Giants 2019 - 2020

Sunday 8th March 2020
K-Sports 3 - 2 Langton Giants
Alf, Brodie
That's better, much better.
After a couple of very difficult weeks the last thing you need is an away trip to another top end of the table team missing 4 regulars. Thanks to our fellow Langton team, Phoenix, lending us Ben and Jack H for the day, we were at least able to field 13 players albeit a few of the boys were going to have to play in different positions today. A change to formation had been introduced at training and whilst it is understandably work in progress, it immediately saw us look more compact and difficult to break down. A back four of Tom G, Owen, Jack P and Bertie were looking resolute in front of Harry in goal, with a midfield three of Tom V, Patrick and Brodie providing protection in front of them, Tom A, Simba and Alf being asked to provide the attacking threat. The fierce wind into our faces made attacking difficult, along with the adapting to a new approach. On the positive side though we were looking resilient and K-Sports were finding it difficult to find space in dangeorus areas. Ben and Jack H both joined the fray after about 15 minutes and both went on to put in first class performances, neither looking out of their deoth and both having a positive impact on the team. K-Sports were awarded a penalty that could best be described as 'soft', a 50/50 ball between keeper and striker, the momentum of the two players seeing them collide. Often this will be dismissed as a coming together but not today by a referee who was fully 40 yards away from the action, somewhere he was for most of the match. We weren't causing K-Sports much of a threat in an attacking sense at this stage, a few nearly moments and some well delivered free kicks being our best moments, but at 1 nil we were still firmly in the tie with the win in our favour second half. At least that was the thinking, unfortunately in the last few seconds of the half we conceded a very disappointing and scruffy goal from a quickly taken short corner.
So 2 nil and a bit deflated. As was pointed out to the boys at half time though, we'd completely shut them down from open play for the whole half and only two set pieces had seen us undone. We did though agree that we needed to keep the ball longer high up the pitch to allow the midfield to be more of an attacking threat, something for us to work on in the coming weeks too. The second half generally though was our best level for several weeks as we went toe-to-toe with an excellent K-Sports team. A set back though first, a third goal was conceded after we gave the ball away and were caught on the counter attack, but that was our last low moment. Alf was having a growing impact, as was Patrick and Tom in the middle of the park and Simba was holding the ball up well. Tom A was pushing us forward with his running and Brodie was showing decent pace on the wing. We thought we'd found ourselves a lifeline when Bertie swung in a corner to the back post but Simba's point blank effort was into the side netting rather than the back of the net. We didn't have to wait too much longer though and again it was Bertie's left foot who created the chance, a brilliantly delivered free kick to around the penalty spot that was met with an outstanding header from Alf powerfully into the ground and bouncing up into the roof of the net. This gave us a boost of confidence and we started to cause more problems. Jack P and Owen were in dominant form at the back and Jack H put in a brilliant sliding tackle that really set the tone for the rest of the match. Tom V and then Ben were calmly shielding the back four which allowed us to push more and more forward. A corner was won and for the second time this season, Brodie swung it in, high above everyone's head, straight into the far top corner to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 10 minutes still to play. We went searching for an equaliser and were definitely finishing the stronger team. Again there were several nearly moments, perhaps the best chance fell to Tom A in the box in the last minute but his well struck pwerful effort was blocked before it could challenge the keeper and time ran out.
A very pleasing performance after the previous two, big mention to Tom G, Alf and Brodie for playing out of position and doing so well and of course to Jack H and Ben for a pair of excellent displays. Lots to build on, well done boys.

Sunday 1st March 2020
Langton Giants 0 - 5 Tonbridge Angels
Simply put, our worst performance of the season.
Against our good friends, and usually very close opponents, for whatever reason we didn't show up. We found out a couple of days before the game that very sadly attacking maestro Elliot is to remain sidelined for some time to come and then overnight we lost skipper Tom V to sickness but we still had 13 fit and talented boys to compete for the win following on from the thrilling 4-4 draw earlier in the season where only a missed penalty denied us all three points. The first half was tough, but understandably given the fierce wind blowing against us and we only conceded the one goal, although that in itself was disappointing as we mostly gifted it to our opposition with a sloppy clearance. Still, 0-1 down at half time felt an 'above par' scoreline with the wind supposedly more to our advantage in the second half. Sadly that wasn't to prove the case.
An extremely disappointing second goal was conceded early in the second half when our defence was completely out of shape and Angels took full advantage, waltzing through the penalty box without any meaningful challenge and finishing smartly into the bottom corner. At this stage we did manage to provide some kind of response, Brodie, Alf, James D and Simba all seeing shots saved or go narrowly wide and a couple of set pieces caused some issues in the Angels box, but nothing clear cut. A bizarre third goal seemed to completely break our spirit and understandably raise Angels confidence to new levels which lead to another two goals being applied to the final scoreline.
Congratulations to Tonbridge Angels, who put on their best performance of the season (from their coach) to take full advantage of our weaknesses on the day. It was an uncharacteristic display from our boys, they've bounced back many times before and I've no doubt they will again, need to put this one behind us, quickly.


Sunday 23rd February 2020
Ashford United 7 - 0 Langton Giants
A bad day, a very bad day. Facing one of the very best teams in the league is always tough, then add in three key players missing, two more suffering injuries on the day, howling winds and zero sign of any fortune and this is what you get.
We actually started well, enjoying some early possession in the Ashford half and going close to getting in on a few occasions but we just couldn't find that final telling ball. Ashford cleared there lines and counter attacked at pace, we were out of position having pushed forward and they took full advantage, breaking forward and finishing smartly under James H who had no chance. We pushed forward again, Alf feeding James D who's cross was charged down to win us a corner. Brodie swung it in and Jack met it with a firm header just wide. The rest of the half was very competitive, James H made a couple of smart saves and was showing a new confidence in his starting position which was proving to be very effective. Tom G rolled his ankle and James D got a fiercely driven ball right in the unmentionables, which left us down to 10 men for much of the remaining first half, despite this we stood firm. Max, Jack, Ollie and Bertie fighting hard with Tom V and Brodie just in front. In the dying seconds of the first half we were stung by another counter, and despite the desperate attempts by keeper and defence the ball just went over the line to make the half time score 2 nil.
Despite the scoreline, we had played well and there was no sign of the disappointing second half to come. Maybe it as tired legs, maybe it was the wind, maybe it was the lack of matches recently, but for whatever reason our passing fell apart and we were conceding possession consistently. When you do this against such a strong team you are going to pay heavily for it and that's exactly what happened. We had some good moments but generally the second half was a hard slog, attitude and commitment a plenty, just a lower level of quality than we would normally achieve. Not helped by a nonsensical and entirely unnecessary penalty award in injury time which really rubbed salt into the wounds. 
In youth football you either win, draw or learn, today was a big lesson. It was also the first time this season, in 18 games, where we've failed to score, let's hope we can find our scoring touch again next week.

Sunday 2nd February 2020
Chatham Town 0 - 2 Langton Giants
Bertie, Patrick
Our first ever trip to play at Chatham Town's excellent stadium and the facility was just as good as it had been described. We were boosted by having the entire squad available for a game for the first time this season, which under normal circumstances causes a little bit of a rotation challenge, today didn't though as both Elliot and James D weren't 100% so would be used sparingly. The last time we'd faced Chatham we'd started off incredibly quickly and the exact same thing almost happened again today. Max feeding an inch perfect ball to set Tom G away bearing down on goal, he struck it well and did the right thing by going across the keeper but the ball flew agonisingly the wrong side of the far post. We were then very grateful to goalkeeper Harry for a superb one handed save to push the ball round the post from a powerful effort. Tom G again got himself in a great position to get onto the end of Owen's long range free kick, his flicked effort being well saved by a brave goalkeeper. Jack and Owen were both in fine form at the center of defence, which is just as well because Chatham were a constant threat with their two physical, pacy and talented strikers. Bertie and Max were commanding as full backs, with Tom V and Brodie controlling midfield behind a front four of Tom A, Alf, Tom G and SImba who's movement was exceptional througout. Some superb football in the middle of the park saw the ball swept across by Brodie to Bertie who's wicked cross/shot flew past the face of the goal from a tight angle. The wind was causing problems, especially to us in the first half as it was in our faces, which meant set pieces were problematic, thankfully Harry was alert to the danger and tipped two efforts over the bar. Patrick came on and started to drive us forward from midfield, James D joining the attack and seeing an excellent headed effort fly narrowly wide after a brilliant cross from Alf. Ollie further firmed up the defence but also instantly gave us an attacking outlet down the right hand side which caused Chatham to send their left back into retreat. No goals in the first half but we felt like we'd had the better of the game even into the wind.
The second half was much more about us as we really started to ping the ball about and press home a territorial advantage. Elliot was able to give us a lively 20 mins at the start of the second half which was a real boost, hopefully his injury subsides in the coming weeks and we can see more of our magical winger. Alf probed and delivered a sumptuous slide rule pass to get James D in on goal, one touch and shot, on target but well saved. Then a pacey counter attack again saw Alf delivering the ball, this time to Elliot who skipped past a defender before shooting on goal, another save. It felt like a goal was coming, and it needed to as Chatham were always a threat. There was an almighty goal mouth scramble following a free kick and Chatham were only able to clear it as far as the edge of the box and fortuitously for us, to the trusty left peg of Bertie, who beautifully lofted a volley perfectly over everyone's heads and the goalkeeoper's dive to nestle firmly in the roof of the net, a moment of calmness in another wise frantic few minutes. Now we had a lead to hold on to but it was very nearly given up almost immediately when one of their defenders suddenly turned into Lionel Messi, running fully 60 yards, weaving in and out of tackles and somehow finding himself with just Harry to beat. Harry was in no mood to be beaten today though and saved what would have been a remarkable goal with a brilliant sprawling save to maintain our lead. Naturally as the game inched closer and closer to the end, Chatham came forward in numbers, it felt like they had 4 strikers as some points, but our magnificent defence stood firm, this allowed us to counter attack and after a number of near misses that priceless second goal came in injury time. We broke, the ball was fed to Simba on the left, he held it up brilliantly and then floated a dangerous cross that it looked like would be dealt with by a combination of defender and keeper, but Tom G was having none of it, launching himself between the pair of them and heading the ball onto the keeper, with the ball fall at the feet of Patrick who had charged forward to add to the attack and he calmly slammed the ball home to give us another 2-0 win over Chatham this season.
A great performance and pleasing result, only our second clean sheet of the season and they are very hard to come by, so very well done boys.

Sunday 26th January 2020
Langton Giants 1 - 4 Ashford United
Another extremely tough challenge today against last seasons league runners up and cup winning Ashford United, made all the tougher when we lost Max and Elliot to injury, and Harry and Ollie to illness. This meant a reshuffle was required and a few boys playing some of the game out of position as well as a lot of tired legs by the end. A confusion over time led to a delayed referee which meant for the second game in a row we started a game with one of our oppositions coaching team as referee. Again though we were very grateful to him for stepping in and allowing the game to start and he did a very good job until the appointed referee showed up after about 15 minutes. We started well, defensively very solid with the back four of Tom G, Owen, Jack and Bertie performing well in front of James H who helped himself to an outstanding performance in goal. After James H was called upon to make a decent save from a long distance volley we went close to opening the scoring, Bertie's well struck free kick hitting the top of the cross bar from distance. The midfield of Patrick, Tom A and Alf were playing well, with Tom A and Simba supporting James D as striker whenever they could as well as performing much needed defensive duties when called upon. We were generally containing Ashford and dealing with the dangerous through balls well, but there was nothing we could do when a sweetly struck curling effort was fired right into the top corner from distance, a brilliant goal. James H was then called upon to make a brilliant save at point blank range when facing a striker 1v1 before we had a couple of good efforts ourselves from the edge of the box, well struck shots from Tom A and James D both going narrowly wide, the former following some superb work down the left from Bertie.
So 1 nil down at half time and firmly in the contest.Unfortunately, an uncharacteristic mistake at the start of the second half saw that deficit doubled and the challenge even harder. We fought back extremely well though, enjoying our best period of the match for the next 20 minutes or so. Tom G hit the cross bar from distance, the ball falling near Simba but it was practically impossible for him to get anything meaningful on the effort such was the spin on the ball. Then our best chance to get back into it, some great football led to Simba striking a ferocious effort goal-ward from very close range but at an angle, somehow the keeper making an extraordinary save to keep it out and the scoreline at 2 nil. Ashford then it has to be said, counter attacked brilliantly at speed and had it not been for an equally stunning save from our own goalie the scoreline would have got worse. Simba then shot wide after a great corner from Brodie, before Brodie himself missed the target narrowly after our best move of the match created the chance. James H was called upon to make another great save before a scruffy third goal was conceded that could have been avoided, then a 4th low into the bottom corner. These boys reminded everyone of their never-give-up-attitude though by nabbing themselves a totally deserved consolation towards the end, Brodie's corner being cleared to around the penalty spot and Alf being on hand to smash it home to leave the final score 4-1 to Ashford.
Another very good effort against an excellent side who are going to be there or thereabouts when the silverware is decided at the end of the season. If we can reduce the errors and take our chances we are going to get something from of these types of games very soon, the work rate and performance levels are too high for us not to.

Sunday 12th January 2020
Langton Giants 1 - 4 Ebbsfleet United
After initially thinking we didn't have a game this weekend we were pleased that the league agreed for our 'home' game against Ebbsfleet to be played at their pitch, meaning it was the third time we've played them away from home this season. They remain one of the very best teams in the league and in the earlier league fixture had given us a hiding, but a vastly improved performance against them in the cup before Christmas had gone a long way to repairing confidence and make no mistake, for the large majority of this fixture it looked like we were going to come away with all three points, and deservedly so.
Sadly we lost Elliot and Ollie to injuries overnight and then we lost the referee too, victim of a punctured tyre apparently. We were very grateful to one of the Ebbsfleet coaches for stepping up to fill in, really not a great position to be put in and all credit to him for doing so or else there wouldn't have been a game at all. To say we started well (for a change!) is a major understatement as we dominated almost the entire first half. We were smart in possession, pressing in numbers, solid at the back and creative going forward. This combined with Ebbsfleet at this stage not getting to their best football yet meant we really needed to take advantage whilst we were on top. Tom G went closest early, a brilliantly struck effort from distance crashing against the cross bar after Brodie had set him for the strike. The back four of Max, Owen, Jack and Bertie were in great form and intercepting most attacks to deny any shots on goal. One such interception saw Jack charging forward and his pass found Brodie to fire from the edge of the box, his effort dipping just over the bar. Then it came, and it was well worth the wait. Bertie found Tom A down the left, his neat little through ball found Simba to the left of the goal but a tight angle, he showed great awareness to set the ball back to the charging Alf who opened up his body to side foot firmly into the back of the net for a deserved lead. The first real threat came from a ball over the top which momentarily caught us out but James H was quick and brave off his line to deny and equaliser. Patrick and Brodie, then Tom V, were commanding possession in central midfield with Tom G, Tom A, Alf and Simba, then James D providing most of the attacking intent, as for the remainder of the half we created more chances against Ebbsfleet than we have in the last two seasons  combined! James D fed Bertie who slipped the ball into Tom A right by the penalty spot but a bit of a loose first touch denied him a shot on goal, then James D went close twice himself with shots just off target. Tom A then hit a powerful shot that was deflected into the arms of the grateful keeper before Simba headed inches wide with the keeper stranded from 6 yards out, thanks to a brilliant cross from Bertie. Brodie's ferocious volley looked goal bound only for it to strike a defender on route. In the closing stages of the half we had a couple of major scares. First of all James H was called upon to make a superb save from point-blank range which then needed Owen to athletically clear off the line before Owen again proved to be the hero with a very brave header to deny a certain goal from Ebbsfleet's big and talented striker, both lads coming away rubbing their heads!
So half-time came with us leading 1 nil and after putting in perhaps our best half of football ever, if anything we should have been up more and it was hard to imagine how we could have done any better against such a good side. At half time though it was said that football can be a cruel game, that you don't always get what you deserve and very sadly that proved to be the case.
Understandably Ebbsfleet came out fired up for the second half and were soon reminding us what a good team they are, it required every ounce of effort to keep them at bay, and that's exactly what we got as every boy ran themselves into the ground defending from the front and fighting for every ball. The wind was firmly against us now making it even more difficult to get forward but defensively we were solid. James H was however called upon to make two great saves in quick succession, one low to his right and then almost immediately with his foot to the left, great goalkeeping. We held out for a solid 30 mins against all Ebbsfleet had to offer but sadly, with 10 minutes to go they broke through the back line with a counter attack and a very well taken effort saw them equalise. This added to the pressure and Ebbsfleet were throwing everything at us but we continued to fight admirably. It really did look at this stage that we were going to hang on for a point, which would have been the very least we deserved after that first half performance as we were resolute, organised and determined. A ball went into the box, was half cleared but deflected onto a Langton arm, a penalty was awarded. The player who's arm it hit didn't even know it had, but the decision was made and the penalty dispatched. This deflated the boys massively as they'd given everything and this felt extremely harsh on them. Ebbsfleet put two goals in against tired, shell shocked and aggrieved boys in injury time to leave the final score completely lopsided and didn't reflect the match at all..
Despite that final few minutes this will still go down as a brilliant performance from a team who have shown that on their day they can give anybody a match and can consider themselves incredibly unlucky not to have taken down one of the big boys today. Thanks again to Ebbsfleet for hosting and providing a referee, top team, top club.

Sunday 5th January 2020
Langton Giants 4 - 1 Hollands & Blair
James D, Tom A, Elliot, Patrick
The new year started with a home game against Hollands & Blair, the team we also started the season against and ended up with the exact same scoreline, albeit in very different circumstances. With Jack and Alf unavailable we were happy to see James D and Elliot return having missed our last match before Christmas and both played a major part in the outcome. We started well, dominating possession in the H&B half and creating lots of chances. Elliot fired home with a well struck finish only to be denied by the linesman's flag. He then hot a powerful right foot effort over the bar after good build up play from James D and Ollie, with Tom A providing the set for the shot on goal. It felt like a goal was coming though and it soon arrived, James D smashing home a volley from near the penalty spot after Tom A's initial effort had been saved. Tom A had pulled off a great bit of skill in the build up with Bertie's run also contributing to the goal. Tom A then set James D for a strike with his right foot that went narrowly past the post. Throughout all this attacking play, the back for of Ollie, Owen, Max and Bertie were winning everything, with Brodie and Tom V linking up with Simba in midfield as we continued to dominate proceedings. However, we were then caught out with a long ball and a very good finish as H&B scored with their first attack of the game to level things up. This seemed to unsettle us as our way of playing went out of the window for the rest of the half as we fell into a game of kick and rush which didn't suit us at all. James H was called upon to make a good save from a powerful close range effort to stop things getting worse. Meanwhile James D sent Elliot away with an excellent through ball, the keeper was quickly off his line though and Elliot's chipped effort just wouldn't come down in time and went over the bar.
It was essential that we got back to playing our game in the second half and that's exactly what we did. The ball was back on the floor and our movement was quick and intelligent. Tom G was having a big impact on the game with his work rate and passing, as were both full backs Bertie & Ollie with their overlapping. Sadly we lost striker James D early in the half to a back issue so a reshuffle was required. Bertie was felled, Brodie went for goal with the free kick, which was well saved by the H&B keeper. Patrick was commanding in central midfield and his forward run brought us another free kick. Brodie crossed this one in, there was a bit of a scramble which resulted in Tom V swiveling on the ball to shoot, this was blocked wide. A cross from the left by Tom G found the unlikely head of Ollie which brought a very good save to keep it out. Moments later though, Ollie again found himself in an attacking position and let fly with a thunderbolt that the keeper could only parry and Tom A was on hand to fire home the rebound to put us 2-1 in front. Although we continued to be in control of the game, a 1 goal advantage was always leaving us at risk, as we'd seen in the first half, so it was reassuring to have both Owen and Max in such commanding form in the center of defence. We continued to create chances, Patrick firing wide after being set by Bertie, Simba volleying over twice with difficult chances but showing fantastic hold up play throughout the half. We really needed to extend our lead whilst on top though and with Elliot being in such rich goal scoring form this season it was no great surprise when he was on hand to finish smartly after an excellent run and cross from Tom A to create the opportunity. Finally we could relax a little and our football started to flow. Tom V ran from the half way line only to be denied by the keepers outstretched foot, Tom G went close with an effort from distance, Brodie saw a shot saved when 1v1 at an angle, Bertie was weaving in and out of defenders like Messi at times and Max was hitting raking passes from the back into feet like Baresi in his pomp! Ok, I might be getting a little carried away but they were very good all the same!  In the closing minutes Patrick pushed forward, beat the keeper only to see his effort cleared off the line, it came back to him though and he slammed it home with his left foot to round off the scoring. 
The last 20 minutes were some of our best football and the desire and fitness of the boys was there for all to see, but for long periods this was a tight nervy game that we had to fight hard to win.

Sunday 15th December 2019
Langton Giants 1 - 6 Maidstone United
Today saw last season's double winning Maidstone United come to town and remind us all why they achieved that last term. Positively though that our boys put in another excellent performance despite the scoreline, there were no dropping of heads and with a little more luck the scorelines could have been a lot more credible. We went into the game without our two top goalscorers this season, James D and Elliot but welcomed back Patrick and Jack.
We started really well, our defensive line up of Max, Owen, Jack and Bertie looking solid with Patrick and Tom protecting them well just in front. Our attacking midfield three of Tom A, Alf and Tom G were having to work more defensively than usual, with Simba having to work hard up front alone against a very good defence. We saw through the first 25 minutes of the match well enough, although Maidstone were dominating possession goalkeeper James wasn't called into any major action and if anything, a break from Tom A was perhaps the closest either team had come, his challenge on the keeper knocking the ball free but it spun away rather than to his feet with the open goal waiting. At some point the Maidstone quality was likely to tell though and so it did with a mesmerising passing move down the right hand side seeing the ball pulled back to the penalty spot and finished first time for the opening goal. We almost responded immediately. Simba was bundled over and Brodie's free kick came crashing back off the face of the cross bar with the keeper well beaten, such fine margins. Bertie pulled off a sliding tackle to deny a certain goal and James H made two outstanding saves in a row, the first in a 1v1 situation and the other with a finger tip save to push a long shot on to the post to keep the score at 1 nil, but in the last minute of the half was unable to do anything about another great goal, finished into the bottom corner leaving the score at 2 nil at the half.
It was disappointing to concede that second goal just before the break but there was still a lot of positives to be taken from the first half performance and every reason to think it could continue, and it did, in the main. James H continued his great game with a brave close range save and his kicking throughout was spot on. Despite our best efforts a third goal was conceded about 10 minutes into the second period which was a shame as we'd started well and were beginning to become more of an attacking threat. Tom G worked hard to create enough space to get a shot away from distance which was saved and Simba saw a powerful effort blocked after Bertie had crossed following a strong run down the left. James H then made his best save of the day, a firm right hand seeing a very powerful effort round the post from close range, stunning stuff. From the resulting corner though we conceded from a header, by far the most disappointing goal to concede today, the only one we really could have done much about. Patrick and Ollie combined well which created a chance for Alf to shoot off balance, but there wasn't enough power to beat the keeper. James H made another save 1v1 before the most contentious moment of the match. A ball was sent over the top for the Maidstone winger to chase into the box, a flag was immediately raised for off side, the Maidstone player then whacked the ball into the roof of the net. No problem as the flag was up, right? Wrong as it transpired. The referee, who up until this point had been very good, decided to over rule the linesman's decision, despite  being 30 yards behind the play and at no angle whatsoever to see whether the decision was correct or other wise. In 11 years of coaching youth football this is the first time I've ever seen a referee over rule an off-side decision, and at 4 nil down already to the league champions it felt an entirely unnecessary intervention and very hard on our boys who had been working so hard to contain their illustrious opponents. So what did our boys do about it? They channeled their understandable frustration and sense of unfairness and went down the other end to score a superb goal. It started when Tom A won a ball, ride two challenges, won the ball back and and feed Bertie, he then sent the ball into Alf on the edge of the box who swiveled and finished brilliantly into the bottom corner. A goal that was thoroughly deserved. Right at the end of the game, during injury time in fact, we conceded again to another very well crafted effort from Maidstone.
The performance was very good, the work rate was exceptional, the lessons valuable, the scoreline harsh but all credit to Maidstone who really do play some great football.  
Sunday 1st December 2019
KYL Cup 3rd Round
Ebbsfleet United 2 - 1 Langton Giants
James D
About 6 weeks ago we traveled to play Ebbsfleet away in a league fixture and everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong and we were on the wrong side of a good old fashioned hiding. Ebbsfleet are an outstanding team and have the capability of doing that to many teams but we were determined not to suffer a repeat experience. Without defensive linchpin Jack and influential midfielder Patrick we were looking a little smaller than usual but we were boosted by the return to action of skipper Tom V, a great addition to any team and a timely appearance.
The last couple of times we've played Ebbsfleet we have conceded within the first minute of the match so we were desperate to now allow that to happen again and allowed ourselves a minor celebration on the sideline when the first 60 seconds went by unscathed for once! Ebbsfleet are a very accomplished all over the pitch and play some of the best football in the league and they also have an outstanding striker who had destroyed us last time out. We had a focused plan to try and deal with him, which center backs Owen and Max performed superbly throughout the game and mostly kept him under wraps. Full backs Bertie and Ollie were equally as brilliant, both putting in almost faultless performances which meant that despite Ebbsfleet dominating possession in our half for much of the opening exchanges, goalkeeper Harry remained untroubled aside from a few shots from distance. We started to grow more into the match and the midfield trio of Brodie, Tom A and Alf were matching up well against their counterparts in the middle of the pitch, with Simba, Elliot and James D tasked with providing most of the attacking threat. Brodie swept the ball out to an overlapping Bertie on the left wing who's first time ball set James D away, his pace took him clear but the angle was against him, the keeper saving the shot at the near post. Ollie won a tackle, rode another and then fed Simba on the edge of the box who managed to escape his defender just enough to let a shot go, this one flying past the outside of the near post. We survived a few scary moments at the other end, a powerful header wide and a couple of desperate blocks to shots inside the box but generally we were coping well. Tom G and Tom V both entered the game and had an immediate impact with their strength and quality on the ball. It was hard to believe Tom V had been out for so long as he looked very sharp. 
Getting to half time at nil nil felt like a real achievement in itself and gave us a platform to build on, as well as a boost of confidence. An early blow though was that during the first half a free kick had been drilled firmly into Brodie's head and it has made him feel quite groggy, so no chances being taken with a head injury that was him done for the second half. Elliot's work rate and intelligence was really standing out both in attack and defence and Tom G was constantly putting the Ebbsfleet back four under pressure to win us the ball high up the pitch and generally make a nuisance of himself which unfortunately had to be paused for a bit when he was on the receiving end of an unintended whack to the shin which caused him to come off and ice the injury. Credit to the Ebbsfleet player who had provided the whack, showing great sportsmanship to check on Tom's well being. Bertie delivered a dangerous free kick that caused panic in the Ebbsfleet defence but the ball just wouldn't fall nicely enough for somebody to get a clean shot away and the danger was cleared. Then a moment of determination and inspiration from Tom A as he won a tackle, won another and then forced his way past a third to drive us forward, the ball broke for James D on his trusty left foot and despite being under pressure from two covering defenders was able to slot the ball under the keeper and into the back of the net. Naturally Ebbsfleet fought back and they did so with great quality but our boys stood firm, battling like mad to keep them at bay. Simba's hold up play and strength at holding players off was proving a valuable asset, especially when combined with James D pace so we remained a threat on the break too. Despite our best efforts, which included two towering defensive headers the ball found the Ebbsfleet right winger who delivered a superb ball to the back post that was powered home from close range by the Ebbsfleet striker to level the score. Moments later he nearly repeated the act but this time was thwarted by a stunning point blank save from Harry to tip it over the bar, a truly outstanding effort and deserved by a lad who had also been in goal on that difficult day in the league game. With 10 mins or so to go the game was on a knifes edge, Elliot letting fly from distance but parried away, Alf skipping in and getting a shot away but also saved. As we got closer to the end it became clear a goal either way would probably decide the tie and unfortunately this went to Ebbslfeet, the ball bouncing around our box and despite efforts to clear and smartly taken finish put us 2-1 down. We pushed forward looking for an equaliser, and perhaps the play of the game very nearly brought one, a 1-2 between James D and Alf, including an outrageous back heel from Alf, created a shooting chance from the edge of the box for James D who struck it well and on target but saved by the keeper. That was our last chance and the celebrations when the final whistle went from the Ebbsfleet lads was a testament to how well we had done, they were relieved to still be in the hat.
So a disappointment in terms of the result, we were probably deserving of extra time at least, but no disappointment at all in the level of performance, it was our best of the season. After Christmas we have about 10 games against opposition of this level, if we can produce like this week in week out there is no reason why we can't make a very good impression on that challenge. Good luck to Ebbsfeet in the next round, a great team and a really nice bunch of people, let's hope they go on and win it.

Sunday 24th November 2019

Kent County Cup - 3rd Round
Langton Giants 1 - 2 Holmesdale
The third round of the cup saw us entertain Holmesdale, a team from the KYL North division who were in our division last season. We had shared victories against each other last season so we knew it would be a tight game, and so it proved. Missing captain Tom and influential Patrick and with both Elliot and James D suffering from illness left us a little light of ideal but still enough to put in a very energetic performance which probably deserved to be joined by a stroke of luck, which wasn't forthcoming. Given our recent woes at the start of games we decided on a bit of game management, adopting a low risk strategy to start the match to allow us to get into the match a bit and start to play our football. The boys listened to and adopted the approach  well as we enjoyed a steadier than normal start to the game, keeper James H only being required to make one early save which he dealt with easily enough. The back four of Ollie, Owen, Jack and Max were looking solid with Brodie and Tom A working tirelessly just in front of them as we settled down. Brodie swung a corner in which caused great panic in the penalty box but nobody could quite lay a meaningful foot on the ball and the threat passed. Alf and Simba were linking up very well with both James D and Tom G providing the threat from a slightly wider position. Slowly we grew into the game and soon grabbed the lead. Bertie and Elliot joined the fray and were soon influential, the former finding the latter on the edge of the box, quick feet created the space for a powerful shot that the keeper could only parry, Tom A followed up, his effort was saved too but the ball fell back to Elliot, who showed great composure to find the bottom corner with his supposed weaker foot to open the scoring. This gave us a confidence boost as we started to get on top. Holmesdale were a constant threat though, especially on the counter attack with their early long delivery to a physical threat up front. Once they broke through and James H made a great save to deny them an equaliser, the second time he made an even better save but this one was followed up and bundled over the line at the back post to make the score 1-1. Just before half time, James D delivered a dangerous free kick into the box which was only partially cleared, Bertie bringing a decent save from the Holmesdale keeper with a well struck volley.
We commented at half time how this was one of those games which would most likely pivot on one telling moment and so it proved, and not to our advantage. Tom G delivered the ball of the match, a cross field lofted pass which caught out the Holmesdale defence and SImba met it with a first time volley, well saved. Elliot then cheekily chipped the ball over the defence for Simba to break through. As he struck the ball he was quite clearly shoved from behind but still managed to get his shot away which went narrowly wide, we waited for the whistle to blow for the penalty but it never did. Seconds later Holmesdale had the ball in the back of our net when a long ball caught us out. This turned out to be the pivotal moment of the match as it turned out as despite the fact we fought like mad and were the dominant team for the rest of the match we just couldn't find a way to equalise. Brodie showed great trickery to get a shot away that was wide, Alf was probing throughout and was unlucky when through 1v1 v the keeper at a tight angle and in the dying minutes Jack saw a well struck effort from around the penalty spot saved. This turned out to be the last chance as the light faded and the floodlights finally came on for the last couple of minutes (helpful).
A good cup tie that we were unlucky to lose, could have gone either way but the fortune wasn't there for us today when we needed it, very promising performance though. 

Sunday 17th November 2011
Tonbridge Angels 4 - 4 Langton Giants
Alf, Elliot, Jack, Brodie
What a game, it had everything!
Games against our friends at Tonbridge Angels are never dull, but this one probably topped the lot. Unfortunately our fast start of last week proved to be somewhat of an aberration as once again we were very sluggish at the beginning of this one, second best all over the pitch and struggling to get into the game. We had an early warning when their striker broke through 1v1, James H made himself big and closed down the angle which was enough to see the shot go side. A few minutes later though he was helpless to do anything when we clumsily gave the ball away on our own penalty spot and the ball was fired into the top corner to give the Angels a deserved lead. We slowly started to come to life, a run by Simba saw the ball come back for James D to fire goal ward from the edge of the box but over the bar. As a team, we try to encourage the boys to play out from the back as much as possible, when you have this ethos though you have to accept the fact that sometimes it will go wrong and you will pay for it. And we did. Twice, leaving us facing a three nil deficit. In between those two goals we also lost influential midfielder Patrick to a horrible head/nose injury when going for a header as things were not exactly going our way. Tom G though immediately made an impact upon coming on, harassing the Angels defence and really lifting the energy levels. James H made a big save at the near post to stop things getting any worse and shortly before half-time, a lifeline, as Alf struck home an early contender for goal of the season with a stunning strike into the top corner from distance after some great work from Jack P and Tom A had created the opportunity.
That late strike had given us a boost, and boy did we make the most of it. For the first 20 mins of the second half we were brilliant, totally dominating and playing some of our best football of the season. Ollie, Owen, Max and Bertie were settling the back line, Jack and Brodie the midfield pair with Elliot, Tom A and Alf tucked in behind striker Simba who had a superb second half, holding the ball up and bringing his teams mates into the game expertly. Angels defence half cleared a ball, Brodie headed it back into the box and Jack helped it on for Elliot to steady himself and finish under the keeper to cut the deficit to 3-2. Ollie broke down the right and pinged a great ball for Alf to chase and get the better of the defender before hitting a powerful shot that the keeper did well to parry round the post for a corner. Elliot swung it in, Bertie jumped incredibly highl at the back post to header across the goal where Jack was on hand to volley home from close range but at full stretch to level the scores. Ollie again with a smart ball, half cleared but Owen reacted quickest to find Elliot who went on one of his mazy runs into the box, beating two before being clearly tripped from behind, penalty quite rightly awarded. Unfortunately our recent penalty woes continued, albeit this time thanks to a very good save but we didn't have to wait long to earn the lead. Elliot again was felled, this time though well outside the box and at an angle, an angle perfect for a right footer. Up stepped Brodie to send a bending, dipping free kick over the wall and into the back of the net via the inside of the post, a brilliant strike and now we had the lead. At this stage it looked very likely we were going to use this momentum to go on and claim victory. Down to 10 men though for 8 minutes due to a sin-bin punishment required a change in formation and a loss of the momentum. We conceded right in the last minute of the 8, to be fair it was to a very well taken individual effort. The last 10 minutes or so was proper end to end stuff, both teams having panicky moments in their own box. Right at the very end, Tom A was bearing down on goal but the keeper did brilliantly to get out to him and save the shot with his face (!) and the points were shared. 
Disappointing not to get the three points having worked so hard to come back and take the lead but our first half performance wasn't anywhere near good enough so it would have been very harsh on Angels had we taken them, in the overall scheme of things a draw was a fair result.

Sunday 10th November 2019
Langton Giants 2 - 0 Chatham Town
Elliot x2
After a weeks break we welcomed a new opponent, Chatham Town, today for a return to league action. With the only absentee being skipper Tom V we were in rare good health and keen to get off to a fats start, and boy did we, especially Elliot who showed fantastic sharpness and awareness to pounce on a loose ball and then exquisite skill to lob the tall goalkeeper to give us a lead within the first minute! For a team that tends to start slowly, this was a real and rare treat. Elliot almost double ours, and his, goal tally just a minute later but his powerfully struck right footed effort was well saved by the Chatham No.1 Not to be denied though, a few minutes later a brilliant through ball from Jack set Elliot away again, and again his lob proved to be too good for the keeper as our lead was doubled within the first 10 minutes. What a way to start a diffult match against a tough, physical and direct opponent. This was where our back four really came in to their own. Max, Owen, Jack and Bertie were colossal in standing up to an aerial bombardment and when they did manage to break through they were thwarted by goalkeeper Harry who had an excellent game, bravely diving at the feet of the Chatham striker to deny them a goal back. Patrick and Brodie were in control in midfield with the front four of Tom A, Simba, Elliot and Alf a constant threat. Tom G joined the action for only his second appearance and was quickly up to speed, helping himself to a very impressive performance, almost topped with a goal thanks to a well struck effort from distance that flew over the bar. Ollie and James D came on too and added real energy and quality immediately, the former seeing an effort very well saved after Patrick had played him in with a smart pass.
The second half can best be described as 'attritional' with Chatham putting us under pressure from a consistent number of direct balls that in the main we coped with superbly well. Harry was required to make a couple more excellent saves which he did brilliantly, but generally we kept the chances to a minimum. At the other end we had a number of chances to ease the nerves but it just wouldn't come, James D going close on a  few occasions, one which went narrowly past the post in a 1v1 situation and the rest saved by the keeper who had a good game for them. 
Not the prettiest game of football but a thoroughly deserved three points, a clean sheet in this league is very hard to earn so well done to the boys for that and overall a very decent performance and result.

Sunday 27th October 2019
Kent County Cup - 2nd Round
Langton Giants 6 - 1 Thanet Colts
Simba x3, Tom A, Owen, Patrick (pen)
After a thrilling come from behind 4-3 win in the first round the Giants reward was a home tie against a new opponent, Thanet Colts from the East Kent Youth League. With them riding high in that league we were prepared for a strong opposition and the start of the match suggested that would be the case, their striker making the most of our indecision at the back to catch us out on the counter attack and give the visitors an early lead. Our boys soon settled though and went on to dominate the rest of the match from that moment onwards. James D fed Simba with a great little through ball which he finished in style before a Brodie corner wasn't cleared and Tom A was on hand to knock home his second goal in three games and give us the lead. Patrick went close to extending the lead when his effort just missed the far post after being found by Alf in a tight-space before James D brought out two flying saves from the goalkeeper as we really started to put them under a lot of pressure. Max, Noah, Owen and Bertie were now in complete control at the back in front of James who showed excellent distribution throughout the game. There was then two very welcome new entrants to the game, the returning Jack and new boy Tom G making his debut. Bertie was overlapping superbly well down the left hand side, on one occasion only a foul could stop him. Brodie went for goal with the free kick, his shot being spilled by the goalkeeper and Owen being first to react, slotting home from close range on the follow up to extend the lead to 3-1. Tom G saw a well struck effort saved and Max had some storming runs down the right wing that were causing problems for Thanet. James D hit the inside of the post, so unlucky, before a handball resulted in a penalty that birthday boy Patrick slotted home with a minimum of fuss. In the closing minutes of the half, Noah found Tom G who turned the ball quickly onto Patrick who showed great footwork and then great poise to create the space and deliver a ball to the back post for Simba to finish off from close range. 5-1 at half time.
The second half saw much of the same one-way traffic, without the number of goals to match. James D hit the post another two times and also brought out an incredible finger tip save from the busy Thanet keeper. Alf had a 1v1 saved well and another close range shot blocked after being set up by Simba. Brodie, Tom A and Bertie all had shots off target as we searched for another goal. It finally came via the penalty spot, Tom A being felled from behind, Simba then following up the keepers initial save from the penalty kick to claim a well deserved hatrick. Right at the very end Tom A was denied a final goal by good goalkeeping which meant the game finished 6-1 and we look forward to the 3rd round draw,
Great performance and even greater to see Jack P looking fit and to welcome Tom G into the fold, helping himself to a very good debut in the process.

Sunday 20th October 2019
Bearsted 3 - 3 Langton Giants
Patrick, Elliot, Brodie
After a couple of exhilarating cup ties over the last two weekends it was back to league action for the Giants today, away at Bearsted. A combination of injuries and half-term absences left us very short for this match, at one point in the week it looked as though we would be going into this match with 10 players, but a couple of boys willing to play through injuries and one of our u15s agreeing to play up a year meant we were able to cobble together 12 bodies. We were seriously short at the back though, Patrick moving back there from midfield allowing Tom A to also move back into a central midfield role. Ollie O stepped up from the year below, a pacey forward player with an eye for goal and first class work rate was a valued addition at short notice, putting in a really solid performance for which we were very grateful. Despite the challenges we started very well, Ollie A playing superbly well despite effectively playing on one-leg which eased for him as the game went on. Max's sweetly struck free kick found James D in the box, his turn and powerful shot rebounding back off the face of the cross bar. The other half of the walking wounded, Brodie, shipped the ball into the feet of Alf who in turn fed Elliot, the last ditch tackle put in on him winning us a corner. Elliot himself swung it in, Tom A leaped higher than everyone and connected with a sweet downward header that the goalkeeper did well to parry, but Patrick was on hand to follow in and force home the opening goal. This was doubled soon enough, this goal being created and finished as a result of sheer determination. First of all James D refused to let the goalkeeper have an easy time and closed him down, winning the ball before quickly shipping it across goal. A Bearsted defender was firm favourite to get to the ball first, but Elliot showed great intelligence and energy to angle his run so that when the defender cleared the ball he was able to close him down to force the ball over the line. A great start but we knew we were vulnerable at the back, so were grateful when James H made a great save from point blank range when the tall strong striker broke free on goal. Unfortunately he wasn't able to do anything about an excellent finish into the bottom corner a few minutes later that halved our lead. Bertie was captain for the day and put in his usual high energy and quality performance, linking up well with new boy Ollie O several times as well as Simba. One such piece of play saw us win another corner. No header required this time, Brodie's in swinging effort catching the keeper out and reinstating our two goal lead. Sadly we weren't able to hold on to this until the break, another sweetly struck shot finding the back of the net which meant we held a narrow 3-2 lead at the break.
Alf has really excelled in the middle of the pitch the last few games and did so again today, pulling the strings and moving the ball quickly. Right at the start of this half he weaved his way into the box before finding Simba with a deft ball right into his stride, Simba fired powerfully but also high and the ball went over the bar. Bearsted were a constant threat on the counter attack and we'd had a few scary moments already, but when the ball was sent through and our defender slipped, the striker rounded keeper James H and finished very well. All of a sudden it was 3-3 and we were in a real battle. It was end to end stuff, no doubt a thrilling game for the neutral and a number of chances were created but not taken at both ends. The main moment of the second half came with just less than 20 minutes to go. Elliot swung in another dangerous corner which caused havoc in the Bearsted defence, the ball was bouncing around like a pinball before eventually coming out to James D on the edge of the box. He fired a brilliantly executed effort goal-wards over everyone's heads, and past the despairing dive of the goalkeeper. The ball was about to nestle in the top corner when a Bearsted player pushed it away with both of his hands. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot and send the offender off for deliberate handball denying a goal. Sadly the penalty wasn't converted and we were unable to take advantage of the extra player in the closing minutes to find a winning goal so had to settle for a point.
No lack of effort, a little lack of quality at key moments, but overall to get a point when missing so many key players wasn't the worst outcome.

Sunday 13th October 2019
Kent Youth League Cup
Langton Giants 5 - 4 Metrogas (AET - FT 4-4)
James D, Tom A, Elliot, Owen, Simba
If we thought the County Cup game two weeks ago was a cup thriller, if anything this one topped it! A few major positives to start off, exciting new signing Tom A was making his debut, keeper James H was fit to make his first appearance of the season and we were able to welcome Noah back to help us out, as once again we found ourselves missing key players. Skipper Tom V was struck down the day before with a groin injury and Bertie had a school commitment which meant he was going to miss the start of the match and defensive colossus Jack was still struggling with his injury.
We started well enough, neither team dominating in the early exchanges but we were competing well, an early free kick from James D stinging the fingers of the Metrogas keeper. What became apparent early on was that Metrogas had a very dangerous striker who's movement was second to none and was proving to be a real handful. A counter attack caught us out and he finished it superbly well to give them a 1 nil lead. Thankfully we didn't have long to wait for a response, our own superb striker James D finishing unerringly well after being set free by Alf's incisive through ball to level. A couple of dangerous moments followed, James H denying their striker 1v1 and then athletically parrying away a volley from the resulting corner, he's back! Elliot flicked the ball on to James D after some fantastic work down the right hand side by Ollie but this time the effort just went past the post. Jack's injury was proving too much and had to depart the game, a big blow, but Max and Owen were thankfully both helping themselves to excellent performances which lessened the impact. Noah reminded us all what we were missing with a faultless performance at full back, matched by the outstanding Ollie on the other side. Tom A entered the play to make his debut and was instantly involved, linking up well with his new team mates and looking at home, especially when he then rounded the keeper and finished superbly well from a tight angle to give us the lead having been played in by James D. Not a bad way to start your Giants career! 
The second half saw us come out the traps quickly as we dominated the match for the next 20 minutes, creating chance after chance. James D saw a lofted effort well saved and Brodie had a left foot effort saved after being set by Simba. Patrick was becoming more and more influential, his steady head and intelligent passing alongside the influential Brodie saw us running the midfield at this stage. We extended our lead when Alf set Elliot away with a first time pass that he finished with aplomb, chipping the keeper, before Brodie swung the perfect free kick for Owen to  head home to extend the lead further to 4-1. At this stage it appeared we were progressing to the next round of the cup, but then we had a mad 10 minutes where we conceded 3 goals out of nowhere as we tired, and suddenly it was 4-4. All credit to the boys, they somehow found the energy from somewhere to fight back, ending the game again as the dominant side but just couldn't find the winning goal. A penalty was sent over the bar and Patrick was inches away from winning it with practically the last kick of the game, but a draw at full time meant we still had 20 mins extra time to face. At this point, the sight of the sprightly and talented Bertie running round the pitch was a joy, some fresh legs to add to the tiring limbs was just what we needed. It was his pass that set James D away to deliver the perfect cross that Simba bravely got to just before the keeper to stab home what proved to be the winning goal. James H stood firm, making a couple of outstanding saves and the back four dug in as Metrogas, to their credit, fought for an equaliser but thankfully we had enough to see the game out and win the game 5-4.
Phew. Well done to all the boys for their efforts today, special mentoin for keeper James on his return, to Tom A on his debut and Noah for helping us out so well as such short notice, Let's hope we get a bit of luck with the draw for the next round!


Sunday 29th September 2019
Kent County Cup 1st Round
Langton Giants 4 - 3 Faversham Town
Luca, Jack, Owen, Elliot
Now that's a cup tie!
After a very difficult day last Sunday it was important the boys bounced back quickly, and whilst it wasn't quick enough to save us all from a nervous game, when it came it was impressive and exhilarating! With James H yet to recover from injury and Harry unavailable we had to go into this one without a recognised goalkeeper, so were all very grateful when Patrick agreed to step in to wear the gloves. The challenge got greater still when Bertie failed a pre-game fitness test and was ruled out, thankfully though we had Ethan available and Jack felt ready for some limited action. As is our way (irritatingly) we started slowly but not as bad as some weeks (certainly compared to last week!) and were generally untroubled, the most action Patrick being called upon to make in the opening exchanges was punching a cross, which he did very impressively. We were looking dangerous on the counter attack and when Luca delivered a sumptuous through ball, Alf was quickest to react, beating the keeper but seeing his shot cleared off the line by a covering defender. Simba cut in from the left and his ball broke for Luca to volley over the bar. Brodie and Tom were working like crazy in the middle of the pitch with Ollie and Elliot defending superbly well as well as pushing forward as full backs, a new interim role for Elliot which he performed brilliantly throughout. Max and Owen were winning most things in the air and on the ground and Jack was able to make an appearance too. We were caught in possession out wide, a quick pass and a thunderous strike gave Patrick no chance and we were behind, a very good goal to be fair. We fought back, Luca sending a free kick narrowly over after Alf was felled and then Luca again, this time seeing his shot from distance tipped onto the post by the Faversham goalkeeper. Then a disastrous few minutes, a couple of errors gifted them two goals and a three nil lead at the break, and left us with a mountain to climb.
This was it, a really key moment in our entire season. After what happened last week and now being in this position honest words were needed and given, the question was whether we would fold or fight back. We got the answer roughly 35 seconds into the second half. Alf and Ollie winning the ball which fell to Luca, who firstly showed a quick change of direction before slamming the ball into the back of the net from outside the box. 1-3 and you could sense the tied was turning. James D sprinted clear down the left, delivered a low cross that both Simba and Alf threw themselves forward to try and get something on, but neither could quite get the touch that would have brought a certain goal. At this stage it was all us, completely on the front foot and it felt like we had all the momentum. There was then an unpleasant incident which resulted in one of their players receiving a straight red card, which only gave us even more confidence, something we took advantage of, James D firing a hard shot that the keeper could only parry, Jack rifling home the rebound to cut the lead to 2-3. Forward we pushed, nearly breaking through time and time again. We won a corner, Luca swung it in to the back post where James D met it with his head, realising the angle was too tight to head for goal, he had the awareness to send it back across the six yard box where Owen brilliantly headed home the equaliser. We had 15 minutes left to win the cup tie and we pushed forward constantly looking for the breakthrough. The Faversham defence mostly stood firm against a barrage of attacks, Luca fed Simba 1v1 but the keeper saved well, Simba returned the favour but Luca's shot rose too high. A free kick was floated in the keeper saved the first shot but again it was a Giant who reacted quickest, Elliot this time, charging in and finishing from close range to win us the game!
So, any questions about character firmly answered, not for the first time either. Credit to Faversham Town who played very well and handled the disappointment and red card given against them very well. Another cup game next week too, what fun to be had! We;; done to the boys today, special mention for Patrick again for showing the courage and team ethos to play in goal and doing it so well.

Sunday 22nd September 2019

Ebbsfleet United 9 - 1 Langton
James D

A really, really bad day at the office. It started off badly when we conceded in the first minute. Then a breif respite as we held our own for 20 minutes or so until a couple of unforced errors took the game away from us and we never recovered.

Ebbsfleet are an outstanding team and took full advantage of a woefully under par performance from our boys...... the end.

How we respond to this performance and result will define our season.

Sunday 15th September 2019
Langton Giants 3 - 1 Whyteleafe
James D x3
Our second game of the season and our first home tie saw us welcome Whyteleafe on a hot and sunny afternoon. With Owen missing and Jack P not 100% we were a little light at the back but knew we were in good form and feeling confident. That confidence almost disappeared immediately when Whyteleafe broke and hit the inside of the post within the first 30 seconds, a major let off and another example of our worrying tendency to start matches slowly. It took us a little while to get going but once we did we started to look dangerous, especially on the counter attack where it became obvious that we had the pace to worry them, and the passing ability to take advantage. Ollie fed the ball inside to Tom to lay it into the path of Luca, he turned inside and set up James D perfectly who dispatched the ball past the keeper to give us a lead which was a little against the run of play at the time. Jack B's movement was causing the Whytleafe defence all sorts of problems, especially when Bertie would overlap him down the wing to cause double the nuisance and it was from one of these little bits of interplay that the next chance came. The ball was set back by Jack B to Brodie after Bertie created the space with his overlap, Brodie swung a cross to the back post which found Simba who saw his close range shot blocked. It's fair to say that Ollie has started the season like a boy possessed, he put in another exemplary performance today at right back and it was from his superb play that the second goal came, first of all winning the ball with a crunching tackle, skipping past another challenge before threading  the ball forward to Elliot who was able too cross so accurately that James D was able to volley home his second goal without breaking stride, a brilliant goal. Unfortunately Jack P's injury got the better of him and he had to depart the action, sadly the same thing happened to Patrick too, which when you then add in the absence of Owen, left us looking a little short...... literally. Therefore, perhaps it was no great surprise that we conceded a goal from a well delivered corner, but it was still disappointing as our organisation left a lot to be desired. We were inches away from reinstating the two goal cushion twice before the break, Alf being the unlucky one who managed to hit the post and the cross bar in the dying moments!
2-1 at half time and so many key defensive players missing meant we knew this was going to be a battle. In typical Giants style though they upped their game, with us utterly dominating the second period and could easily have run up a very healthy amount of goals, had it not been for an outstanding performance by the Whyteleafe keeper. Luca went close from distance before James D settled the nerves early in the half by completing his hatrick when finishing under the keeper from Brodie's excellent through ball from the halfway line played him in 1v1. Jack B showed quick feet and set Luca to strike from an angle, very well saved, Simba suffering the same fate with an effort from the other side of the box. Tom was filling it at centre back alongside Max, both of them putting almost faultless performances and allowing the midfield and full backs to push on, with Alf joining Brodie in the middle two, pulling the strings. Harry showed great awareness to come dashing from his goal on several occasions, and handled some difficult crosses which he made look easy. James D crossed from wide, Elliot just inches away from tapping in at the back post before Simba saw a thunderous strike brilliantly tipped over the bar from the edge of the box. James D headed two over from Ollie crosses and saw a shot superbly tipped round the post. Jack B saw a shot come back off the inside of the post after excellent work by Elliot and Alf brought another great stop with a firmly struck volley.

So despite no more goals being scored, the way we finished the game was very encouraging from an attacking sense, but most of the plaudits should go to the back 4 today who despite so many key players missing put in a very, very strong performance and one that bodes well for the long season ahead when absences are inevitable at times.

Sunday 8th September 2019
Hollands & Blair 1 - 4 Langton Giants
Elliot, Brodie, Bertie, Simba
So here we go again, the start of our 4th season in the Kent Youth League and a brand new opponent in Hollands & Blair who had been moved from the South division. After a very positive pre-season we were looking forward to getting started, albeit without keeper James H and defensive colossus Jack P, both missing out due to injury. We were pleased though that last years league top goalscorer James D was passed fit to play and we also welcomed new signing Jack B to make his competitive debut (after treating us to an outrageous goal from 40 yards in our last pre-season friendly!). Hollands & Blair usually play in a stadium so we were unfortunate not to get to today as they were having some work done, whilst the pitch we were playing on instead wasn't the best, small and quite bobbly. The game started at a very competitive pace, H&B pushing us back and we were required to stand firm, which we mostly did, the back four of Ollie, Owen, Max and Bertie looking solid in front of Harry in goal. The midfield duo of Patrick and Brodie were starting to make things tick and once we found our feet we were looking dangerous, Alf was having a big say in things, firstly going narrowly wide when lobbing the goalkeeper on the turn following good build up play between Jack B and Luca, before Alf then being denied in a 1v1 by the goalkeeper from Jack B's through ball. A long ball caught us napping momentarily but Harry was fast off his line to make a big save to keep the scores level before Luca went agonisingly wide at the far post after some superb interplay between Patrick, Jack B and Alf, the latter delivering an inch perfect cross to create the chance. Luca then swung in one of his trademark free kicks which was scrambled round the post by the goalkeepers face (ouch) before we finally made the breakthrough. Luca delivered another dangerous free kick, the keeper parried and James D was on it immediately, knocking the ball back over the keepers head for Elliot to smash home at the back post to give us a deserved lead. Harry was called upon to make a good save from a long range effort and Ollie was on the receiving end of an unintentional, but painful, elbow to the face which saw him leave the field looking like an extra from the latest Rocky film. Tom and Simba had joined the play and were immediately having an impact with their strength, strong running and intelligent passing. We felt that a second goal would settle any nerves so were relieved when it came, Brodie picking his spot from outside the box and bending one past the keeper to double our lead at half time. 
With no Jack P and now no Ollie we had to shuffle players about a bit, not least Alf who continued to have a big say in our attacking pay from the deeper position of right back. Owen, Max and for a short while Patrick were imperious in the two centre back positions, with the midfield working as hard as can be in front of them to push us up the pitch. Alf overlapped and swung in a great cross which Brodie headed wide before Simba bundled the ball home, only to have it disallowed because one of our players shouted "leave it" in the build up. Never seen that one before and it felt petty in the extreme. A few more chances came and went, Jack B from  distance, a Simba header and Luca being denied on the goal-line from point back range. A long bouncing ball caught the H&B defence out and James D was first to react, only to see his intelligent header bounce back off the post and to safety. Jack B cut in and had a shot from the corner of the box, the keeper spilled it into the path of Bertie who fired home our third goal. The fact our left back is scoring follow ups from close range deep into the second half tells you everything you need to know about work rate and effort. There were two goals scored in injury time, firstly an absolute worldy from H&B from distance and tight angle that gave Harry no chance before Simba got the goal he's been cruelly denied earlier in the game, when smashing home from close range from another Alf cross.
So a great start, a hugely impressive defensive performance and some great attacking moments on a difficult pitch. Important to enjoy the win, they're hard earned in this league, but also to recognise many more tougher challenges are to come.