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

Giants firepower too much for BB Tigers

BB Soccer Tigers v. Giants

4 - 7

Saturday 3rd November 2018

The Giants were humbled by the BB Soccer Lions on the opening weekend of the season but got their revenge today with a comprehensive victory over the BB Tigers. The early kick off, and long journey beyond Croydon to the BB’s home ground in Whyteleafe, didn’t hinder the Giants, who played their best game of the season and impressed caretaker manager Tim Wright with a mix of pressing and intricate passing that the Tigers were unable to cope with.

The boys took command straight from kick off and on the BB’s sloping ground took advantage of playing downhill in the first half to surge forward and pressurise the Tigers goal. Tim had the boys practicing passing in the warm up and this seemed to galvanise their play. The Giants were rampant in the first quarter attacking in waves with Tom, Josh and Noah passing the ball around the Tigers midfield. Tom got the Giants moving with the opening goal, his first of the season, and this was quickly followed up by a brace from Noah, either side of a goal for the Tigers. 3-1 to the Giants. Josh was peppering the goal with shots but had been frustrated by a mix of stout defending and narrow misses. Undeterred he chose a different approach and ran through the Tigers defence to slot the ball home to give the Giants a 4-1 lead at the break.

The second quarter started in similar fashion and Josh extended the Giants lead with an early strike for 5-1. The boys were marauding forward looking for more and the Tigers took advantage to pull back to 5-2. The BB Tigers were a talented team and the Giants were indebted to Seb at the back who had an outstanding game, intercepting the advancing Tigers and switching play to put the Giants back on the attack. When offered the opportunity he pushed forward into the opposition half and was rewarded with a goal to put the Giants 6-2 up. With the Giants four goals ahead the Tigers gained an extra player and their increasingly frustrated manager thought they had pulled a goal back only for Jake, in goal, to pull off the save of the season tipping the ball around the post.

Four goals to the good at half-time but the game wasn’t won yet. The Giants knew that they had to play up hill in the second half and that their opponents had the talent to score goals. The Tigers also had the advantage of an extra player.

Julius, Louie and Zai came on for the second period but the flow of the game remained the same; Julius repelling attacks and Louie and Zai working alongside Jake further upfield. The Tigers pulled a goal back but the Giants continued to control the game and after some slick passing on the edge of the box Louie struck the Giants seventh to restore the four goal lead. Shortly afterwards Jake almost extended the lead further when his long shot was tipped onto the crossbar.

The Giants played out the final quarter with a player less but held their own and were unlucky to concede a late goal. This was the Giants first game in league 5 and on the evidence of today they are ready to take on anybody at this level. The boys played for each other today, had more hunger than their opponents and were ruthless going forward. This was a fine reward for the travelling fans on the longest trip so far this season and the future is burning bright for the boys.

The Team: Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Noah, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Tom, Noah (2), Josh (2), Seb, Louie

Man of the match: Seb

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants outshone by the Raising Stars

Giants v. Raising Stars

2 - 5

Saturday 27th October 2018

While some members of the Giants team had flown to warmer climates, a depleted squad took on a skilful Raising Stars team on a chilly, but bright morning in Bushy Park. This gave the boys that played more game time and they responded with a brave and spirited performance, but were unable to prevent a second defeat in a row.

The first quarter was a tight affair with Eli, Julius and Zai playing a pressing game and battling for the ball but offering limited attacking threat upfront. The Rising Stars were less combative but controlled the ball better. Urged by their coaches, they ran at the Giants defence, attempting to dribble their way toward goal. They drew first blood with a nice strike from the edge of the box.

The game opened up in the second quarter and the goals started to flow. Julius brought the Giants level with a long shot that looped over the Stars keeper into the net. The lead was however short lived. The Stars surged forward from the kick off. The Giants were still celebrating their goal and were unprepared as their opponents ran through the defence and slotted home for a 2-1 lead. The Stars went further ahead shortly after. Unlike last weekend when the boys’ heads had dropped after conceding, the Giants kept battling and were rewarded when Charlie hit a cracker into the corner to keep the game in the balance at 2-3 at half time.

Seb came out of goal for the second half and struck the post direct from a free kick but that was the closest the Giants came to scoring in the second period. Julius dropping back into goal, made several fine saves but couldn’t prevent the Stars extending their lead and closing the game at 2-5.

Whilst the boys were defeated, manager Dan will have been pleased to see more fight and a stronger team performance today. They will need it next week as a good run of form before the half-term friendlies has gained the Giants promotion to league 5.

The Team: Callum, Charlie, Eli, Julius, Seb, Zai

Goalscorers: Julius, Charlie

Man of the match: Zai

Reporter: Hu Dano

A day to forget for the Giants in Walton

Gemini Youth v. Giants

7 - 1

Saturday 20th October 2018

Perhaps because it was a friendly, perhaps because it’s half term, perhaps because it was a beautiful day or maybe because our manager had his mind on a small wager at the races, the Giants were second best against the Gemini Youth in Walton this weekend.

Playing on a tiny pitch the Giants had little room to manoeuvre and never got their game going, over hitting simple passes, failing to mark the Gemini team, making basic errors at the back and fluffing their chances in front of goal. It was the Giants who displayed a split personality and the Gemini Youth took full advantage.

The boys matched their adversary’s in the early exchange and in a quarter of few chances were unlucky to fall behind direct from a corner. The pitch was congested and the Giants were limited to long shots.

After a pep talk from the manager the boys started the second half in earnest but their spirits fell when the Gemini team took advantage of an over committed defence to score a second. Uncharacteristically the boys’ heads went down and this allowed the Walton team to take control with three more goals without reply in a quarter to forget.

The game was lost at half time, but at least an embarrassing score line was avoided with a more energetic second half and some stouter defending. Julius, Seb and Jake were putting in the tackles, Eli tipped a couple of shots over the crossbar (and one onto the bar) and Zai was starting to trouble the opposition defence.

The Giants missed a couple of clear chances; the Gemini Youth were more ruthless and scored two more for 7-0. But as the final quarter neared the end the boys finally got some reward as Zai struck home from Julius’s defence splitting pass for a consolation goal.

This game took us back to the early days of last season when stronger teams took advantage of the Giants inexperience. Callum, playing in his first game for the Giants, will be hoping that all games are not like this … and so will manager Dan.

The Team: Callum, Charlie, Eli, Jake, Julius, Louie, Seb, Tom, Zai

Goalscorers: Zai

Man of the match: Julius

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants hit six past mesmerised Cobras

Giants v. Moor Mead Cobras

6 - 2

Saturday 13th October 2018

The cobra (genus Naja) can deliver a fatal bite injecting a toxic venom that attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis. Such is the power of the venom, the King Cobra has been known to bring down a giant of the animal world, an Asian elephant. The cobra hails from Africa and Asia with the spitting variety propelling its venom out of its mouth through the air. Fortunately the Cobras from Twickenham were less frightening than their namesakes and also less phlegmatic than the infamous Frank Rijkaard.

On an unseasonably warm day at Bushy the ‘Naja’s were well beaten by a Giants team that were quicker to the ball, pressed harder and had more tricks up their sleeves. The Giants were like Ninja’s over running and over powering their Serpentine foes.

The Moor Mead Cobras started well and in the opening five minutes the Giants struggled to get out of their own half. Our referee for the day was late but fortunately Mark, who happened to be wearing a black top, volunteered to take command. In a quiet opening the boys were on best behaviour and there were no incidents of note. As the quarter progressed the boys found their feet with both Julius and Jake going close. The minutes were ticking away when Jake finally broke free and netted with a clinical strike.

The Giants went two up early in the second quarter courtesy of Mr Consistency, Noah, who kept up his record of scoring in every game in which he has played. Tom was having an excellent game up front and it was his pass that opened up the opportunity for Noah to calmly stroke the ball past the Moor Mead keeper. Zai and Josh both came close as the team pushed forward looking for more goals. The Giants left gaps at the back but the Cobras were unable to take advantage of the space, and couldn’t get past the resolute Zai in goal who made several good saves. The score was 2-0 to the hosts at half time.

The Giants went further ahead straight from the restart, Zai striking into the top corner for a peach of a goal. The boys were on song now and marauding forward at will. The Cobras defended admirably as the Giants camped in their half and got a goal back against the run of play with a clean strike from the edge of the box for 3-1. The momentum was however with the Giants and Julius capped a fine performance with a firm strike across the keeper into the corner of the Moor Mead goal to restore the three goal lead.

The final quarter saw more attacking play from the Giants as they pressed forward to add to their goal tally. Zai got his second for the day after a battling and energetic performance to make it 5-1. The Cobras didn’t give up and took advantage of hesitant defending to get their second of the day but were undone immediately as Josh scored the Giants sixth following a jinking run through the tiring Moor Mead team direct from the kick off.

This was solid and high-energy performance from the Giants, their third win in a row and first home victory of the season. Manager Dan Crosby, back after a week away, was proud of his boys but won’t be complacent. Today’s match was comfortable and thoroughly deserved but there will be sterner tests ahead and had the Cobras been a little more potent upfront the score line could have been a lot closer.

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

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

Man of the match: Zai

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants put eight past spirited Colts

Epsom and Ewell Colts v. Giants

4 - 8

Saturday 6th October 2018

It was another away match and another resounding victory for the Giants today as they broke the Colts resistance in an entertaining encounter in Ewell. The boys are finding scoring easy at the moment, notching up eight goals today to follow seven last weekend. Defending is however proving more tricky and the Giants were guilty of lapses today that allowed their opponents to keep a foothold in the match until the final quarter.

Manager Tim, stepping in for Dan today, was an anxious and animated figure on the touchline but the Colts manager was even more vocal sending a constant stream of instructions and encouragement to his players. We may never know what the cry of ‘elastic bands’ means in Ewell but it failed to deter the Giants attacking play.

In customary fashion the Giants gifted the Epsom and Ewell Colts an early goal turning the ball into their own net under pressure from a battling Ewell side. Undeterred the Giants pressed forward and equalised almost immediately with Zai scoring his first goal of the season after a smooth passing move. The boys took the lead shortly after when Jake broke free of the Colts defence and stroked the ball across the keeper into the far corner of the goal.

The second quarter was a muted affair with no goals for either side. However it wasn’t without excitement as the Giants offered the Colts two presentable opportunities to score from the penalty spot. On each occasion, Josh in goal, repelled the Colts strikes with excellent saves. The Giants were 2-1 to the good at half time.

The third quarter was evenly matched with three goals for each side in an entertaining spell of end to end football. The Colts drew first blood to bring the score back to two apiece. Josh then slotted the ball past the Epsom and Ewell keeper for 3-2. Defensive indecision allowed the Colts to equalise before Josh restored the Giants lead. Yet again the Colts responded for four each and once again Josh scored, this time tapping in after a fine save from a free kick struck by Seb. 5-4 to the Giants at the end of the third quarter. This was a tough spell for their loyal fans watching on the chilly October morning.

The boys relieved the tension in the final quarter taking control of the game and rattling in three further goals without reply. An attacking trio of Jake, Josh and Zai ran the Colts ragged with Julius behind them in defence picking up any loose ball and pushing it back upfield. Charlie was relieved to have a quieter spell in goal.

Jake got the first goal of the quarter after a fine passing move, Josh then scored his fourth, shooting under the Colts keeper, and Zai was quickest to respond after the Epsom and Ewell keeper saved Jake’s free kick, for his second of the day. It could have been worse for the Colts; Julius was unlucky to miss out on a goal when the keeper juggled his shot just wide after a long shot from the half way line and Jake came close to his hat-trick, shooting just wide towards the end of the match.

The attacking play is really starting to click for the Giants now, but manager Dan, back next week, will have to impress on his players that handling in the penalty area is not a good idea unless you are playing in goal.

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

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

Man of the match: Josh

Reporter: Hu Dano

Magnificent Seven in Horsley

Horsley Pumas v. Giants

1 - 7

Saturday 29th September 2018

On Saturday The Giants travelled into the Surrey countryside for the first time this season and took on the Pumas from Horsley. In beautiful sunshine, and with the verdant Surrey Hills as a backdrop, the boys put in their best performance of the season so far and were rewarded with a comprehensive victory.

The Giants started tentatively and fell behind to an early goal but recovered quickly to put seven past their opponents without further reply. The boys were quicker to the ball, more combative and direct in their play and when they passed were able to split their opponents defence and threaten the Pumas goal. Jake between the sticks in the first half and Julius in the second, were rarely troubled.

The Giants first goal came following a period of concerted pressure, with Seb crossing for Eli to chest the ball into the net. Seb turned from provider to scorer for the second with a delightful strike over the Pumas keeper and into the roof of the net direct from a free kick. Eli was energetic throughout the quarter and burst through the defence to score his second of the day and the Giants third for a 3-1 lead at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter brought more of the same with Julius and Josh both going close and Louie scoring the only goal of the quarter following a pass across the goal from Josh. The boys were 4-1 up and in complete control at half time.

Jake got the Giants moving early in the second half skipping through the Horsley defence to slot home and the boys were 6-1 up shortly afterwards when Noah kept up his record of scoring in every game this season, following a smooth passing move. The Pumas had six players on the pitch but were still unable to hurt the Giants at the back with Seb in defence calming repelling their attacks and Julius tidy in goal.

The final quarter brought more of the same, the only surprise being that the Giants only managed one more goal, a tap in for Jake when set up by Josh.

This was a comfortable game for the boys and after a topsy-turvy few weeks the Giants have won both their away games, whilst losing both at home. Last weeks encounter, at home to the Warlingham Colts resulting in a hard fought 6-3 loss, with the Giants goals scored by man of the match Noah (2) and Louie. Next week the boys are on the road again and manager Dan will be hoping the boys can keep up their fine away form.

The Team: Eli, Jake, Josh, Julius, Louie, Noah, Seb

Goalscorers: Eli (2), Seb, Louie, Jake (2), Noah

Man of the match: Eli

Reporter: Hu Dano

Giants well beaten by rampant Lions

Giants v. BB Sport Lions

3 - 9

Saturday 8th September 2018

The Giants kicked off the new season full of optimism on a bright Saturday morning at Udney Park. Having finished last season with a storming 10-4 win against Chessington Sports, and with two new recruits, Noah and Zai, added to the squad over the summer, the Giants loyal following looked forward to an entertaining contest against new comers BB Soccer Lions from Coulsdon. This was to be a tough and humbling start to the season. Lacking match practice, the Giants were outplayed by a well-drilled and focused Lions side and ended up on the back of a 9-3 spanking.

Manager Dan Crosby took a full squad to the game and this worked against the Giants who were unable to find a rhythm to their play. The regular substitutions made it difficult for the boys to grow into the game and we saw little of the passing game that was starting to emerge at the end of last season.

In contrast the Lions rotated between just six players and had a clear game plan, pressing hard and giving our players little time on the ball. The Lions were straight out of the traps, hungry to impose themselves and in a fast and furious first five minutes were three goals to the good before the Giants had settled. It could have been worse, Josh in goal for the first quarter, made several fine saves to keep the boys in the game.

The Giants rallied, with Jake going close with a shot from a free-kick, and gained a foothold in the game when debutant Noah, scored following a goalmouth scramble. 3-1 to the Lions at the end of the first-quarter.

The second quarter was better but despite more good goalkeeping, this time from Seb, the Giants fell further behind as the Lions pressed and harried our boys into mistakes. The Lions scored two more to lead 5-1. A goal for Charlie from another goalmouth melee ensured that the Giants fans could still dream of a second half comeback.

The Giants improved in the third quarter and had their best spell of the game. Julius introduced some steel in defence and calmly repelled the Lions forward play. Up front Josh ran tirelessly at the Lions defence and was rewarded with a goal to bring the score back to 5-3.

The optimism was however short lived. The Lions reasserted themselves in the final quarter and scored their sixth goal after another defensive lapse. With the game already lost the Giants were chasing shadows and the Lions went for the jugular rattling in another three goals to put gloss on the scoreline.

So its back to the training ground, with manager Dan hoping that the Giants will find some of the last seasons form against a familiar opponent, Chessington Sports, next week.

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

Goalscorers: Noah, Charlie, Josh

Reporter: Hu Dano