Giants 2021 - 2022

Wednesday 20th April 2022

Langton Giants 2 - 1 Southwater Royals -
MSYFL Cup Final 
Tom A, Elliot.

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

Where to start? For the second year in a row the Giants were heading to the cup final, returning to the place of their first ever 11 aside cup win 12 months ago. With parents, family and friends in attendance and formal presentations before and after the game, this year had much more of a cup final feel to it. The pitch however was nowhere near the standard you'd expect for a cup final which made passing and controlling the ball on the hard, dusty, bobbly surface extra difficult and not ideal for a team who's whole ethos is based on pass and move football. This didn't however stop the Giants from dominating possession throughout, with the very large majority of it being in the oppositions half. Southwater defended deeply and in numbers, and very effectively. Understandably there were signs of nerves too but in general a very solid start was made to the contest. Tom A fired over from the edge of the box, Jack doing likewise with a powerful header from Brodie's corner. Keeper James H was mostly having to deal with the ball to his feet on the bobbly service, something he did throughout with incredible calmness, but was called upon to make a very fine save when Southwater broke through on the counter attack to create their only shot of the half, coming out quickly and making himself big to close down the shot. More chances came, Alf had a shot from near the penalty spot that was well saved by the keepers legs, Conor had a powerful drive blocked after being set up by Simba and an Elliot free kick bounced awkwardly and hit the post. McKinley broke down the left, beat two players and pulled the ball back for Bertie to attack, the keeper though showing great bravery by diving at his feet to deny him from close range. Some good build up from the back, through midfield and into the opponents penalty box ended with a well struck right footed volley from Elliot which flew narrowly wide of the far post with the last effort of the half.

The half time team talk was straightforward enough, keep doing what you're doing, remain patient, keep your shape and believe in yourselves. They did and as a result the domination of the game only got stronger, it was only down to the herculean defensive efforts of the Southwater boys that we were unable to find a break through. Conor saw a low drive saved and then sent one over the bar after a quick short corner had caught the Southwater defence napping. McKinley caught a short sweetly with his right foot but again the ball went over the bar, before Tom A brought a brilliant save out of their keeper with a backwards header that he tipped over with his finger-tips after also being denied by the save of the night, Tom's thunderbolt strike somehow also being tipped over, a truly stunning save to be fair. We were putting more and more pressure on the Southwater defence, winning countless corners and free kicks that created so many nearly moments, one from Brodie being cleared off the line and another creating a good old fashioned goal mouth scramble that somehow ended up without the ball crossing the line. Football can be a cruel game sometimes, and with just 5 minutes to play Southwater broke into our half for the first time,  the ball appeared to all (including the 4th official) to have been volleyed off the pitch by a Southwater attacker but a throw in was awarded to them which they took quickly and suddenly we were in trouble, despite a  last ditch tackle from Jack the ball fell kindly to their striker who slotted it home at the near post to give them the lead. Disaster, or so we thought. A quick change in formation as we went for it with a new sense of desperation, putting yet more pressure on the opponent. The 4th official held up his board that said there was to be 6 minutes of injury time as a result of a number of delays to the second half, this gave us a boost. Another corner was won, Elliot swung it in and Tom A was able to crane his neck back far enough to nod home the equaliser at the back post to the great relief of everyone. Now we had a new momentum and still a few minutes left, we smelt victory so stayed with the new more attacking formation. Brodie broke down the right and was clattered by the Southwater left back not far from the corner of the penalty box. This was our time to go with it and seeing as they didn't leave anyone up the pitch we threw every outfield player into the box. Elliot swung it in beautifully, one of those where the keeper doesn't know whether to stick or twist and it flew over everyone's heads and into the back of the net.... pandemonium on the pitch, in the dug out and on the side-lines. A quick shift back to the 4 in defence and the final minute was seen out without any more dramas and that was it, CUP WINNERS!

A huge amount of respect and recognition must go to Southwater Royals, I don't think I've ever seen a youth team improve as much as they have in a single season before, and their outstanding efforts turned this into a thrilling cup final. A special mention must go to their keeper who was rightfully awarded the man-of-the-match award for his great performance. 

These boys though are something else, the maturity they showed throughout the match was first class, especially in those closing minutes. There was no panicking, just a belief that they could find a way, and they did. Double Winners isn't a bad way to end your youth football journey and they thoroughly deserved it.

Sunday 10th April 2022

Lewes 0 - 8 Langton Giants
Bertie x2, James D x2, Conor, Tom G, Alf, Patrick

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

In recent weeks the Giants early season scoring exploits had deserted them somewhat which had made for a run of tight games. Today we travelled to Lewes, who once all games are completed are most likely to finish second in the league so it was important the boys found that scoring touch again and boy did they. It was helped by a number of factors, Lewes don't put 11 men behind the ball being the main one, they come to play and take us on and as a result the first 35 mins were very much a two way match, with James H being called upon to make three very good saves with the score at 0-0. Secondly, this match was played on a brand new 4G pitch which suits our passing and transition game perfectly and thirdly, the return of creative spark Elliot from wrist surgery, a welcome return at that. The game changed in a 5 minute period towards the end of the first half. Jack was felled in the box after a free kick from Bertie wasn't cleared properly and a penalty was correctly awarded. Conor on duty this time to slot the spot kick home to give us a lead. Just minutes later this lead was doubled when Bertie stooped to head home Elliot's corner into the bottom corner before James D made it three with a powerful right footed volley from around the penalty spot that rifled into the roof of the net, a great strike.

That 5 minutes aside, the first half was pretty competitive. We ourselves had suffered a similar crazy 5 minutes a few weeks back but recovered to very nearly sneak a point against Welling and credit to Lewes who could easily at this point "parked the bus" and tried to keep the score down. They instead decided to carry on bringing the game to us which gave us the space to really put them to the sword as their players tired the longer the game went on. Simba went on a powerful run down the left wing, beating several players to get to the by-line from where he pulled the ball back to Alf who showed unbelievable awareness and selflessness to allow the ball to travel between his legs, fox the defence and leave Tom G wide open a yard or so behind the penalty spot. One touch to control, a second to beat the keeper with an excellent finish low into the corner. The 5th came when Brodie and Conor combined to set Alf free in the box who side footed the ball calmly past the despairing dive of the keeper and then Patrick headed home another Elliot corner to make it six.The referee added on quite a bit of injury time which felt hard on the Lewes boys who never gave in but were clearly suffering with tiredness by this stage and during those additional minutes we added two more goals, one more each for James D from Elliot's pull back and Bertie who was set free by McKinley's run and pass to slot past the keeper at the near post to complete the scoring.

Apart from the scoreline there were a couple of other very impressive elements to today's win. The clean sheet was a credit to James H and the back 4 who did an outstanding job of keeping their shape and discipline to deny many counter attack threats today. The other was the return of Elliot, although after 6 weeks out his fitness is a little off his usual high levels he contributed three assists and had it not been for a brilliant finger tip save that diverted the ball onto the crossbar he'd have had a goal too.

Sunday 27th March 2022

Roffey FC 1 - 1 Langton Giants

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

A horribly early start on Mother's Day, made even worse by the clocks going forward an hour, for another away day but this one laced with the anticipation that a point would secure us our first ever league title. With Elliot not ready yet to return and McKinley being absent due to illness we were a little light in the attacking positions, especially as both James D and Tom A were struggling with illness and injury too. The recent dry weather made the pitch quite bobbly and we were struggling in the early stages to get our passing game going properly and Roffey were well organised at the back, all this lead to it being difficult to find a way through. We had a few half chances but nothing clear cut. Brodie saw a shot whistle past the post, James D was undone by a bobble when in a good position and Alf saw a shot charged down. We were though doing a much better job defending against the counter attack. The game though changed thanks to a huge slice of luck for Roffey, the right winger miscuing his cross (probably as a result of a bobble) but the ball flew high into the air and nestled just under the cross bar to give them a lead despite never having had a sight on goal! These things happen though and there was plenty of time to make amends. It did however give Roffey something to hang on to and also cause a period of panic in our boys, we fell back into the trap of desperate play that really wasn't needed. 

At half time we reminded the boys that they were top of the league, that they just needed to go back to what had got them there, simple, quick passing and pressing the ball. What we got in the second half was a much improved performance but an even more dogged Roffey defence as they defended deeper and deeper and in greater numbers, often with 11 players behind the ball which made it very difficult to find space in and around the penalty area. By sheer hard work, better chances started to be created, but so many were blocked by dispairing lunges of defenders. Tom A saw two charged down and one saved from distance, Simba, Conor, Alf an James D suffering similar frustrations and a number of corners were somehow kept out. It was beginning to look like the goal just wasn't going to arrive, but in the 90th minute we earned one more corner. All 10 outfielders were in the box, joined by every Roffey player, Bertie delivered a dangerous ball which Brodie got his head onto first, then Jack and his was goal bound, we needed goal-line technology to decide whether that one went over the line or not (views seems split 50/50 on that one) but either way the referee didn't signal for a goal so we were all relieved when Conor stabbed the ball into the back of the net to remove any doubt. That's the second time in recent weeks a Bertie delivery has resulted in a Conor finish for a valuable goal. This one actually secured us the league title! CHAMPIONS!

Full credit to Roffey for an excellent defensive performance in this one, they are definitely one of the stronger teams in this division and a nice bunch of people too. It's clear to see that in recent weeks we haven't reached the attacking heights of earlier in the season, goals haven't been flowing in the same way they were before, but the league title is won over the entirely of the season, and to have won it by such a margin is an astonishing achievement of which the boys should be extremely proud. A cup final to come to try and complete the double, what a way to end that would be!

Sunday 20th March 2022

Welling United (Central) 4 - 3 Langton Giants
Tom G, Simba, James D

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

After another frustrating forfeited fixture the previous Sunday it was great to be able to arrange a match for the boys this week and even better for it to be a return to Welling United where we had enjoyed a great game of football three weeks ago, this time to play against their KYL Central team. It turned out to be another very enjoyable experience, albeit after a pretty challenging period! Things started well enough, the two teams were well matched and it was 50/50 for the opening 25 minutes or so, with neither team particularly getting on top or creating any clear cut opportunities. Then a crazy 5 minutes from a Giants perspective where everything went wrong. We lost our shape, we made individual mistakes and generally just dropped our level, which against an opposition of this standard is always likley to be punished, and we really were, conceding 3 goals in a very short period of time. The boys looked shell shocked and there was a fear this could turn into a pretty miserable experience. This fear grew stronger when 5 minutes later we conceded a 4th when we failed to recognise that Welling had made a sub ahead of a corner, he ran to the edge of the box and was totally open to receive the ball and shoot goalward, a shot that was flicked on and over James H. Four nil down away from home against a good KYL team would have been the trigger for many an 18 year old to give up, but these aren't just any 18 year olds. Rather than do that, they fought back, scoring 2 goals themselves before half time with almost identical efforts. On both occasions James D was sent clear down the left wing, he pulled the ball back for us to fire home. Tom G grabbing the first, Simba the second to leave the score at 4-2 at the half.

Much of the half time talk focused on our need to adapt our way of playing a bit to stop them from causing us the problems they did in the first half. This worked well as no more goals were conceded and indeed not many more chances either. We started the second half looking much more solid but continued to be an attacking threat. McKinley brought a great save out of the keeper but James D was on hand to smash home the rebound and cut the deficit to a single goal, 4-3 with still over half an hour to go. During that last 30 minutes we went close to grabbing an equaliser on several occasions, the number of "nearly" moments when players were sliding in to get the telling touch or the ball went just past the post it felt like it was only a matter of time, but credit to Welling as they defended well and kept possession of the ball impressively when coming under pressure, which meant they managed to keep us at bay.

So a disappointing 5 minutes aside, another very impressive performance against a good team and a reminder of the character and determination this exists in this team and the individuals within it.

Sunday 6th March 2022

Patcham United 2 - 1 Langton Giants
Tom G (Pen)

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

It was perhaps inevitable that this was going to happen as some point this season, a day when we weren't really at our best and an opposition that played very well, defended for their lives and had an outstanding performance from an exceptional goalkeeper. We travelled to a very nice new 3G pitch in Brighton for an early start against a team we'd beaten 4-1 earlier in the season but have since had some very contradictory results, beating some of the strongest teams in the division comfortably some weeks, then losing to the lower positioned teams heavily the next, so it was difficult to know what to expect. What we got was a team who were well organised, hardworking and able to provide a real attacking threat too. We dominated possession from the off but were struggling to create clear cut chances, with the best efforts being half chances from the edge of the box, with Conor, Brodie, McKinley, Alf and Tom G all having good shots saved or go narrowly wide. It was becoming obvious early on that it was going to take something special to beat this keeper, as we just couldn't find it. Patcham were a threat on the counter attack, they won the ball and pushed forward creating a 1v1 that keeper James H did brilliantly to come out and save to keep the score level. Then it looked for all the world that we'd score when Bertie smacked a powerful effort towards the top corner from 12 yards only for their keeper to somehow tip it over the bar. Bertie then jinked inside the full back and was tripped in the box, quite clearly (when the opposition apologises for kicking you in the shin it's a bit of a giveaway) but penalty appeals were waived away which meant the first half ended goal less. 

The second half continued in much the same way, us dominating possession in the Patcham half and the keeper dealing with any shots that did come his way, them defending very well and then looking to hit us on the counter attack. McKinley beat his man inside the box and was felled, this time the penalty was given. As we all know, the Giants history with penalties isn't exactly glowing with success and against this keeper it was far from a foregone conclusion it would be scored, but up stepped Tom G to slot home and give us a precious lead. In previous matches when we've struggled to get in front, once we have, that has tended to lead to further goals, but that wasn't to be the case today. We over committed forward too much considering we now had a lead, a pump forward and suddenly we were in trouble and indeed level. Understandably this gave Patcham great confidence and just a few moments later they repeated the trick, an almost identical goal giving them a 2-1 lead with 30 minutes to go. What followed was a frustrating period as for all our best efforts, Patcham's defensive shape and commitment was just proving too difficult to break down. Simba had to leave the action in the middle of the first half with a knee injury, and with Patcham defending so deeply we were really missing his ability to hold the ball up in the box to allow others to run off him. We had chances, Tom A breaking from midfield and shooting hard and low into the corner, the keeper dived and just got his fingers to it, Bertie though was on-hand to follow up with a powerful drive back into the other corner but somehow the keeper got off the floor quick enough to tip that one over the bar, incredible really. With not long left we won a free kick to the right of the box, Brodie fired it towards the top corner and again the keeper somehow got the very end of his finger tips to it and send it away for a corner. This corner created a headed chance from James D that was goal bound, again though, it was saved, and that was it, the game was gone.

Full credit must go to Patcham United for a well-deserved victory, they played superbly well and some of their results this season make no sense, based on this performance they're comfortably the best team we've faced in the league this season. We weren't at our best, it happens, we certainly didn't lack effort or attitude. This one result shouldn't diminish the astonishing season the boys are having, success is just around the corner.

Sunday 27th February 2022

Welling United (KYL North) 2 - 3 Langton Giants
James D, Alf, Simba

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

With no league game for the last few weeks and another Sunday off this week the boys were keen to have a friendly match and ideally against a KYL opponent, so we travelled the relatively short distance to Welling United, a well-established club in the football pyramid with a great set up. They also had a very nice pitch which was nice to see after a few challenging ones in recent weeks! With 4 players missing, three of which are defenders, we were more than a little short and players were required to adapt to some new roles. You never would have realised this as the performance the team put in was fantastic. A back four of Ollie, Jack, Tom A & Tom G were commanding throughout in front of James H, with Brodie, Conor and Alf running the game in the middle of the park, allowing the front three of McKinley, James D and Simba to push forward at any opportunity. The Welling back line simply couldn't cope with Simba's strength, him rolling the centre half and then closing in on goal, his effort landed at the back post where James D was on hand to fire home and give us an early lead. Further early success nearly came with both James D and Conor seeing efforts going narrowly wide and the Giants sought to press home their early sharp form, knowing that they were likely to suffer later in the game with no subs available. One thing you notice when you face a KYL team is the amount of time you get on the ball is significantly less than in the MSYFL and this caught us out, we took too long to clear our lines and gave away possession on the edge of our own box, the ball was switched, then pulled back for a Welling player to fire home a very impressive finish to equalise. This understandably gave the home side a boost of confidence and the boys needed to keep their shape for a few minutes to settle things down, something they did superbly well. Tom G won a big tackle at left back and drove forward, finding Conor who carried it towards the edge of the box before releasing James D down the right, His cross towards the penalty spot found a charging Alf to fire home an excellent strike to reinstate our lead. We were now mostly on top, controlling the ball and creating chances. Simba was continuing to terrify their back line and was able to do it one more time, fending off a couple of defenders and cutting inside onto his right foot to slam home an excellent goal and give us a 3-1 lead at half time. 

Things got a bit more uncomfortable in the second half when James D came over unwell and had to sit out. With no subs, this left us with having to play with 10. Despite this, we continued to be very competitive and actually create a number of chances, McKinley, Alf, Conor and Simba all had really good chances and efforts whilst at the other end the defence continued to perform at a very high level. There was a fear the missed chances might come back to haunt us, especially when the same Welling player smashed home another very impressive finish, but the boys saw the match through relatively comfortable in the end, such was their performance, although it did help when James D was able to return for the last 10 minutes as the boys were starting to flag by that stage. What an impressive performance and result, to go to a KYL team so short of numbers, play most the second half with 10 (a couple of who were struggling with injury) was a testament to the quality and effort the boys showed today.


Sunday 6th February 2022

Southwater Royals 2 - 3 Langton Giants - MSYFL
James D, Tom A, Conor

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

Missing a few players this week and heading off very early for a kick-off in the rain and on a very boggy pitch there was a sense of a banana-skin this week and it so very nearly proved to be the case. We'd had great success twice this season against Southwater, both at home, but in between times they'd enjoyed some very positive results, including a win and a draw against 2nd place Roffey as they're clearly improving. It was obvious from the off that this wasn't going to be a walk in the park as the Giants struggled to adapt to the spongy, heavy surface with passes not reaching their intended target, players slipping over constantly and heavy winds blowing right in our faces in the first half all led to a very challenging set of circumstances. This was added to significantly when a Southwater player fired home a very well struck free kick from distance to give them an early lead. They took the lead against us a few weeks ago but the feeling was always there that this was just a blip, a feeling which was proven accurate as we ran out 7-1 winners. It felt far from that this week though, we had a major fight on our hands. Thankfully James H was out quickly to make a big save when facing a 1v1 or the situation could have gotten worse before it got better. Possession was scrappy and shots were half chances, with McKinley, Brodie, James D, Simba, Conor and Bertie all having a pop but all were either off target or well saved. Finally, just before half time the equaliser came, Conor found Tom A with a great pass but his shot fired against the cross bar, thankfully James D was on hand to poke home the rebound like all good strikers should and we were level. Moments later Alf saw a brilliant effort superbly tipped over the cross bar before the half time whistle blew with the score at 1-1. 

The second half continued to be a struggle but we were creating more chances now, but found ourselves up against an inspired goalkeeper who made a string of outstanding saves, and a dogged determined backline of Southwater who were a throwing themselves in to countless tackles and blocks. Tom A followed up a saved shot and fired home but belatedly a linesman's flag was raised, the referee was as unconvinced by this decision as we were and went to discuss it with the linesman before the goal was indeed disallowed. Never mind, we carried on pushing for a second goal and it was Tom A again following in a saved effort, this time leaping higher than the goalkeeper to power a header home and no flag was raised this time so we had a precious lead. There was to be no sustained sense of relief though as a defensive miscommunication allowed the Southwater striker to break free on goal and finish smartly to see them equalise with less than 20 minutes to go. No need for panic stations but we certainly needed to step up the intensity and we did, with us peppering the Southwater goal for the remainder of the game, going frustratingly close on numerous occasions. Tom A somehow got a shot away despite being on the floor and with his back to goal but it was brilliantly saved, Jack (now playing as a winger) fired what looked like an unstoppable drive from 10 yards out that brought out another save, this one defied belief. James D hit the post from a tight angle and both Simba and Bertie saw 1v1 efforts saved in the dying minutes. It could have been worse though, Southwater smashing a shot against the cross bar from a well delivered corner! With 90 minutes played and only injury time remaining it looked for all the world like the Giants were going to drop their first points of the season. Jack's presence on the wing caused more chaos though and a Southwater player handled the ball under pressure, giving us a free kick from a dangerous position at the side of the box. Under great pressure to deliver quality, up stepped Bertie to do just that, swinging the perfect cross into the back post where Conor rose higher than everyone to nod home the winner and trigger a proper heartfelt celebration.

It's fair to say that despite the chances we missed and those saved, this still felt very harsh on Southwater to concede so late after putting in a magnificent performance for which they deserve an enormous amount of credit. Our boys also deserve a lot of praise though, finding a way to win when things aren't going to plan and in difficult conditions speaks volumes for their character. It also sets up the Cup final against Southwater perfectly, one to look forward to in late April.

Sunday 23rd January 2022

Withdean Youth 1 - 5 Langton Giants
Elliot x 2, Tom A, McKinley, Simba

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

For the second, and last, time this season we had the long trip to Brighton to visit Withdean and their infamous slope. To add to the challenge we arrived to discover a pitch without painted lines and the goals securely locked away with nobody having access to the keys. This meant a 30 minute delay to the kick-off but at least we did finally get underway, I was worried for a little while! Withdean started the game very aggressively, crunching into tackles, pressing the ball and genuinely showing impressive levels of commitment from a team who are having a very decent season. Up until today their only losses had been to us and a narrow 5-4 reverse to Lewes last week. We were "nearly" getting through early on but nearly never really turned into a clear cut chance, just a handful of half chances. With the score at 0-0 after 35 minutes it was beginning to look like we weren't going to take advantage of playing down the slope in the first half, something we knew we might regret. So it was a great relief when Elliot struck a sublime looping shoot over the head of the goalkeeper from well outside the box, a brilliant strike, to open the scoring. We had a number of corners and they were all causing problems. The latest was delivered expertly by Brodie to the edge of the six yard box, we heard a deep cry of "Tom's" before the aforementioned Tom A met the ball with the most thunderous of headers and dispatched it superbly into the roof of the net. Just before half time McKinley made it 3 with a wonderful goal, receiving the ball with his back to goal on the corner of the box, he turned his defender inside out and then fired home a stunning finish with his right foot past the despairing dive of the keeper.

Up the hill second half but with a good lead to build upon. If anything we kept the ball better this period as the ball was less likely to run away from us. James D burst through on the left and hit a powerful striker on target, the keeper could only parry it and Elliot was on hand to fire home his second of the match to take the score line to 4 nil. James D went agonisingly close to adding further to our lead when he well struck effort with his right foot cannoned off the post. Despite the added assistance of the slope now being in their attackers favour, our defensive unit of Bertie, Jack, Max, Tom G and Patrick were in complete control throughout and Withdean barely got within sight of James H in goal. Simba rounded off our scoring with a very smartly taken finish past the goalkeeper from around the penalty spot area before Withdean grabbed a consolation in the closing minutes thanks to a powerfully struck free kick.

Given the issues before the match, the slope, lack of lines and key players missing this was a very impressive performance. We face the same opposition next week but at home, best I go and check those lines are painted!

Sunday 16th January 2022

Langton Giants 7 - 1 Southwater Royals -
Elliot x2, Alf, Bertie, McKinley, Tom A, Conor

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

A second home game in a row and a second home game against Southwater Royals who had enjoyed a rich vein of form since our last meeting, including having knocked Lewes out of the cup and beaten Ashurst Wood 6-1 in the league, two strong teams. Today we "home" was Groombridge which was flat and in good nick, at least it was at the start of the game but the pitch cut up badly throughout the match and it was proving to be very slippy at points. We thought we'd scored out quickest ever goal, Simba slotting home within 10 seconds of the start only for it to be ruled out for an apparent foul on the goalkeeper.  It was obvious early on that Southwater were going to be a harder nut to crack than last time out on the 4G pitch at Bennett as they worked hard to take away the space and were quick to counter attack. It was from one of those counter attacks that we suffered a first this season, we went behind! A good ball down the left was well delivered into the box for an expert finish giving James H no chance in our goal gave Southwater the lead after about 10 minutes. Clearly this gave them a huge boost as they continued to close us down, break up our play and look to counter. It was proving difficult to get through to earn a good strike on goal, a combination of dogged defending, players slipping and errant passing was making it tough, with Alf having the only real chance at that time, pulling out a great lob that the keeper did brilliantly to save. Around the 30 minute mark though we found our way back into the game, a slick passing move in the middle of the pitch saw Conor break from midfield and find McKinley sprinting down the left wing, his accurate cross was met first time by Alf who dispatched it high into the roof of the net, an excellent goal. This gave us the momentum to continue to push forward as we dominated the final 15 minutes of the half, helping ourselves to another couple of goals. Firstly Bertie was on-hand to fire home from a tight angle after Tom A's initial effort was well saved, before McKinley cut back in on his right foot from the left wing and finished past the keeper into the bottom corner. 3-1 at half time.

The pitch continued to worsen but we were adapting better to it now, making more of a conscious move to receive the ball rather than waiting for it to arrive as we pinned Southwater back into their own half for most of the second half. Fair play to them though, they continued to defend well and blocked numerous efforts. Brodie saw a header go narrowly over, James D brought a good save from the keeper and Patrick was denied by a last ditch tackle after breaking from defence. Tom G showed great awareness when taking the ball out of the sky at the back post to set Elliot to score our fourth, before Tom A saw a penalty saved after Bertie was fouled in the box. Bertie then saw a cross-shot saved that fell to Elliot to grab his second, our fifth. Tom A then did get the goal his performance deserved when following up another saves shot before Conor completed the scoring by drilling home a shot from around the penalty spot when a corner was only half cleared.

That's now 10/10 in league games this season as we get to the half way point, a lot of football still to be played, but then it is all over so let's make the most of it while we can. It was pleasing today to see the boys able to recover from a difficult start and turn things around.

Sunday 9th January 2022

Langton Giants 3 - 1 Ashurst Wood -
James D, Simba, McKinley

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

Our first match of the new year and a bit of a rarity, all 15 players fit and available! The chance to finally get a squad photo for this season was taken before the match which as it turned out was the only chance taken for quite some time as this week's win was far from certain for much of the contest. A lot of credit for that goes to the excellent defensive organisation from Ashurst Wood, giving us very little space in which to operate even on the big Bennett pitch and defending resolutely throughout, and when we did get through we came up against a keeper in inspired form. The two banks of four sat deeply which meant we were restricted to long shots for much of the first half, none of which seriously threatened the Ashurst goal, several of which were blocked. The clearest chance of the half came from some superb interplay between Mckinley, Simba and Bertie which saw the latter burst through with just the keeper to beat from an angle, Bertie caught is powerfully and accurately but somehow the goalies "star fish" technique worked as his outstretched right hand tipped the ball past the post, an astonishing save. We were then reminded what a good goalkeeper we have on our side too just moments later when Ashurst Wood caught us out on the counter attack, James H pulling off a brilliant save with his right foot to deny our opposition the opening goal. That's twice he's done that this season against this opponent at 0-0, the score line staying that way until half time, making this the first match of the season we've failed to score in a half.

Not much changed in the second half either, Ashurst Wood continued to defend deeply and although a few half chances came and went we weren't really getting through them on a regular basis, however much we were dominating possession. James D pressure the goal keeper and the ball broke free which allowed him to hit a snap shot from wide outside the box that was struck the post, a fantastic effort from such an angle. Moments later an Elliot volley was well save and then Simba's follow up hit the post, we were beginning to wonder if the goal was ever going to come. Thankfully though, James D repeated the trick, again pressuring the goalkeeper at the edge of the box, causing him to spill the ball and this time the angle was kinder and James was able to slot the ball home into the bottom corner to finally open the scoring with a neat finish from the edge of the box. Ollie then came very close to adding his name to the goal-of-the-season shortlist, some brilliant build up play between him, Alf and Elliot saw him striker the ball purely from 30 yards only for it to cannon back off the cross bar, so unlucky. Although Ashurst Wood defended in numbers and deeply they always kept two players up front which meant they always carried a threat, and so it proved when they counter attacked down the right wing, pulled the ball back towards the back of the box and their striker fired home a sweetly struck equaliser. We tried to fire back immediately but were denied time and time again by blocks, saves and inaccurate finishing. With 15 minutes to go and the score still at 1-1 something needed to change. That came in the switch in formation, reverting to a 3-5-2 to help us get more bodies in the box and it worked almost immediately, McKinley bursting down the left from his new position as left wing back and crossing into the 6 yard box for Simba to stab home from close range an reinstate our lead. The sense of relief was palpable but there was still 10 minutes to play and Ashurst weren't about to give up. Thankfully though our defensive trio at this stage of Jack, Patrick and Bertie denied them any look at James H's goal. McKinley was revelling in his win back role and cut inside, switched back to his left foot and finished with a superb strike from distance into the bottom corner to calm any remaining nerves, the points were secure.

A cracking game of football, credit again to Ashurst Wood for their performance and indeed to our boys for finding a way to win when things aren't going smoothly to plan.

Sunday 19th December 2021

Roffey FC 0 - 4 Langton Giants -
Simba x2, Conor, Tom A

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

The last match of 2021 saw us travel through thick fog to Roffey FC for an early start against a team we'd already faced twice this season (one was in the cup) but for the first time away. The pitch was pretty good, nice and flat albeit a bit sticky in places but we've certainly played on a lot worse. Roffey came out determined to make life as difficult as possible for us and were able to keep our attackers at arm's length in the opening exchanges with no clear cut opportunities in the opening exchanges despite the dominance of possession. A few half chances were starting to come but the Roffey goalkeeper dealt with them well and a few others were off target. Conor soon changed all that though with a brilliant strike off a bouncing ball, volleying into the net from the edge of the box past the outstretched hand of Roffey keeper to open the scoring. We've been very effective this season from corners, both defending them and scoring from them. This time it wa Simba's turn to convert, stabbing home Elliot's fine delivery at the back post to double our lead. At the other end of the pitch, Jack, Max, Tom G, Bertie and Ollie were in total command, leaving James H with very little to do in goal with his hands, albeit his distribution was exceptional all game. He was called upon to intercept a dangerous cross which he did with the minimum of fuss before setting us away on another attack. Ollie went on one of his trademark runs, showing pace and skill to beat the left back before feeding Alf who had the awareness to pull the ball back for Simba to fire home his second, and our third, of the first half.

Three nil down at half time against a team who'd already put 7 past them twice this season and no subs to call upon, it would have been easy for Roffey to roll over in the second half, but it is to their great credit that they didn't. They came out with great energy to start the half and were much more competitive as a result, pressing the ball more, blocking shots, looking to counter attack. The Roffey keeper was having a good game, after making several very good saves in the first half he continued this after the break, saving a very powerful strike from Tom G, two from Brodie and one James D. Our profligacy in front of goal meant that the only addition to the scoreline in the the second half came from the head of Tom A, a good habit that he's getting into here, when Brodie's free kick wasn't cleared, Tom was on hand to head home from close range. 

This result leaves the Giants sitting pretty at the top of the 1st Division with an 11 point advantage, but more importantly having played some fantastic football over the last 4 months to put them there. Keep it up boys, you deserve a reward at the end of this season

Sunday 5th December 2021

Hurstpierpoint 1 - 9 Langton Giants -
James D x2, Tom A x2, Elliot x2, Tom G, Alf, Brodie

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

Another away game, quite a trek for this one too for an early start, although it was pleasing to see how much better the weather was in Brighton that it was in Tunbridge Wells. It was also good to arrive to a very decent pitch compared to the previous week. With neither skipper Jack or Max available we were a little short at the centre back position to always adaptable Tom A stepped into the breach and not only put in a fautless defensive performance but also nabbeed 2 goals to his name, with Bertie stepping in to captain the side. Over the last couple of seasons Tom G has been unfortunate on numerous occasions with rocket shots from distance that have come back off the crossbar, so it was great to see his effort in the early stages of this match fly ferociously into the roof of the net to get us up and running, a stunning strike. The second wasn't far behind, neat footwork allowed Brodie to cut back onto his right foot on the edge of the box from where he finished smartly into the bottom corner before Alf made it three from around the penalty spot after Ollie pulled the ball back into his path following one of his trademark overlapping runs down the right wing. Hurstpierpoint were really working hard and scored a brilliant goal of their own with an excellent strike from the edge of the box to reduce the deficit to 3-1, but any fear of a comeback was extinguished when Tom A got on the end of Brodie's corner with a firm header to reinstate our 3 goal cushion just before half time.

The second half continued in the same way, Giants dominating possession in the Hurstpierpoint half as they defended doggedly to try and keep us at bay. Conor hit the target with a free kick that was saved but Elliot was fastest to react to poke home before he repeated the trick from a spilt Brodie corner. A great example of following-up chances, Elliot grabbing himself a brace in the process! James D was very lively and unlucky to see an effort from distance hit the bar before scoring one from the edge of the box and then later a strike right into the top corner from a long way out, in between these two Tom A had grabbed his second, another one prodded home from a Brodie corner.

The boys really did play some superb football today, the movement of the ball and players was exceptional at times and just too much for our opponents to cope with. Fair play to them though, they didn't give up and have a great set up down there.

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

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 -
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
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
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
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.