Mary Phillip had a much depleted match day squad as Peckham travelled down to the Kent coast. With Adam Carrick now side-lined for a possible four weeks after a freak training ground injury, Kai Smith-Reason still injured, Ben Whittaker, Mark Matthews and captain Nicky Meta all unavailable, and Camilo Andres Nieva still not ready after his recent injury, it was always going to be a difficult game. George Legg started in goal, Togba Tarpeh at right back and Ricardo George at left back, it was down to Elton Romaku to partner stand-in captain Charlie Egleton in central defence. With a change of formation, Tidi Barry, Joe Thomas and Jacob Kemp were the midfield trio and Kieran Dowding, Joshua Montella and David Gabor were the attack. Festus Ogunlana and Hamid Bangura were the substitutes.
With the game underway all eyes were on the hosts and how they would react after the resignation of their manager earlier in the week. It was Peckham that started the better team, immediately winning the ball from the kick off and attacking their opponents. With less than two minutes on the clock Joshua Montella went down under a challenge inside the hosts 18 yard box. Calls went out from the Menace bench and players for a penalty, but the official thought otherwise and waved play on.
Peckham continued to put New Romney under pressure and Jacob Kemp could have done better as he shot high and wide of the hosts goal in the 5th minute. The hosts immediately countered and their striker suddenly found himself one on one with George Legg. He unleashed a shot which brought out a great save from the Menace stopper, but the assistant had already raised his flag for offside. Peckham attacked again and were rewarded a free kick on the edge of the hosts area in the 7th minute. Kieren Dowding stepped up to take it and struck it well but the post denied him his goal.
Peckham were then awarded another free kick in the 12th minute, again just outside the 18 yard box, 5 yards out from the by-line. Joshua Montella struck a low ball into the box which found Jacob Kemp but he had no control over his effort and it went high over the New Romney goal. The midfield trio were in control and Joe Thomas had already been playing some fantastic through balls into the front three.
Peckham were again awarded another free kick in the 16th minute, this time over on the far side, and some 30 yards out. Again Joshua Montella stepped up to take it but he didn’t connect well and the ball went out for a goal kick. So far Peckham were in control, again Charlie Egleton and Elton Romaku stepping up when any threats loomed.
With 20 minutes played, Peckham countered but as Joshua Montella entered the 18 yard box, he lost control of the ball and the host keeper took full advantage and made a save at the strikers feet. Whenever New Romney attacked it was from long balls over the top from their keeper looking to play in their wingers. With this in mind both the Peckham full backs would need to be on top of their game, and they were. Togba Tarpeh and Ricardo George making important challenges to thwart their opponents.
It was clear the hosts were looking frustrated, and this became evident when Joe Thomas was floored from a late challenge in the 29th minute. The official opted for a stern word and the game resumed quickly. Within minutes the official had his book out and it was the Menace midfielder that was shown a yellow card.
As Peckham attacked Joe Thomas chased down a New Romney player and got more of him than the ball. After a two minute delay the game resumed with the New Romney free kick, Peckham won the ball back with Joe Thomas who was immediately hacked to the ground, and this time the perpetrator went straight into the officials book.
Peckham continued to edge their opponents and looked the more threatening of the two sides. On 36 minutes Ricardo George sent a long throw into the hosts area, the ball came to Charlie Egleton who played it out to Joe Thomas, but his effort from 20 yards again went high over the bar. The chances so far had been coming thick and fast for Mary Phillip’s team, but again their finishing was letting them down. Jacob Kemp headed wide from a Joshua Montella corner a minute later.
It was the hosts however that were nearly gifted the opener as the game entered the final minute of the first half. The ball was played back to George Legg who misshit his clearance straight to a New Romney player, who seeing that the Peckham keeper was way out of his goal opted to chip the ball towards goal.
Thankfully his effort hit the far post and went out for a goal kick much to the relief of the Peckham keeper and his team mates. The game had now entered added time but there was still plenty of drama to unfold. Peckham again attacked the New Romney goal, who failed to clear and the ball came to Joe Thomas 25 yards out but he never got any power behind his shot and the keeper saved with ease.
The hosts then countered, had their shouts for a penalty waved away, a shot went in, but George Legg saved and the ball went out for a corner. That was the last action of the half and on balance of play, Peckham were the better team and that would surely reflect in Mary Phillip’s half time team talk. Hopefully though, her talk would encourage the front three to really test the New Romney keeper in the second half!
With no half time changes, Peckham got the second half underway. Within two minutes they found themselves temporarily down to ten men. After kicking the ball away in frustration, Kieran Dowding must have said something to the official and he was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. The Peckham midfield continued the second half where they had left off in the first half. Jacob Kemp continuing to run himself ragged and Tidi Barry making a great challenge on 52 minutes, unfortunately his counterpart thought otherwise and appeared to raise his hands at the Peckham player.
Once the shenanigans had calmed down the official booked both players, the New Romney man must have felt lucky though to only have been shown a yellow! Mary Phillip’s tactics continued to frustrate the hosts, and they had another player booked on 58 minutes for a late challenge on Ricardo George.
So far neither team had really looked like scoring in the second half, so it would either be a moment of brilliance or a mistake that would change their fortunes. Unfortunately for Peckham it was the latter as the hosts took advantage of a defensive error in the 63rd minute. Finding himself under some pressure Togba Tarpeh had to clear the ball and was faced with only two options, the forward punt the less riskier of the two. With cries from the Peckham bench of ‘not the square ball’ the Menace right back opted for the square ball along the back line. He hit it slightly behind Elton Romaku who would have to track back to collect it. As he attempted to receive the wayward pass he slipped which let in the New Romney front man. Breaking goal wards he only had George Legg to beat and slotted home at the far post. With 63 minutes played and against the run of play Peckham were now a goal behind!
Within three minutes of the restart Peckham probably should have equalised. Finding himself in some space out on the right wing, Joshua Montella turned his marker and found room to shoot with his favoured left boot but he never really got a hold of it and the keeper made an easy save.
With just over twenty minutes to play, Mary Phillip made her first change of the game. Time for Tidi Barry to make way, and Festus Ogunlana entered the game on 67 minutes. Peckham’s second change came four minutes later as Hamid Bangura replaced Joshua Montella, the Peckham player having done everything right bar scoring.
As Peckham continued to pile forward in search of the equaliser they were nearly caught on the break in the 73rd minute. It was however Toga Tarpeh who made an important diagonal run to intercept the ball and put it out for a throw in the far side, the right back making amends for his earlier error.
For the first time in the game the hosts started to take control, and George Legg made an important save to deny them a second goal a minute later. As the game approached the final stages Peckham really should have had their equaliser. Piling forward in the 89th minute the hosts looked to have broken down Peckham’s attack, however attempting to clear the ball a New Romney defender miss kicked his clearance. The ball ricocheted off of the advancing Charlie Egleton and found David Gabor with his back to goal some 18 yards out. He quickly turned his marker and shot goa wards. The keeper was beaten but how the Peckham striker missed was anyone’s guess, but he did, and it must’ve been by a whisker! It was clear now that it just wasn’t to be and the referee confirmed that by bringing the game to a close after four added minutes.
Despite the depleted squad, Peckham were probably the better team today so a draw would have been a fairer score line which makes this defeat all that more frustrating. As with many of their defeats so far this season it was another game of chances not taken. However there were plenty of positives to take out of today's performance, with some important defensive challenges and Jacob Kemp once again showing what an important member of the team he is. Time to take the defeat on the chin, move on and take these positives into next week's rescheduled Bill Manklow IRCC cup match.
Peckham Town FC. (4-3-3): George Legg; Togba Tarpeh, Charlie Egleton (c), Elton Romaku, Ricardo George; Jacob Kemp, Joe Thomas, Tidi Barry; David Gabor, Joshua Montella, Kieran Dowding. Subs. Festus Ogunlana (on for Tidi Barry) & Hamid Bangura (on for Joshua Montella).