Lordswood Reserves continue their excellent cup form with another "cupset"
They did it the hard way once again as for the second round running they needed extra-time to finish the tie off.
Lordswood Reserves were looking to bounce back following their first defeat since September two weeks ago to Rusthall Reserves in the League. This game posed it's own difficulties as Peckham Town visited Martyn Grove in this Bill Manklow Inter-Regional Challenge Cup 3rd Round match.
The visitors arrived sitting bottom of the Kent County Premier Division albeit with a number of games in hand over the rest of the League which could see them rise a number of places higher. Like Lordswood Reserves, they had also reached their own cup final having secured passage to the London Senior Trophy final three weeks ago, beating higher league opposition in the form of Forest Hill Park in the semi-final.
Following almost two weeks of wet and stormy weather, the Martyn Grove pitch was holding up quite well, thanks mainly to a strong wind that blew diagonally from the changing room end for pretty much the whole game.
The visitors started the stronger of the two sides, and James Hare in the Lordswood goal had to be alert to make a routine save initially and then five minutes later beating an effort away.
Lordswood had a change of lineup in what we had seen in the recent cup games and leading scorer Zach Jakubowski looked isolated at times up front with regular strike partner Aye Ombo on the bench.
That being said, Jakubowski did fashion himself space in the opening 25 minutes but his effort was saved by the Peckham keeper. Kari Creed then picked up a yellow card for a late challenge.
With half an hour on the clock, Lordswood were awarded a penalty. A cross from the right was met by the head of Ryan Hooker who drew a good save from the keeper, but the referee saw a blatant push on Alex Taylor and a spotkick was given. Louis Payne stepped up and confidently drove his effort straight down the middle to give the Lords the lead.
The advantage was shortlived however as just seven minutes later Peckham restored parity. Callum Rollings was guilty of attempting a backpass which fell short allowing Jefroy Leslie to intercept and round Hare before finishing into the empty net.
The second half began with Lordswood with the wind at their backs and as the game progressed it turned more niggly. Alex Taylor found himself in the referees notebook following a rash challenge on the edge of the area, whilst Peckham started picking up bookings with increasing regularity.
Peckham should have done better with a free header following an excellent cross into the area from the left, but then found themselves temporarily down to 10 men when Marco Almeida was sinbinned for dissent.
Lordswood started to press and the introduction of Ombo gave an extra outlet upfront. Jakubowski again seeing an effort well saved by the Peckham keeper after being played in by Ombo.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Lordswood took the lead for the 2nd time. Callum Rollings winning a header 30 yards and sending the ball over the top of the defence where Jakubowski ran through and finished first time, his shot pinging in off the underside of the crossbar.
Once again though the lead was shortlived, and just 4 minutes later parity was once again restored. This time a rather dubious penalty was awarded with Louis Payne deemed to have tripped a Peckham player in the area despite the ball changing direction as if he had quite clearly touched it. Jefroy Leslie stepped up and scored his 2nd of the game despite Hare's best efforts in diving the right way.
So for the second round in a row, we entered extra time and with both teams visibly tiring their was a distinct lack of quality being offered. Lordswood were making the most of the roll-on, roll-off substitutions allowing key players to be given some rest and respite before potentially being brought back on again.
The first half of extratime was pretty much a non-event, but the second half brought more in the way of action. Peckham were once again wasteful in front of goal as they found themselves with a clear shot on goal but fluffed their lines horrendously as they sliced wide.
Town were then reduced to 10 men with 5 minutes of extratime remaining as Ibrahima Toure was shown a second yellow card for an off the ball incident.
With time ticking away and a penalty shootout looking inevitable, Lordswood took the lead for the third time and ultimately won the tie. Ryan Hooker scooping a ball over the centrebacks for Jakubowski to run onto and once again the prolific scorer made no mistake, lifting the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net for his 25th goal of the season.
That was it as far as the action was concerned and for the second round in a row Lordswood had beaten higher league opposition. The games don't come any easier as the opposition in the Quarter-Final will be Staplehurst and Monarchs United who currently sit top of the Kent County Premier Division.
Photos courtesy of Allen Hollands at Allen's Photography