Jets Play Well Against Experienced Langley
Oxhey Jets 0 Langley 2
Combined Counties Division One
12th August 2023
Jets lost for the first time after two good results this week, but there were far more positives than negatives from this defeat.
Jets are very young, and it will be a learning season for many in Men’s football. So with one of the big four coming to the Boundary, it was going to be a massive test for the young side. We know we are not going to compete with the crazy big bucks or multi-experienced teams, but the staff are looking at the measure of how this group of lads do against them. That analysis will be critical to progression.
The goal-scoring record-breaker Lewis Putman has returned home to help lead the kids and return his club to their position in the pyramid as soon as possible. With Lewis fit, Jets will offer a dangerous attacking option, and he did a good 45 mins, which will help ease him back into game fitness.
Jets today shot themselves in the foot with, you could say fittingly schoolboy errors in the opening fifteen minutes. A dreadful lapse caused Jets to go a goal down in just five minutes with a ball laid straight at the feet of Ed Clements with an open goal. Incredibly Lewis Lavin somehow clambered across goal for a fantastic save, but really cruelly the rebound fell straight back to Clement’s feet to hammer home 0-1 ( 5 mins).
It was to get worse very quickly when the biggest man on the pitch was ignored and allowed to run in undetected from a corner to strike number 2. Chevy Hart (13 mins)
Big, big test for Jets now, shake themselves up or face a hammering 5-6-7 possible.
From this point on there is nothing but admiration for the Jets lads who dug in and dug deep and showed the battling form seen in the opening games.
There were little rays of hope, primarily from Putman, and a soft penalty appeal when he was nudged down in the box. The real battle, though, was being fought in midfield with Ayres, Pope and James taking the hassle and battle to the visitors with a tremendous display of commitment.
Although still two down at the break, a lot of credit to stopping the visitors taking control.
The second period was far more positive. A formation change and fresh legs actually seeing Jets take much more of the game to Langley, and probably feeling a little unlucky not to have pulled one back. If that had happened, then who knows if Langley goes up a gear or Jets pull it off, but it would have been game on.
Jordan Okwor from the bench caused concern for the Langley defence, and I still can’t figure out how the defender stopped him on the line after an amazing solo run.
Another debut substitute Kevar McKenzie had a big impact. He is another of Warren Gladdy’s excellent Pro Direct academy 16yr olds given an opening by the staff, and he really went at the Langley defence. Wow, some impact and impression he made on his debut.
A third debut was James Kimber, a tall centre-back and at 20 quite an old head in this team !!
It’s very hard to be so pleased in defeat, but these lads today deserve much praise and learning, but the first fifteen needs to be remembered. Against the big hitters, you can’t give them a two-goal cushion. In many ways, Jets actually did better than in the two wins in the week, but that’s football.
Langley are a good side and will be up there with the big bucks boys I’m sure, pushing for the promotion prize. For me, hearing the staff reactions to our management on the whistle was interesting. “Wow what a great young side you have got, keep them together and you will have something special” was one I heard.
Also, a lot of praise for the match official who was very calm and sensible, a well-refereed match.
So to the Jets Carlsberg Man of the Match. Again some good battles and performances, but the decision was easy and totally unanimous. A single well-deserved nomination, 16 years old Olly Pope outstanding ninety minutes, so he will have to put his bottles on ice until he’s a big boy and old enough to drink it !!
I have never seen three members of the coaching staff so committed and so encouraging to young footballers learning and progression in my years with Jets. This is what grassroots football should be, not big bucks people buying their own self-glory.
Oxhey Jets vs Langley
Cherry Red Combined Counties Division One
12th August 2023 3:00 pm