

Sunday 20th January 2019
Langton Giants 2 - 1 Holmesdale
James D, Alf
Squad: Harry, Jack, Max, Patrick, Bertie, Ollie, Luca, Tom, Alf, James D, Simba, Owen, Noah, Brodie, Elliot
The latest episode of our current run of very difficult fixtures saw Holmesdale visit us for a rare home morning kick off. After suffering a 6-2 defeat away against this side in the second game of the season we knew we faced a tough match and had to be on top form to get a positive result, thankfully we were. The decision to take all 15 squad players to the match paid off as the fresher legs saw us get stronger as the game went on, rather than the recent second half struggles we have faced when a little short handed. Straight from the off we looked the more threatening side, Alf tucking in just behind the front two of James D and Simba adding extra bite to our attacking unit and also closing down the threat their midfield player had demonstrated last time we faced them. Holmesdale have a habit of defending quite high up the pitch which allowed us to exploit the space in round the back with James D and Simba's pace, their goalkeeper was very good at having a high starting point though and was quick of the mark to snuff out a number of opportunities. Our first close call came when Tom and Ollie moved the ball swiftly forward for Alf to slip Simba in, the keeper came out and Simba skipped past him but the ball just got away from him. Moments later Luca fed James D who was clear through but the out-rushing keeper did a great job of blocking the shot at close range. Max found Bertie who skipped past the right back before delivering a delicious cross that Simba headed narrowly wide. At this stage, the back three of Jack, Patrick and Max were in complete command at the back and we were the team creating chances, but we needed to take one of these chances, and thankfully the next one, we did. Patrick won the initial ball and fed Alf who slipped inside a tackle before delivering a peach of a through ball for James D to chase, this time the keeper couldn't get close enough quickly enough and the leagues top goalscorer added to his tally with a smart finish to give us a deserved lead. This was nearly doubled when Brodie found James D again, this time though the angle beat him as the shot flew past the far post. For all our dominance the lead was narrow and fragile, so it was a big blow when we uncharacteristically found wanting at defending a corner and the ball ended up in the back of the net to cancel out our lead.
Disappointed at conceding, the boys were also determined not to face the second half fade which had cost them dearly the last two matches. Testament to this were the 4 boys covering the two wing back positions. In terms of distance traveled at top speed these positions are the hardest on the pitch, so being able to rotate between quality players like Bertie, Elliot, Ollie and Noah, keeping them fresh legged, made a noticeable differences as all four of them had superb games in both directions. We almost fell behind after the restart, but a smart punch and then save on the same play from Harry kept things level and from that point on he rarely looked troubled again. Owen, Jack and Max were now the back three, giving Patrick a well deserved break. We were a constant threat, and were very unlucky not to regain the lead when after some excellent build up play James D set the ball back for Luca to strike, and strike it he did, leaving the cross bar shaking for several moments after the ball had rebounded off its face. Brodie then skipped past a defender and let fly from distance, this one bringing a fine save out of the sprawling keeper down to his right hand side before, incredibly, Luca repeated the trick, this time latching on to an excellent pass from Tom before hitting the underside of the cross bar with another stunning effort. So unlucky, and it was beginning to look like it wasn't to be our day, but the boys continued to probe. James D fired first over from Bertie's excellent cross and then over again after a very strong run of his own. The continual pressure finally told though when Elliot slipped the ball inside the full back, James D burst into the box before pulling it back for the outstanding Alf to charge in and slot home a goal that his performance deserved. There was still time for James D to hit the post again, and see a further two efforts miss by no more than inches, which meant the luxury of a two goal cushion never quite materialised, but it didn't matter as the defensive performance from all at the back was faultless and the victory was secured, and thoroughly deserved. 
Holmesdale are a very good team and the impressiveness of this result and performance shouldn't be underestimated. Their coach gracefully suggesting the scoreline had flattered them, not us, which given the amunt of times we struck the woodwork was probably accurate but still kind of him to say so. Well done to all the boys today, everyone of them was superb.

Sunday 13th January 2019
Maidstone United 7 - 0 Langton Green
Squad: James H, Jack, Owen, Patrick, Tom, Brodie, Luca, Ollie, Alf, Simba, James D, Eddie, Max
A day that started badly, improved, then went down hill quickly. A major double blow before kick-off when we lost Bertie and Elliot to illness and injury, two key players down but assisted by Eddie making his latest short notice appearance to bolster the numbers. Maidstone United have recruited heavily and currently boast a 100% win record in the league and recently beat reigning champions Ebbsfleet 5-1 so we knew it was going to be a tough challenge. For all that though, we made a very impressive start as we stood firm in defence, looked tidy in midfield and were an attacking threat as we matched our illustrious opponents every step of the way. They were the first to go close, James H making a brilliant reflex save with his foot at the near post. We responded well though, some wonderful football between Owen, Alf, Brodie and then Simba saw us transition the ball quickly to Luca's feet who let fly with a thunderous shot from distance which hit the underside of the cross bar but agonisingly came down the wrong side of the line. Moments later James D shot inches wide as we were enjoying some decent chances to take the lead. At this stage the back three of Jack, Patrick and Owen were looking commanding, so it was a major blow when BOTH Patrick and Owen had to depart the game with injuries within a few minutes of each other. It only took a few minutes for Maidstone to take advantage, their extremely pacey winger getting to the by-line and pulling the ball back for their striker to sweep home just before the break.
Still, at this stage we were pretty happy, we were firmly competing and felt a bit aggrieved at being behind. That emotion changes rapidly at the start of the second half. No way could Patrick take a risk with a head injury but Owen had a go to overcome his dead leg but he clearly wasn't right and had to come off again within a few minutes. We had a terrible 15 minutes, Maidstome over ran us, our heads dropped and they took full advantage, scoring 4 goals in quick succession, which would have been more had it not been for a string of great saves from James H in goal. Finally, our shell shocked and knackered looking lads started to fight back, the game was well and truly over score wise but at least they showed the character to return to something like their level. Brodie won a free kick which Luca shot just wide, and Alf met an Eddie cross with a header but was saved. The boys battled hard to the end and were unlucky to concede a couple of late goals to make the scoreline even worse.
A tough day, in the end having 3 centre halves unavailable was one step too far against a top team on a huge pitch, but the boys fought back well and will learn from the experience. The main lesson being that you can't take 15 minutes off against teams in this league, especially the best team in this league!

Sunday 6th January 2019
Langton Giants 0 - 4 Ebbsfleet United 
Squad: James H, Jack, Owen, Bertie, Tom, Alf, Luca, Brodie, Elliot, Simba, James D, Patrick, Max
First game back after a Christmas break and we have to welcome back double league winners Ebbsfleet United as our opponents! A blow before kick off saw us lose Ollie to injury but with both Max and Patrick returning from injury we were in good health. We started well, Simba spinning and finding James D with a wonderful ball with the outside of his foot, the leagues top scorer taking one touch and firing just wide of the far post. At this stage the game was very level, both teams enjoying turns of possession and our boys holding their own. The back three of Bertie, Owen and Jack doing a superb job of closing down the talented Ebbfleet strike force. A major moment of panic though from a deep cross causing a good old fashioned goal mouth scramble that required every ounce of effort from our defenders and a brilliant finger tip save from keeper James D to keep it out of the back of the net. Moments later e were inches away from taking the lead in bizarre circumstances where our strike force of Simba and James D put enough pressure on a retreating Ebbsfleet defender that he headed the ball over the head of his own out-rushing goal keeper, to his credit though he kept on running and just manage to clear the ball as it was about to cross the line! The game continued to be very competitive and Patrick and Max only added to the game when they came on midway through the half. A very well struck shot from distance was superbly parried by James H, who they somehow managed to claw the ball away as it was about to go into the net but unfortunately the Ebbsfleet striker reacted quickest and knocked in the rebound to give them a 1 nil lead. We went close to equalising twice before half time. Brodie found Elliot who in turn found James D who's cross/shot was plucked from the sky by the goalkeeper who moments later was guilty of taking too much time on the ball which allowed Simba to tackle him and momentarily win the ball, with the empty goal gaping though the keeper redeemed himself with a last ditch tackle to deny the chance.
Still, 1 nil down at half time against Ebbsfleet is no mean feat and if anything, we felt a little unlucky to be so, with no sign of there being any drop in performance over the Christmas break. Patrick was looking commanding along side Luca, Tom, Brodie and Alf in midfield with the latter also doing a sterling job wide right with Ollie and Noah both missing. A cleared corner saw Brodie hit a difficult spinning ball from the edge of the box which was blocked before it could cause the goalkeeper. The excellent Ebbsfleet right winger delivered a superb cross which was met with an even better finish, a stunning first time volley into the roof of the net which you could only applaud. James H then made a very good low save before we failed to clear a bouncing ball and the result was a third goal for Ebbsfleet. The boys didn't let their head drop though, battling to the end albeit with some obvious signs of tiredness kicking in. For a moment we though we had a penalty when Elliot was felled, but the decision was a free kick right on the edge of the box along the by line. James H was called upon again, this time to make an excellent diving save from a free kick and as we pushed forward in the closing moments we were caught on the counter attack which finished with an excellent finish into the corner with the last kick of the match which gave the scoreline an unfair look to it, albeit the better team on the day certainly won and deserved the three points.
A very decent performance against a very good team, the boys will learn and improve from this one, which is just as well as they face runaway league leaders Maidstone United away next week. Can't wait!

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
Squad: James H, Jack, Bertie, Owen, Brodie, Tom, Luca, Alf, Elliot, James D, Simba, Max

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.