It was time this weekend to turn the attention away from the league and to focus on the KCFL League Cup second round. Mary would be looking for her team to continue their run of good form into this game too. There were four changes to the match day squad from last week. Returning in goal was George Legg, and Mark Matthews started at right back, Charlie Egleton, Ben Whittaker in the centre of defence with Adam Carrick again at left back. The rest of the starting eleven remained the same as last week. Camilo Andres Nieva, Joe Thomas, Jacob Kemp and captain Nicky Meta in midfield, with Joshua Montella partnered up front by Hamid Bangura.
So, if last seasons league matches between these two sides in the league were anything to go by, this cup encounter would certainly be another feisty affair! With the game underway in front of a crowd of 133, Peckham had their first chance within the opening minute of the game, albeit a flick on from Hamid Bangura high over the bar. It wasn’t long before George Legg was brought into action either, making a great save, tipping the ball over the bar in the 3rd minute. From the resulting corner George Legg did well again to punch the ball clear, and the incoming shot was deflected out for yet another corner. Peckham did well to soak up the early pressure from the visitors early onslaught. Both teams were playing attacking football, but even with two great opportunities for the Menace from free kicks within the first ten minutes, the Red Velvet keeper was yet to be tested. The first attempt, Mark Matthews played it short to the advancing Charlie Egleton but he just couldn’t get enough power in his shot. The second and Nicky Meta opted to go for goal but hit it straight at the keeper.
It was however a moment of pure brilliance from winger Camilo Andres Nieva that broke the deadlock on 17 minutes. Cutting in from the right hand side he weaved his way through a melee of Red Velvet players and just when it looked like he had lost control of the ball, he let rip with his left boot from 20 yards out. The visitors' keeper was left rooted to the spot as the ball nearly burst through the netting in the top right hand corner of the goal. The Menace Arena erupted, everyone astounded at the utter beauty of the strike from the Menace winger!
Three minutes later however the goal scorer was floored by a high challenge, but thankfully after some treatment he was ok to continue. As the game approached the half hour mark Peckham found themselves temporarily down to ten men. After believing he had been fouled in the 29th midfielder Joe Thomas lost his cool and found himself with a yellow card and ten minutes in the sin bin.
With a man advantage, the visitors would surely now fancy their chances at getting back into the game. Peckham however had other ideas and managed to rally round and thwart any Red Velvet advances. Joshua Montella dropped to help Jacob Kemp in midfield, and again, Charlie Egleton and Ben Whittaker made some important interventions. The midfielder eventually did his time and re-joined the game in the 40th minute. A minute later George Legg found himself going into the referees book for time wasting by stealing a couple of yards to take a free kick. Baffling really how so far it was the home team that had received the only bookings! After a minute of added time the first half came to an end and Peckham went in deservedly in front.
It was a fairly even first half against very physical opponents, but thankfully Mary’s half time team talk would be another positive one. With no personnel changes, the second half got underway. It was Peckham that came close to getting the second goal too after being awarded a free kick in a central position 30 yards out. Jacob Kemp opted to go for goal but saw his effort go just inches wide of left hand stick.
It was finally in the 61st minute that the visitors received their first booking of the game as one of their players obviously took a shining to the new Menace home kit and attempted to remove the shirt off of a Peckham player’s back! Peckham should have gone two up five minutes later from a Nicky Meta corner. The captain sent in a beautiful ball to the far post, the incoming Ben Whittaker rose above two team-mates only for the keeper to deny him on 66 minutes.
Within two minute Mary opted for a tactical change, David Gabor came on to replace Nick Meta, who left the field to a rapturous applause. In an attempt to hinder the visitors attacks she opted to play more attacking football and went for three up top!
It was the home side that then picked up two more yellow cards within the space of five minutes. The first for Jacob Kemp after a late challenge in the 72nd minute, and then David Gabor on 77 minutes. The latter however nearly made up for it in the 80th minute as he came so close to doubling Peckham’s lead. Cutting in from the right he dribbled past four Red Velvet players, then sending a shot goal wards, but missing the top right hand corner of the target by inches.
As the game entered the final ten minutes the visitors started to push everyone forward in the search for a late equaliser. At every opportunity they were pumping long balls forward but the Menace stood firm and defended well. With this in mind Mary opted to return to a 4-4-2 formation and Festus Ogunlana replaced Joshua Montella in the 87th minute. Applauded as he left the field, this was one of those rare occasions where he never had many goal scoring opportunities, but don’t let that distract from his contribution to today’s game.
Peckham’s final and fifth yellow card of the game came in the 89th minute. Red Velvet broke down the right wing, and Adam Carrick, who hadn’t put a foot wrong all game took one for the team and halted the attack.
The game then entered six minutes of added time and the relentless attack from the visitors continued. Peckham, when they had the ball, opted for the ‘in the corner’ tactics to see out the game, and that’s exactly what they did. For the second week in a row every player should feel proud of their contribution in this cup win, and again, the King of the Match could have been given to anyone. The award did however go to Charlie Egleton, who just edged it with his defensive display.
Time now to put the cup campaign on the back burner and again look forward to next week’s home match and continue this current winning run in the league.
Peckham Town FC (4-4-2): George Legg; Mark Matthews, Ben Whittaker, Charlie Egleton, Adam Carrick; Camilo Andres Nieva, Joe Thomas, Jacob Kemp, Nicky Meta (c); Joshua Montella, Hamid Bangura. Subs: David Gabor (on for Nicky Meta), Festus Ogunlana (on for Joshua Montella), not used, Nathan Gamester (GK), Tidi Barry and Josef Tingey .