By Duncan Hart
TOWN CONVERTED a comfortable 2-0 lead after fifteen minutes into a 3-2 home defeat after giving “cheap goals away” at a cold Menace Arena last Saturday.
Peckham went into the game missing their captain and experienced midfield duo Alli Amisu and Lukman Mojeed. The enforced changes didn’t look to have affected the home side initially, but as the game progressed, the Menace seemed bereft of ideas on how to break down the reinvigorated Otford back-line.
Town opened the scoring in the third minute, when nifty footwork took Yaya Barry past the last line of defence and into the box. He appeared to have then pushed the ball too wide, but a rasping shot beat the Otford stopper for pace at his near post. Peckham didn’t have to wait long for their second, as Barry capitalised on a mistake involving the visitors’ goalkeeper and defender, and rolled the ball into an empty net from a tight angle.
Peckham were controlling the game and went looking for a third, but the balance of play shifted as the first half wore on.
The visitors pulled a goal back through a neat finish from Levi Gold goal at the near post. The Menace were rocked, and started to concede possession far too easily. It wasn’t a surprise when Otford equalised on the stroke of half-time. Luke Blackaby took advantage of a mistake at the heart of Peckham’s defence, and neatly finished to make it all-square at the break.
Peckham made a change at half-time in a bid to regain momentum, Adam Tarrant coming on at right-back, shifting Alfie Ball into the middle of the park, as George Agbohoun made way.
Both teams looked to attack as the game got under way again, but there were few clear-cut chances for either side.
The game changed midway through the half when Town’s captain for the day, Hiram Laud–Anderson, had too much to say for the referee’s liking, and the defender was sent to the newly sin bin for ten minutes: the punishment, an FA initiative, is being trialled in 91 leagues across the country, including the Kent County League.
Otford took the lead for the first time in the game while Town were temporarily down to ten men. Gold picked up the ball outside the box and hit a low shot into the bottom right corner, which was too hot for Larry McArdle in Town’s goal to handle.
The Menace battled to get back into the game during the remaining minutes, but the killer ball was not there, and Otford defended well to maintain their lead and secure all three points.
Peckham Town’s manager, Alan Jacobs, didn’t hide his dissatisfaction after the game. “We gave cheap goals away. We had a chat at half-time, and tried to rectify it, but today I’m not happy with the result. This feeling isn’t very nice, but it happens. We need to take something out of the debris of the game.”
Ball, Peckham’s versatile defensive midfielder, was also critical of the performance. “We started off strong, with two great finishes from Yaya, but mistakes at the back cost us dearly. We didn’t come out strong enough in the second half. They got a sloppy goal and we couldn’t get back from that.
“All the lads are taking this hard.” Trying to end of a positive note, Ball added: “Credit to the fans for coming down. Win, lose or draw, we are Peckham through and through.”
Town return to action this Saturday, November 3, when they make the short journey to Sydenham Sports for a cup game.
Peckham Town (4-4-1-1): Larry McArdle; Alfie Ball, Hiram Laud–Anderson (c), Samuel Strong, Hady Traore; Nicky Meta, Saheed Sadiq, Drew Newton, Benson Aderibigbe; George Agbohoun (off ’45); Yaya Barry (2 goals). Sub: Adam Tarrant (on ’45)
Otford United: (4-4-2): Justin Lee; Noel MacFarlan, Thomas Cobb, Sam Truman, Chris Baldwin; Scott Ellison, Jamie Knight (c), Andy Knight, Lewis Willard (off 70); Levi Gold (2 goals), Luke Blackaby (1 goal). Sub: David Finnagan (on ’70)
Referee: Robert Williams