Giants 2021 - 2022

Sunday 28th November 2021

Ashurst Wood 2 - 6 Langton Giants -
MYSFL Cup 1/2 Final
Bertie x2, James D, Conor, Alf, Simba

Squad: James H, Tom G, Patrick, Jack, Ollie, Tom A, Brodie, Alf, James D, Elliot, Simba, Conor, Bertie, McKinley

I
t seems very early in the season to be playing a semi-final but with the possibility of further postponements / cancellations of seasons still a threat, the league sensibly decided to progress the league cup as far along as possible to reduce the chances of those competitions not being completed.  After a run of consecutive home league games played on a perfect 4G pitch the boys have had to adapt to varying levels of pitch quality and this game was no different, this one had a slope going up and down as well as across and the wintery weather made it a challenge, something this set of boys tend to relish though. Ashurst were well organised, combative and had a threat going forward so a difficult game was expected and given. The first 35 minutes were quite even, both teams defending well and showing attacking intent. The highlight of those opening exchanges was undoubtedly a moment that brought gasps from those watching (and coaching). Ashurst attacked down their left and a powerful strike brought an excellent save from our keeper James H. The ball though fell at the feet of another Ashurst attacker 6 yards out with James stranded on the floor, or so we thought. As the ball was rocketing into the top corner from point blank range this right hand with a goalkeeper glove on it appeared from nowhere to tip it over the bar. It was an astonishing save, the type they'd cover and salivate over in the post-match coverage on MOTD and certainly one of the best I've seen in youth football. That was at 0-0 and it seemed to spring us into life as within minutes a sweeping move the length of the pitch saw Alf finish off a cross from McKinley only for the linesman to put his flag up to disappoint us. However, it wasn't long until the floodgates opened as we finished the half strongly, bagging three goals in those last 10 minutes of the half. First of all Bertie delivered the pass of the season, from his position at left back a through ball on the ground that arrowed through the midfield and past the lunging defender right into the path of James D to finish smartly into the bottom corner. We then scored from consecutive corners, firstly Conor powered home an excellent header from Elliot's delivery before somehow Bertie was allowed to volley home from the same spot from Brodie's delivery. In between those instances James D hit the post from distance as we really started to get on top.

Three nil at half time but we knew that had it not been for James H's save and a couple of poorly defended corners the score line could have looked very different and that this was a competitve game we needed to really focus on. The amount of defending central defenders Jack and Patrick were having to do was testament to the threat Ashurst Wood carried, with the latter having to deal with multiple 1v1 situations which he came out on top in every single time. Tom G won the ball high up the pitch, sped away from the left back and unselfishly pulled the ball back to Simba on the penalty spot to fire home to increase the lead. However the 4 goal advantage didn't last long, a superb strike from distance brought another outstanding save out of James H who somehow managed to tip it onto the crossbar with his finger-tips, only for the ball to drop down and hit him on the head and trickle over the line. So unlucky and undeserved considering the save! Worry not though, a great run and cross from James D set up Alf and he reinstated that cushion, but again Ashurst came back, James H making another great save from a low hard shot but the rebound being bundled home made the score 5-2. The game ended though with the goal of the game and so far, the goal of the season. Bertie picked the ball up just inside the attacking half and went on a weaving, mazy run down the left wing, beating 3 or 4 defenders before slotting home a brilliant finish across the keeper into the bottom corner..... think Lionel Messi as a left back and you get the picture, a truly stunning goal.

So the boys deservedly earn the right to defend the cup they won last year, hopefully this time round the world will be in a place where more people are allowed to attend. The likelihood is that will be our last ever competitive game as a team so could be the perfect way to sign off. Well done boys.


Sunday 21st November 2021

Lewes FC 1 - 3 Langton Giants -
MSYFL
James D, Simba, McKinley

Squad: James H, Ollie, Jack, Patrick, Bertie, Brodie, Tom A, Alf, McKinley, Simba, James D, Tom G, Elliot, Max

Today's away match saw us travel to Lewes FC to face the only other unbeaten team in the league fully expecting our toughest challenge to-date, and so it proved, with a very tight match that for a while threatened to see us drop our first points of the season. With a number of doubts regarding fitness this week it was a relief to see the return of Patrick, Alf, Simba and Max all feeling ready to give it a go. Sadly Max didn't last as a result of the hamstring issue he picked up last week reoccurring, we wish him a speedy recovery, as we do Conor who was at home in his sick bed. We started the game well, firmly on the front foot against a talented, physical and well organised opponent. Tom A let a rocket shot go from distance which left the frame of the goal shaking after the ball smacked it firmly in the middle of the cross bar from distance, a great strike and unlucky not to have given us a lead. We didn't have to wait too much longer though, Bertie delivering a throw in for Simba to flick on and into the path of James D who finished smartly into the bottom corner to open to the scoring. Ollie nearly scored a goal-of-the-season contender with an outrageous volley with his left foot from distance but it was well saved. James D was causing the left back of Lewes all sorts of headaches and when he beat him for the umpteenth time and pulled the ball back, Simba fired the ball home from close range at the second attempt after his first was blocked. Although we were now 2-0 up it was obvious that this wasn't like previous weeks, that Lewes were a threat and we were going to have to fight and scrap for everything. This became more obvious as the half went on as Lewes started to get on top and cause us problems. Their best chances included a header off the bar from close range, an effort over the bar when it looked easier to score and when a mix up at the back looked like they had an open goal to score in only for keeper James H to make a fantastic last ditch tackle/save with his out stretched foot to deny them a certain goal. We were still a threat at the other end though, Tom A stinging the goalkeepers hands from distance and James D was unlucky to see a shot hit the cross bar from a great strike from the edge of the box. 2-0 at half time but this was far from over, and the boys knew it.

The second half performance in terms of controlling a match was as good as we've had this season (given the opposition) and it needed to be. Ollie, Tom G, Jack, Patrick and Bertie were all in great form at the back which gave us a great base to build on, with Tom A and Brodie battling hard against the strong Lewes midfield. Brodie went closest to scoring in the early stages with a free kick that whistled inches over the bar but chances at either end were proving hard to create from open play. We conceded a free kick in a dangerous position, they swung in a great delivery and it was brilliantly headed into the bottom corner to cut our lead to 2-1 and make things very tense. The match report gets a little sketchy at this stage as I was required to step into referee the last 25 minutes of the match when the ref pulled his calf muscle, poor fella! It was actually great insight for me as a coach to be in the middle, the physicality and intensity of the contest far greater than you realise being on the side-lines. Huge amount of credit to both teams as they dealt with the less than ideal situation with great maturity and didn't give me any stick at all (at least not loud enough for me to hear!). Brodie had a shot saved after being set up by Elliot, who's trickery in the box was a constant feature of the match and both James D and McKinley went close. With just less than 10 minutes to go though McKinley settled our nerves when his great performance got the goal it deserved, firing home into the roof of the net from near the penalty spot to secure all three points.

A really good game of football, highly competitive and felt like a hard earned victory. We have two more games league against Lewes still this season, one's not to be missed!

Sunday 14th November 2021

Withdean Youth 1 - 5 Langton Giants  
McKinley x2, James D, Bertie, Elliot

Squad: James H, Tom G, Jack, Max, Bertie, Brodie, Tom A, Alf, McKinley, James D, Elliot, Ollie, Simba

It has taken to the middle of November but finally we had our first away trip of the season, down to Brighton to face Withdean Youth. With Patrick and Conor unavailable and Simba still struggling with an ankle injury we were a little light on a pitch with a huge slope and heavy underfoot. Skipper Jack won the toss an sensibly elected to play up the hill first half. That first period was far from vintage Giants as the boys struggled to find their feet (literally and figuratively) and Withdean were defending well. Thankfully we did get quite an early breakthrough though when Tom A found James D on the edge of the box to slam home a powerful striker into the roof of the net, a brilliant strike. He almost topped that a few minutes later when Bertie swung in a great cross that James D met perfectly on the volley first time but back off the crossbar. After that though we struggled, not really creating any clear chances for the rest of the half as the slope, boggy pitch and dogged opposition started to cause us problems. Withdean played two strong players up top and they were proving troublesome with some direct deliveries from deep down the hill. Thankfully James H was in fine form, pulling off three superb saves  when facing 1v1 challenges. The third of which was the pick of the bunch, an outstanding save which Max then followed up to clear, only to tweak his hamstring as he did so, ending his match prematurely.

It was obvious that this was a potential banana skin for us, 1 nil up, dodgy pitch, only one central defender and our keeper being the standout performer in the first half, we needed to step things up second half, and so the boys did. One of the stand out features of our games this season has been the link up play between Bertie and McKinley down the left had side, and yesterday was no different. They interchanges 1-2 passes, with Alf contributing a touch along the way too before Mckinley's powerful drive was too strong for the keepers hands and doubled our lead. Bertie himself then added to our lead with a firm low drive from outside the box into the bottom corner before Ollie delivered a delicious cross to the back post which McKinley controlled perfectly with his first touch and then fired superbly into the top corner with his second. Withdean then got one back on the counter attack, it looked like the ball was kicked out of keeper James' hands but not awarded, so this made the score 4-1. To be fair to Withdean, they deserved a goal after their first half performance. Elliot rounded off the scoring with a low finish under the goalkeeper in the closing minutes.

So banana skin avoided on this occasion, but a reminder that away games on difficult pitches are going to become more regular over the next couple of months and we need to be at our strongest to continue to succeed.

Sunday 7th November 2021

Langton Giants 14 - 0 Southwater Royals
- MSYFL
Jack M x 5, Tom A x 3, Alf x2, Jack P, Bertie, Tom G, Max

Squad: James H, Ollie, Max, Jack P, Bertie, Conor, Tom A, Alf, Tom G, Jack M, Elliot, Brodie

Another Sunday, another home game, another win and how! Shorn of the attacking talents of James D, Simba and McKinley as well as defensive lynchpin Patrick we had only 11 Giants available and a serious lack of forward players. Fortunately we've protected ourselves from such issues by registering a few back-up/part time players and one of them was able to help us out today, and help he did, debutant James M scoring 5 quality goals! It was he who got us up and running after an initially cagey 10 minutes, Alf sending him through but it required a clever finish from a tight angle to beat the keeper. Jack P kept up his own fine goal scoring form when scoring with another header from an Elliot corner to double the lead. Alf saw a well struck free kick tipped over the bar before Tom G scored perhaps the most amusing goal of the season. 1v1 with the keeper from Elliot's through ball, Tom unfortunately tripped over, the keeper though spilt the ball back to Tom on the floor who managed to get up and poke it home to make it three. Tom G then turned provider, finding Jack M for his second before Ollie went on a brilliant overlapping run, pulled the ball back for Jack M to strike, the keeper making a fine save but Alf was on hand to slot home smartly with his left foot. Brodie hit the post in the dying seconds of the half to leave the score 5 nil at half-time.

The second half started much the same, both Tom A and Conor hitting the post in the opening exchanges before Conor slipped a great ball through the defence for speedy Jack M to chase and finish smartly. Bertie fired home from Elliot's assist before Jack M again got on the scoresheet, this time from a clever pass from Tom A. Ollie then found Tom A to slot home from close range before Jack M scored his 5th and final goal of the contest.Tom A then scored another from close range before Alf did likewise. Max was felled in the area and absolutely hammered the resulting spot kick into the roof of the net before Tom A showed brilliant footwork to create the space for him to secure his hatrick and get our final goal of the game.

A stunning performance from all the players, it was unfortunate for Southwater as they saw their strong central defender limp off just before half time, but they also came up against a Giants team who were on fire today, securing their biggest ever victory in the process and sending them to the top of the league.

Sunday 31st October 2021

Langton Giants 7 - 1 Roffey -
MYSFL Cup 1/4 Final
James D x3, Elliot x2, Alf, McKinley

Squad: James H, Ollie, Jack, Patrick, Bertie, Brodie, Tom A, Elliot, Alf, McKinley, James D, Tom G

A second game in a few weeks v Roffey after our reent league game, this one being in the Cup and a very similar outcome. With Max away and last minute illness for Conor and injury for Simba we found ourselves with only 12 players available this week but fitness levels are now at a point where any of the boys can handle the full 90 minutes without too much difficuly. A faster start this week, James D opening the scoring with a controlled finish after Bertie had played him in with a sublime through ball. Ollie was tripped, Elliot swept the free-kick onto Tom A's head which went narrowly wide. Bertie was the creater for our second goal too, cutting the ball back for Alf to sweep home into the corner from around the penalty spot. At this stage we were coasting and perhaps too relaxed, an uncharacteristic mistake at the back resulted in Roffey being correctly awarded a penalty which they duly dispatched to cut the lead in half. These appeared to wake us up though as the last 10 minutes of the half saw us create chance after chance. Many were thwarted by good saves or failed to find the target, but two were taken, the first was a Brodie corner which McKinley helped on it's way into the net at the near post, the second was also James D's second, fired home into the roof of the net from McKinley's pull back, leaving the half time score at 4-1.

That soon became 5-1 in the second half when Roffey made the mistake of giving the ball straight to Elliot on the edge of the box and he fired home low into the corner with his right foot, before he added anoher when Alf delivered a great ball to the back post for him to stab home from close range. James D smashed one against the cross bar from anothe great Bertie feed. Clearly Bertie was having an excellent attacking game and was unlucky not to score himself on several occaisions, none more so that when he saw the keeper scramble his effort off the line, but James D was on hand to stab home the rebound to complete the scoring and his hatrick.

So into the semi-final we go, keen as ever to get back to the final this season when hopefully a fuller crowd will be allowed to attend!

Sunday 17th October 2021

Langton Giants 4 - 1 Patcham United
 - MYSFL
Jack x2, James D, Alf

Squad: James H, Tom G, Patrick, Jack, Ollie, Tom A, Brodie, Alf, McKinley, Elliot, Simba, Conor, Max, James D, Bertie

A new opponent for the Giants today, and a good one, Patcham United who showed great energy, organisation and flair to make sure we had to earn the three points the hard way. The squad was given a boost by the return of flying full back Bertie for his first match of the season and it was like he hadn't missed a beat, reminding us all what a threat he is going forward and how commanding he is as a defender. It is fair to say that this wasn't our best start to a match though as we struggled to get on the front foot in the opening exchanges. Our passing was uncharacteristically sloppy and some of our decision making not the best. In contrast though Patcham started well, persistenly winning the ball back and then attacking in a direct style which caused us a few scary moments at the back. The first two clear cut chances came the way of our opponents, a ball over the top caught our back line out so we were grateful for a great save from keeper James when closing down their striker 1v1 and then to Ollie for clearing a goalbound effort off the line to keep us level. As the half progressed we started to develop our own attacking threat, none more so than when Elliot cut in on his left foot, beat 3 or 4 defenders before unleashing a powerful effort that came crashing back off the face of the crossbar. Moments later, McKinely was equally as unlucky with a spectacular volley from the edge of the box which also came back off the woodwork. James D spun on the penalty spot but saw his low effort superbly saved by the big Patcham goalie. When Simba broke through and rounded the keeper only for his shot to hit the post and McKinley's follow up go over the bar, we were beginning to think this was going to be one of those days, so there was a great sense of relief when Jack powered home a header from an excellent Elliot corner to give us the lead with the last touch of the first half.

The second half saw us much more in command, better defending from the front to cut off the supply of balls over the top meant our defence were coming under less pressure, a pressure it has to be said they dealt with brilliantly in the first half, and better, quicker passing started to tire our opponents and create the space needed for more opportunities. Elliot saw a shot well saved after some good build up play from Brodie and Tom G before James D doubled our lead with an unerring low finish from an angle after being released by Alf's incisive pass. Simba was felled to win us a free kick just outside the box, an effort from Alf was spilled by the keeper and Jack was first on hand to stab home the rebound to get his second of the match. Simba was then felled again, this time by a very naughty challenge that unfortunately left him unable to continue. Many more chances were now being created, Bertie going close on a couple of occasions, Patrick nearly finishing off a flicked header from Tom A and Conor seeing an effort saved from distance, before Alf wrapped up our scoring for the afternoon with a tidy finish to Elliot's cross. With the last play of the match Patcham got themselves a deserved consolation goal thanks to a great header from a quality cross.

A very difficult but pleasant opponent, an away game to look forward to when for the return later in the season.

Sunday 11th October 2021

Langton Giants 7 - 0 Roffey
- MSYFL 
Simba x2, Tom A, McKinley, James D, Jack

Squad: James H, Ollie, Max, Jack, Tom G, Brodie, Conor, Tom A, McKinley, James D, Simba, Elliot, Alf, Patrick

After a frustrating and disjointed start to the season in terms of fixtures, the boys finally got to take to the pitch to play a league fixture against a team that had given us a real scare in the Cup Semi-Final last season. Today was a very different experience though as the Giants dominated the match throughout. For all the domination the first goal took some time to arrive as Roffey defended well and we were unable to find a cutting edge, with a few half chances going begging but nothing clear cut in the first half an hour. The breakthrough came thanks to a well delivered corner from Elliot which was met with a well timed and firm downward header from skipper Jack into the back of the net. This opened the floodgates as the Giants were able to add a further three goals before half time. Elliot was the provider again with a pass across the box to McKinley who showed great composure to finish neatly into the far corner with a controlled finish with his weaker foot, his first goal for the Giants and a well deserved one given his outstanding performances since joining us. This was soon followed by an own goal, Elliot skipping passed a couple of defenders only to see his shot saved but then rebound into the net off an unfortunate defender. Elliot has only recently recovered from the effects of Covid and Roffey will have wished he'd held back another week when it was him again causing the chaos that led to the penalty which gave us our 4th goal. After skipping past one defender, he rounded the keeper and fired goalbound with an effort which stung the palms of the player who saved it, mostly because as a defender he didn't have any gloves on! A nailed on penalty and one that Tom A dispatched firmly into the roof of the net.

The second half saw continued Giants pressure and possession, with the defence of Jack, Max, Patrick, Tom G and Ollie in complete command of any threats. James H in goal had very little to do but did treat us to an outragious chest control to beat a pressuring forward which was one of the highlights of the match. Tom A, Conor, Brodie and Alf were dictating the play in midfiled with the forwards of McKinley, Elliot, James D and Simba all looking dangerous. James D jumped onto a pull back from Simba for our 5th before Simba himself grabbed the final two goals with almost identical finishes to wrap up the scoring.

Friday 24th September 2021

Sevenoaks Town 2 - 0 Langton Giants
- Kent County Cup - 1st Round

Squad: Ben, Max, Patrick, Jack, McKinley, Conor, Tom A, Brodie, Alf, James D, Simba, Elliot

When we decided to enter the County cup we knew that we stood the chance of being drawn against an exceptional side, as so it proved with us being against the club who had teams finish 1st and 2nd in the Kent Youth League Premier Division last season. To add to the challenge, we were once again decimated by injury and illness, meaning we had 11 fit players and Elliot the lone sub, who whilst an outstanding footballer, his powers have been temporarily subdued by a slow recovery from Covid. It was great to see him back on the pitch though and it won't be long until he's ripping defences apart, and for him to put all the energy he had in to helping the team in this game spoke volumes for his character. In fact, character was the word of the night, as every single one of them showed it in abundance. Several players playing out of position, nobody complained, just got on with the job at hand, and how. It is fair to say we gave Sevenoaks Town one hell of a fright in the first half, they had the lions share of possession but we were the more incisive team, creating a number of great chances, we could have gone in 3 goals up had we taken our chances. James D was in great form, causing havoc with his pace in attack and working hard in recovering to help the defence too, he saw two well struck shots go narrowly wide. Alf's runs from deep were also eye catching and he had two good chances from close range, one over the bar and another well saved. At the other end our defence were magnificent, Max, Jack, Patrick and Mckinley were all outstanding throughout, winning every battle, and in goal loanee Ben was superb, dominating his area and showing great distribution as well as smart saves. The midfield of Alf, Brodie, Tom A and Conor were far more creative than their opposition and transitioned the ball quickly and smartly to creative those chances. 0-0 at half time felt harsh.

The second half saw us tire a bit, somewhat understandably. SImba though was continuing to lead the line brilliantly and was unlucky not to break through on a few occaisions and shot over the bar twice after good runs. Sevenoaks though had 5 subs and the fresh legs were beginning to have an impact as we were having to defend a lot of attacks and set pieces, something we did incredibly well. With just over 10 minutes to go though the ball fell kindly in our box and it was tucked away to give Sevenoaks a lead. We pushed forward seeking an equaliser, James D going closest with a shot low into the corner which was brilliantly saved, just before he came off worse in a challenge with the goalkeeper at pace and had to be carried off the pitch. We wish him a speedy recovery. In the closing moments Sevenoaks were awarded a penalty which was well dispatched to end the game 2 nil. 

The Sevenoaks coaches were very generous in their feedback of our performance, recognising we had been unlucy to get nothing from the game. We felt the same, but also extremely proud of the performance. Good luck to Sevenoaks, they're a class act and have a great set up, I hope they go on an win it. For us, it was a timely reminder of the quality we have in this squad, hopefully we will have a few more fit players soon to make it show even more!


Sunday 12th September 2021

Langton Giants 9 - 0 Hurstpierpoint - MYSFL Cup - 1st Round
James D x 4, Simba x3, Tom G, Tom A

Squad: James H, Max, Patrick, Jack, Tom G, Conor, Tom A, Alf, McKinley, James D, Simba, Ollie, Brodie

Our final ever season got underway today, a week later than expected due to Covid issues, but it was worth waiting for as the boys put on a mesmerising display of football that belied the disrupted nature of the pre-season. With this being the first round of the cup that we won last season we were keen to get a win, and things got off to the perfect start, with a fantastic team goal scored in the first minute. Played out from the back the ball transitioned through the midfield, Conor fed McKinley on the left who instantly delivered the perfect ball for James D to stab home and get us up and running. Alf set James D for his and the teams second, this one a brilliant looping effort over the keepers head into the roof of the net from the edge of the box. Alf then was creater again, but Ollie's well struck shot was tipped onto the cross bar superbly by the oppositions keeper. Two nil at half time.

The boys really stepped it up in the second half, McKinley went on one of his many powerful runs down the left wing and again found the perfect ball, this time for Tom G to crash home at the back post. Simba hit the cross bar from Tom G's cross but didn't have to wait long to get amongst the goals, scoring twice a few minutes apart, both following great build up play involving Alf, Max and Tom A to take the score to 5-0. The defence, mostly Ollie, Jack, Patrick and Max were in complete control whenever Hurstpierpoint threatened, with James H having very little involvement in terms of shot-stopping but actively involved with his feet through out. Patrick strode out from defence, carried the ball through the midfield and fed the perfect ball into the path of James D to finish neatly and secure his hatrick. Tom G was denied by an outstanding save before James D grabbed his 4th and the teams 7th thanks to an Ollie assist once Conor had won the ball and found him with a great through ball. Tom A was felled by the keeper, picked himself up and slammed the resulting penalty into the top corner (yes, we really did score a penalty) before Simba got on the end of an Ollie cross to wrap up the scoring.

So a great start to the season, James D and Simba both securing hatricks but if we gave away man-of-the-match awards (we don't) it would have undoubtedly gone to McKinley who was outstanding all game long on his competetive debut for the team.