A new look Peckham Town were on show, as only Hady Traore and Kevin Dance from last season’s squad made the starting eleven. The Menace and their visitors from Kent took to the field through a haze of red and blue smoke in front of a crowd of around forty on a warm August afternoon.
Peckham were on the front foot from the off, as the Menace took the game to the visitors in the early exchanges. It was Staplehurst though that opened the scoring with only five minutes on the clock. Town failed to clear their lines sufficiently, and Ted Rosetti was first to react to the loose ball and finished well to give George Legg making his debut in goal no chance.
Valentine Tyrell, signed from Rochford Town in the summer, had a great chance to equalise. He held his marker off well, and shot low and hard to his left, but Steve Lawrence got down well to push the ball onto the post. Tyrell’s strike partner Marcus Black, signed from FC Elmstead, was on hand to slam the ball home from the rebound. However the linesman had flagged for offside and a debut goal was denied.
The Menace’s afternoon became all the more difficult moments later. The visitors cut through the middle of Town’s defence, and Legg brought down the onrushing forward just outside the area. The ball was rolled home into the empty net, but the referee had already blown for the free kick. The lack of advantage proved costly for Legg and Town, as the inevitable red card was shown and Peckham were down to ten men. With no ‘keeper on the bench, centre back Gary Martin donned the gloves, with Ridy Ngimbi dropping from midfield into defence.
Town had chances to equalise as half-time approached. Tyrell fired a free kick over, and Carl West did very well to recover and disposes Black as he was set to shoot. However it was Staplehurst that extended their lead on the stroke of half-time as Omar El Mantawy looped a header home over Martin in goal.
Mary Phillip, Town’s new manager, made three changes at half-time as the Menace looked for a way back into the game. Youssef Bouimane, Nicky Meta and Jefroy Leslie replaced Stefan Livingston, Owen Imadiyi and Rupert Brown respectively. However it was Sam Winch that extended the visitor’s lead on 50 minutes as he fired home at the near post.
The home team didn’t let their heads drop though, as despite the numerical disadvantage on the pitch and on the score sheet, the pace down the flanks was still causing problems and creating openings. Hady Traore headed over following a near-post flick on by Charlie Egleton from a corner. Bouimane and Dance were combining well down the right, and one such move led to a chance for Tyrell. Town finally got the goal that their second half performance deserved when Hady Traore up from full back finished well across Lawrence in goal. There was not enough time left though for a Menace comeback, and the match finished 3-1 to last season’s champions.
Mary Phillip said “We pretty much held our own today, despite having to play an hour with our centre-back in goal. I was pleased how we kept pressing and pushing forward, and in the last twenty minutes we were unlucky not score more than one. The players now know what this league is about now. We now have to take the performance from the end of today’s game into Wednesday [away to Stansfeld OBG] and build from there - onwards and upwards for the Town!”
Peckham Town are away from the Menace for the next two games, as the team travels to nearby Stansfeld (O&B) on Wednesday 21 August and distant New Romney on Saturday 24 August. There are then two home games in quick succession on Bank Holiday Monday and Saturday 31 August vs Ide Hill and Bromleians respectively. You can keep updated on all the goings on at Peckham Town by following @PeckhamTownFC on Twitter and Instagram.
Peckham Town (4-4-2): George Legg; Stefan Livingston, Gary Martin (c), Charlie Egleton, Hady Traore; Kevin Dance, Ridy Ngimbi, Rupert Brown, Osawemwengie Imadiyi; Marcus Black, Valentine Tyrell. Substitutes: Youssef Bouimane, Jefroy Leslie, Nicky Meta, Marco Almeida and Herve Mbongue (unused)
Staplehurst Monarchs: Steve Lawrence (c), Sammy Swift, Shane McNaught, Carl West, Steve Elliot, Ted Rosetti, James Matthews, Dan Ashton, Sam Winch, Omar El Mantawy, Ayrton Phillips. Subs: Scott Higgins, Rob Ainsworth, Aaron Sharp, Luke Wallond and Jack Peach