By Will Clunas
A SPECTACULAR hat-trick in just 22 minutes off the bench from recently-arrived ex-Dulwich Hamlet striker Klajdi Cani completed a come-from-behind 5-2 victory for Peckham Town in glorious sunshine at Crockenhill last Saturday.
Peckham made the brighter start, with Yaya Barry’s movement up front causing problems for the Crockenhill defence. However it was the Crocks, relegated last season from the Southern Counties East Football League, who had the ball in the Peckham net after a quarter of an hour, but the linesman’s flag kept the scores even. Minutes later, Peckham weren’t so fortunate, as a low cross was buried at the near post by Crockenhill’s No.14 to open the scoring for the hosts.
The Menace levelled on the half-hour mark, when pressure from Hady Traore on the home defence led to a corner which was curled into the net by Nicky Meta with the goalkeeper helpless.
Peckham began the second half strongly, with Gareth Jones going close from a cutback, and then again from his own rapid break.
But it was Crockenhill that went ahead again as they benefitted from a goalkeeper error to make it 2-1.
Peckham rallied, determined not to be beaten on their first visit to Wested Meadow, and attacking the goal with their travelling support behind it, began to take a hold on the game. Barry was rewarded for his efforts leading the line, heading in a looping cross to level the scores once again.
Peckham hit the woodwork twice within a minute, before their constant pressure and the introduction of Cani put the game beyond Crockenhill. A wonderful solo goal gave Peckham their first lead of the game, before a left-footed finish by Cani across the keeper ensured all three points would return to southeast London.
Finally, Cani chased a seemingly lost cause against a demoralised Crocks defence, which gave him his third and Peckham their fifth.
Team (4-2-3-1): Paul Agu; Adam Tarrant, Hiram Laud Anderson, Alfie Bell, Hady Traore; Lukmon Mojeed (C), Alli Amisu; Kevin Dance, Gareth Jones, Nicky Meta; Yaya Barry.
Substitutes: Benson Aderibigbe, Youssef Bouimane, Klajdi Cani.