Giants rise above the stars in Norbury Park

Rising Stars v. Giants

2 - 3

Saturday 16th February 2019

The Giants got back to winning ways with victory in a friendly against the Rising Stars in Norbury Park. After last weekend's disappointment is was a welcome tonic for the fans and reward for the long trip across south London.

The Rising Stars had beaten the Giants in a Bushy Park friendly in October but with a stronger squad today anything but victory for the Giants would have been an injustice in a game that the boys dominated. The home side had some skilful players and as with last Autumn's match the Stars attempted to dribble their way through the Giants rearguard, but Eli in the first half and Julius in the second presented a commanding presence that repelled their opponents runs.

The Giants pressed well and were firm in the tackle restricting their opponents offensive play and but for a short spell in the second quarter were in firm control. Having taken the lead through a poachers finish from Noah in the first quarter, the Giants found themselves 2-1 down at half time but stirred themselves in the second, to win the match 3-2 courtesy of another close finish from Noah and a nice strike from Seb, which capped a slick passing move.

The stats showed the boys dominance and it was a surprise that there were not more goals in an entertaining clash. Manager Dan brought his new tactics board to the game and will have been pleased with the boys’ spirit, determination and team play.

The stats from today's match:

Shots: Giants 27; Stars 7

Shots on target: Giants 13; Stars 6

Corners: Giants 8; Stars 1

Tackles won: Giants 26; Stars 15

Free kicks: Giants 4; Stars 2

 

Team: Charlie, Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Noah, Seb, Zai

Goalscorers: Noah (2), Seb

Man of the match: Noah

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants blown away by ESPA

ESPA Junior Titans v. Giants

5 - 1

Saturday 9th February 2019

In a fixture anomaly the Giants were matched against the ESPA Titans for a second game in a row. Two weeks ago the boys had put in their best performance of the season to defeat their opponents on the Astroturf in Walton but on this occasion the Giants were outplayed by an ESPA Titans team seeking revenge for their cup defeat. The boys put in a disjointed display in chilly conditions with the wind whistling across the exposed ground.

The Giants played into the wind in the first half giving the home side a clear advantage. The game was evenly matched in the first quarter with the Titans going ahead with support from the breeze, which assisted an own goal. The game was lost in the second quarter when the Titans scored two more without reply. The Giants were less motivated than their opponents, lacked structure and failed to pass effectively. Although they made, and won, many more tackles than their opponents they were ineffective when they had the ball and the Titans capitalised to dominate the half.

The second half started well with the Giants pulling a goal back courtesy of Josh, and playing with the wind, the boys posed a much greater goal threat. For a few brief minutes the Giants supporters started to believe that a comeback was on. This hope was dashed by two further goals for the Titans with the Giants defence overcommitted to attack.

Whilst the Giants had plenty of the ball in the last quarter, they were unable to add any goals to improve the disappointing scoreline.

The stats would seem to suggest an even game, and in fact the Giants had seven shots in the last quarter with five of these on target, but it was a day to forget for the boys. Tellingly in the whole match the team were unable to string more than three passes in a row together. Plenty for the management team to work on in training.

The Stats from today:

Shots: Giants 15; Titans 18

Shots on target: Giants 7; Titans 8

Corners: Giants 4; Titans 3

Tackles won: Giants 16; Titans 11

Free kicks: Giants 2; Titans 1

 

Team: Charlie, Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Seb, Tom

Goalscorer: Josh

Man of the match: Not awarded

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants advance to the semi’s after titanic display

ESPA Junior Titans v. Giants

2 - 5

Saturday 26th January 2019

The Giants are through to the last four in the cup after a thoroughly deserved quarter-final victory over the ESPA Junior Titans on the Astroturf in Walton. The boys rose to the occasion to put in their best performance of the season in a thoroughly entertaining and competitive game. The Giants played with a tenacity and exuberance that allowed them to overcome the setback of falling behind to a strong Titans side to overpower their opponents.

Manager Dan had a near full squad to play with and his selections helped to ensure that all the boys contributed to an excellent team display. Dan rotated the team playing to the boys strengths with Seb and Eli provided a formidable backline, Tom, Zai, Julius and Noah taking turns in midfield to deliver a mix of grit and creative endeavour and Charlie and Josh providing attacking threat up front. Jake, Julius, Seb and Noah took turns in goal with great saves from Julius and Noah crucial to the result. It was however Jake’s masterful display in midfield that provided the platform for the victory. His reading of the game, energy and tackling provided protection for the backline and his penetrating runs allowed the team to quickly turn defence to attack.

The boys knew they were in for a tough match from the off. The Titans are an organised side and pressed the Giants back straight from the kick off. They were immediately on the offensive forcing several early corners. The boys repelled these early attacks but were unable to break through the Walton side’s stout defence. The Giants were unlucky to go behind when a couple of deflections presented an opportunity to the Titans striker and he duly dispatched the chance. The Giants nearly fell further behind when the Titans struck the post soon after.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern with the evenly matched sides battling for supremacy. Noah hit a post and Josh came close on several occasions with the decisive interventions of the Titans excellent defender saving the Walton side. The Giants finally drew level when Josh broke free of the Titans backline to shoot past the keeper into the corner. The Walton side responded and almost restored their lead only for Julius to thwart them with a point blank save. 1-1 at half time.

Both managers switched their teams at half time and this favoured the Giants who were able to find more space in midfield. After dominating the opening minutes of the quarter the Giants were however lucky to take the lead when Josh’s corner flew straight over the Titans keeper and into the net. The Giants were on top and pressing to extend their lead, Charlie, Josh and Jake both came close before a moment of magic from Josh secured his hat-trick and a 3-1 lead for the boys. Picking the ball up on the right wing inside the defensive half Josh skipped past several challenges before unleashing a strike across the Titans keeper into the far corner. There was still time for the Giants to extend their lead and again it was Josh who got the goal, his fourth of the game, this time from inside the box.

The game settled in the early stages of the final quarter and the Giants fans were already looking towards the semi-finals when a rare defensive lapse allowed the Walton side to reduce the deficit to two goals. With hope restored the Titans pressed forward and forced several fine saves from Noah, now playing in goal. The boys were however in no mood to concede their hard won lead and restored their three goal advantage when Seb broke free of the defence to strike the Giants fifth of the day and ensure victory.

Team: Charlie, Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Noah, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Josh (4), Seb

Man of the match: Jake

Reporter: Hu Dano

Wildcats gain revenge on lacklustre Giants

Giants v. Reigate Youth Wildcats

1 - 3

Saturday 19th January 2019

Last December the Giants played out a hard fought game against the Reigate Wildcats. On that occasion they won by a single goal, holding on in a tight contest and saving a late penalty. Both teams are fresh to League 4 but it was the Wildcats who showed more energy and endeavour today and they took their revenge on the Giants with a 3-1 victory in a game of few chances.

The Reigate side worked as a team, pressing from the off and giving the boys little time on the ball. The Giants struggled to impose themselves on the game and in a scrappy first quarter chances were rare, and those that there were, fell to the Reigate side. Josh, playing in goal, was prepared and had to make a few important saves, keeping the score at 0-0 at the interval. The closest the Giants came to scoring was a probing run from Tom, but the Reigate defence were alert to the danger and quickly closed down the move.

The Giants improved a little in the second quarter but without creating any chances on goal and it was the Wildcats who capitalised on a short goal kick, pouncing on the opportunity to strike past Josh in goal. 1-0 to the Wildcats at half-time.

The Giants started the third quarter positively and should have equalised, with Seb shooting narrowly wide when through on goal. Moments later the boys were made to pay for their profligacy when the Wildcats capitalised on a defensive error to strike the ball high into the net for 2-0.

Manager Dan was getting frustrated on the sidelines and urged his side to greater efforts in the last quarter and they stormed out, with Josh scoring, after a jinking run, straight from kick–off. The boys were pressing for an equaliser and at last started to show their pre-Christmas energy and vigour. But this left gaps at the back and the Wildcats exploited this to good effect, scoring a third from a breakaway. The Giants continued to press but the ball did not drop kindly for them and the score remained at 3-1.

Life is proving tougher for the boys in League 4, with teams giving them less time on the ball and proving meaner in defence. The way the team finished today’s match will however have pleased manager Dan and gives hope for a return to form in next weekend’s cup quarter final against the ESPA Juniors from Walton.

Team: Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Josh

Man of the match: Josh

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants taste defeat in first match of the New Year

Giants v. Merstham Youth Wolves

4 - 5

Saturday 12th January 2019

After their great run through November and December and promotion to Group 4, the Giants were defeated by a single goal in their first match of the new year. They came up against a spirited and determined Merstham Youth Wolves side and lost by a single goal in an entertaining but bruising encounter.

The early exchanges looked good for the Giants with plenty of attacking endeavour in a solid start. Charlie, Noah and Eli were pushing the ball around the pitch, with Josh supporting from the back. Noah and Charlie both came close to opening the scoring but the boys were outdone by a quick counter from the Wolves and they drew first blood. Undeterred the Giants bounced back courtesy of Noah who twice beat the Merstham keeper from close range to put the Giants 2-1 up at the break.

Dan switched the team around for the second quarter and before they had settled they found themselves 3-2 down. Taking instruction from their manager the Wolves came out fighting, pressing the Giants into mistakes and hunting as a pack. They pressed straight from kick off surprising the Giants and running through to score. Moments later they took the lead, again taking advantage of uncertainty in the Giants defence. The boys settled and for the rest of the quarter matched the Wolves robust physical play with resilience and fortitude.

The game was evenly balanced with both teams battling to gain the ascendency. Chances on goal were at a premium with both teams hard in the tackle and the pattern of the game broken by free kicks and injuries. It was the Wolves however who got the next goal ending the third quarter 4-2 to the good.

It looked like the game was over when the Merstham team scored a fifth early in the final quarter but the Giants rallied. Seb had moved from goal to play up front and twice he came close, before shooting a sweet strike into the corner to reduce the arrears. Moments later Louie scored a beauty, striking the ball across the keeper and into the far corner from a tight angle and at 5-4 the comeback looked on. The boys pressed for an equaliser, marauding forward with their loyal fans cheering them on. Josh came close with an audacious overhead kick and several long shots whistled past the post. At the other end Noah, now in goal, twice pounced on the ball to save Wolves breakaways.

The final whistle came too soon for the boys to grab an equaliser but their effort and perseverance will have pleased the manager on a day when they were not at their best after the Christmas break.

Team: Charlie, Eli, Josh, Julius, Louie, Noah, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Noah (2), Seb, Louie

Man of the match: Noah

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants through to quarter-finals after over running Colts

Coulsdon Colts Flyers v. Giants

2 - 7

Saturday 15th December 2018

The much-awaited cup game finally arrived on Saturday. After a disappointing postponement due to a waterlogged pitch the weekend before the match was on and Dan was back in charge. He saw his team outclass the Old Coulsdon Colts Flyers in every department. The boys were fired up by dreams of a cup run and Dan instructed them to keep it tight at the back and to stop the Colts getting sight of goal – the boys duly obliged with their opponents failing to hit a single shot in the whole match.

It was perhaps surprising therefore that the final score was 7-2. The only way Coulsdon were going to score was with the assistance of the fierce wind that twice saw set-pieces (a throw and corner) deflecting off Teddington players into the Giants net. Fortunately this was of little concern in a match that the Giants dominated from start to finish.

The Giants handled the difficult conditions much better than their opponents and were unconcerned by playing uphill into a strong wind in the first half. Unlike the home side the Giants ignored the cold; their fans standing on the sidelines were not so happy and several were seen to scamper to the porta-cabin to seek comfort from bacon butties and coffee.

The game kicked off early and the Teddington side were immediately looking to get forward. Josh came close before Zai opened the scoring for the Giants, a clinical strike from a from a free kick. The boys were on top but unable to make the pressure count and approaching the end of the quarter the Colts were back in the game with the first of their own goals. Jake’s first meaningful act was to pick the ball out of the net.

The Giants started to exert themselves in the second quarter and took control of the game with three quick fire goals. The first from Josh who finished clinically when put through by Zai. Julius then scored a goal from nothing; dispossessing the Colts defender on the wing and advancing towards goal before shooting across the keeper into the corner.  Julius then turned provider, slipping the ball through to Zai for him to shot home for his second of the day. 4-1 and comfortable and it should have been more with the Giants pressing hard, giving the Colts no time on the ball and making chances to extend their lead. Seb was a rock at the back; Jake was chilling in goal with little to do. It came as a surprise therefore that the Colts  got the next goal – again an own goal with the ball deflecting off a Giants defender past the helpless goalie. 4-2 at half time.

The Colts manager suggested playing six a side in the third quarter as the subs were freezing on the sidelines. The game became more congested but the Giants were with the wind and playing downhill. The Colts hardly got out of their own half with Louie and Julius holding firm at the back. Jake, Tom and Josh were further upfield. Jake and Tom both came close to scoring but it was Josh who stole the show weaving through the Colts players to score three more goals.

The game was up for the Colts and the final quarter was played as a friendly with eight players to each side. The boys came close but the score remained at 7-2. A fine victory in difficult conditions. On the evidence of this game a cup run is well and truly on.  

Team: Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Zai (2), Josh (4), Julius, 

Man of the match: Josh

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants through to quarter-finals after over running Colts

Coulsdon Colts Flyers v. Giants

2 - 7

Saturday 15th December 2018

It was perhaps surprising therefore that the final score was 7-2. The only way Coulsdon were going to score was with the assistance of the fierce wind that twice saw set-pieces (a throw and corner) deflecting off Teddington players into the Giants net. Fortunately this was of little concern in a match that the Giants dominated from start to finish.

The much-awaited cup game finally arrived on Saturday. After a disappointing postponement due to a waterlogged pitch the weekend before, the match was on and Dan was back in charge. He saw his team outclass the Old Coulsdon Colts Flyers in every department. The boys were fired up by dreams of a cup run and Dan instructed them to keep it tight at the back and to stop the Colts getting sight of goal – the boys duly obliged with their opponents failing to hit a single shot in the whole match.

The Giants handled the difficult conditions much better thantheir opponents and were unconcerned by playing uphill into a strong wind in the first half. Unlike the home side the Giants ignored the cold; their fans standing on the sidelines were not so happy and several were seem to scamper to the porta-cabin to seek comfort from bacon butties and coffee.

The game kicked off early and the Teddington side were immediately looking to get forward.  Josh came close before Zai opened the scoring for the Giants. The boys were on top but unable to make the pressure count and approaching the end of the quarter the Colts were back in the game with the first own goal. Jake’s first meaningful act was to pick the ball out of the net.

The Giants started to exert themselves in the second quarter and took control of the game with three quick fire goals. The first from Josh who finished clinically when put through by Zai. Julius then scored a goal from nothing; dispossessing the Colts defender on the wing and advancing towards goal before shooting across the keeper into the corner.  Julius then turned provider slipping the ball through to Zai for him to shoot home for his second of the day. 4-1 and comfortable and it should have been more with the Giants pressing hard, giving the Colts no time on the ball and making chances to extend their lead. Seb was a rock at the back; Jake was chilling in goal with little to do. It came as a surprise therefore that the Colts  got the next goal – again an own goal with the ball deflecting off a Giants defender past the helpless goalie. 4-2 at half time.

The Colts manager suggested playing six a side in the third quarter as the subs were freezing on the sidelines. The game became more congested but the Giants were with the wind and playing downhill. The Colts hardly got out of their own half with Louie and Julius holding firm at the back. Jake, Tom and Josh were further upfield. Jake and Tom both came close to scoring but it was Josh who stole the show weaving through the Colts players to score three more goals.

The game was up for the Colts and the final quarter was played as a friendly with eight players to each side. The boys came close but the score remained at 7-2. A fine victory in difficult conditions. On the evidence of this game a cup run is well and truly on.  

Team: Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Zai (2), Josh (4), Julius

Man of the match: Josh

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants edge a close encounter in the Bushy Park mud

Giants v. Reigate Youth Wildcats

5
- 4

Saturday 1st December 2018

The Giants followed up their 10-1 win over the Walton Warriors last weekend with another victory at Bushy Park today. This was a much closer affair played in sticky conditions following a night of heavy rain. The boys were less focused than last weekend, perhaps over confident after last weeks win, affected by the miserable weather, or dreaming of Christmas on the first day of December, but they still managed to put on a good show against a strong Reigate team.

The Wildcats from Reigate started well and warning of their attacking threat came when they struck the post in the first few minutes. The Giants matched their play and were pushing forward with menace. Josh scored five last week and was the first on the scoresheet once again with a clinical finish after a perfectly weighted pass from Julius. The Giants lead was short lived with the Wildcats equalising soon after, as the boys over-committed upfront. The Giants continued to attack and were soon back in front with Josh turning provider and Julius slotting the ball home. They extended their lead soon after, a second goal for Josh from the edge of the area. 3-1 at the break.

The second quarter saw the Reigate Wildcats come back into the game. Josh, Noah and Julius were pushing forward as an effective attacking trio but leaving Louie in defence, and Jake in goal, vulnerable to the counter attack. There were warnings in the first quarter but these had been repelled through incisive tackling and good handling. In the second quarter the Wildcats were more ruthless and twice took advantage to bring the score back to three each at half time.

Tim, standing in as manager for Dan, knew that the Giants had a battle on their hands to win this one. He shuffled the team with Julius dropping back into goal, Jake and Charlie taking up defensive responsibilities and Tom and Zai further upfield. The tension was broken soon after when a speculative long shot from Jake slipped through the Wildcats keepers fingers to give the Giants the advantage. Jake was controlling the game for the Giants and they went further ahead when the Reigate team handled in the box after his shot at goal. Jake made no mistake from the spot, striking into the corner for his second and the Giants fifth of the day. The Reigate team were not finished and following a nice exchange of passes down the right wing reduced the deficit to one goal.

Both teams continued to battle in the last quarter. Tom and Eli came close for the Giants but it was left to Julius to save the day. With five minutes to go the Reigate team were awarded a penalty after a tussle in the box. Julius spread himself large to block the shot and then dive on the ball before the Wildcats player could strike the rebound. There was still time for him to make another fine save to deny the Reigate side and ensure that the Giants held on for another victory.

Team: Charlie, Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Noah, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Josh (2), Julius, Jake (2)

Man of the match: Julius

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants unlucky in a tight battle in Coulsdon

Old Coulsdon Colts 'Blazers' v. Giants

3
- 1

Saturday 17th November 2018

Ray Mears was born in Coulsdon and the Giants visited the town for an attritional battle that called for resilience and survival skills against the local team this weekend. The Old Coulsdon Colts ‘Blazers’ fought as a tight unit and were both skilful and physical. The Giants matched their opponents with a gritty and energetic performance but lacked a killer instinct in a low scoring contest.

The Giants started brightly and looked the most likely to score in the early exchanges. Josh was skipping through the tackles on the right wing and twice went close but was denied by two great saves from the home keeper. The Colts were coming into the game and gave warning of their attacking menace with a fine strike that rebounded off the post. They were the first to hit the net, scoring from close range after a corner a few minutes later. Undeterred the Giants continued to pass the ball and were back in it when Josh dispossessed the Blazers defender and the ball ran across the box to Charlie who smashed the ball into the top corner of the net. A tremendous strike and a well deserved equaliser.

The game remained tight in the second half with the Giants holding their own against a robust Colts team. The defences were on top with the tackles flying but few clear-cut opportunities to score. The Colts got the only goal of the quarter to take a 2-1 lead. The Giants had chances but were thwarted by the excellent Colts keeper.

The pattern of the game remainder similar in the third quarter with Charlie coming close for the Giants. The boys were pressing forward looking for an equaliser. Louie was masterful at the back, watching the play and intercepting the Colts forward balls. The Giants had a succession of corners but were unable to make the pressure count and were undone when the Colts broke free on the counter attack to score for 3-1.

The final quarter remained tight. Louie remained stout in defence, Seb in control between the sticks and Julius energetic in the tackle, but the ball wouldn’t break for Noah upfront. The Colts defence was resolute and the final quarter remained goalless.

This was a great performance from the team and a good test in advance of the Cup game at the same venue in a few weeks time. The Giants will be ready for another battle and manager Dan will be hoping that the boys can repeat the defensive display, but with a little extra sparkle upfront.

The Team: Charlie, Eli, Josh, Julius, Louie, Noah, Seb, Tom

Goalscorers: Charlie

Man of the match: Louie

Reporter: Hu Dano

Third time lucky against Gemini

Giants v. Gemini Royals

6
- 2

Saturday 10th November 2018

The Giants were in top form this weekend, comfortably overcoming old adversaries, the Gemini Royals, from Walton, in a commanding performance. Only a month ago the Giants had lost 7-1 to a Gemini team when they had misunderstood the term ‘friendly’ to gift the Walton team goals in a lacklustre performance. Last season they also conceded seven goals in a competitive contest that was closer than the 7-3 score line suggests. This weekend the Giants were dominant from start to finish and there was only ever going to be one winner.

The boys started the game well, pressing the opposition from the kick-off and looking menacing in attack. The Giants gave Gemini little time on the ball and were firm in the tackle. Jake and Seb were marauding forward at will and the boys were unlucky not to take an early lead when Jake’s rifling shot from the edge of the area set the crossbar vibrating. The Giants first goal came after quick thinking from Eli, who directed a long throw-in forward to Josh, and he advanced into the box and drilled the ball into the net. The Giants continued to attack and were unfortunate to not go further ahead. Eli struck the post and Josh shot narrowly wide. Charlie in the Giants goal had hardly seen the ball.

The boys were guilty of a couple of defensive lapses in the second quarter allowing the Royal’s best player on the day to run through and score two goals. These mistakes only served to galvanise the Giants team to greater efforts and they had much greater firepower at their disposal. The Gemini team drew level early in the second quarter but the Giants quickly restored their lead from the penalty spot after a Gemini player handled Jake’s goalbound shot. Josh coolly slotted home the spot kick. Once again the Royal’s drew level but this was short lived. Jake had already come close twice and finally got the goal his performance deserved with a sweet strike into the top corner to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. The Gemini team were rattled and went further behind when one of their players diverted a corner into his own net. 4-2 to the Giants at half time.

The Giants started the second half in swashbuckling style with a swift passing move from the kick off culminating in the boys fifth goal scored by Seb. The game was being played in the Gemini half and Charlie and Seb both went close before Zai delivered a sixth goal after concerted pressure.

The Giants took the foot off the gas at the start of the final quarter and the Gemini Royals should have capitalised to narrow the scoreline. Josh who had had a quiet time in goal, pulled off a miraculous save leaping full stretch to parry the ball away. A few moments later he had to be alert to pounce on a loose ball in the area. After these early scares the boys took control. Julius, Tom and Charlie pressed and harried their opponents and Zai almost put gloss on the scoreline with a shot that went just wide.

This was a dominant performance from the Giants and a thoroughly enjoyable watch for their fans on the sidelines. The boys played for each other today and the team remained strong and together throughout. The Giants have won their last five competitive fixtures and manager Dan will be looking for more of the same grit and determination in Coulsdon next weekend.

The Team: Charlie, Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Josh (2), Jake, own goal, Seb, Zai

Man of the match: Jake

Reporter: Hu Dano