Ide Hill turned in an impressive performance to end their sequence of four games in nine days with a convincing 3-1 win at last season’s title challengers Peckham Town, in sizzling 33 degree heat on Bank Holiday Monday.
Having clocked their first win at non-league level against Crockenhill two days earlier, Ide Hill came in to the game with a weight removed from their shoulders and ready to challenge themselves against a strong and established club in the division.
The visitors welcomed Callum Heath and Sam Heasman back into the wing back slots to provide dynamism on a huge pitch, whilst George Kensell got an unfamiliar role up front following a few strong cameos in the position in recent games.
And the decision quickly seemed inspired as Ide Hill raced out of the traps, sensing that Kensell and strike partner Barry Ryan had the beating of Peckham over the top, getting in behind regularly and giving Ide Hill early encouragement, Kensell firing straight at the keeper when through and Ryan having a shot blocked in the opening skirmishes.
Ide Hill now also boast a regular and imposing aerial threat from set pieces and made good use of it again here, scoring their first after 15 minutes from this source. Ben Holder floated over a trademark corner, which Barry Ryan headed back into the six-yard box where a grateful Luke Steggle nodded in from close range for his first of the season.
Ide Hill’s tails were up and they smelled blood against a side who were not as strong as expected, Jackson, Edmeads and Holder finding swathes of open space in the midfield, Heath and Heasman driving through from the flanks and causing countless problems.
A deserved second arrived after half an hour; Jackson bending over a cross from the left which Kensell bravely got to before the keeper, nodding over before receiving a punch in the head, with a spot kick given to the visitors. Jackson stepped up and slotted in to the top corner for his first of the season and a fully warranted lead.
Peckham began to get a foothold before the break, springing through the midfield and from the flanks with speed and rapid interchanges which were causing problems, but few chances were carved out here or throughout the whole game, as time and again the attacks met the formidable wall of Charlie James, Luke Steggle and captain Ben Pearson on the edge of the box who gave them nothing, with Mike McKay marshalling confidently from between the sticks.
All of the games so far have been tight, odd goal affairs, but Ide Hill gave themselves further breathing space after 60 minutes; Sam Heasman winning a free kick out wide through a surging run, then bending the free kick on to Barry Ryan’s head in the six-yard box for a simple header and his third goal in two games.
Peckham did strike back to give themselves a glimmer of hope on 70 minutes, a pot shot from 30 yards from the Peckham left back wrong footing McKay and sailing into the top corner.
But the visitors showed pleasing maturity to largely close the game out, Josh Howard provided athleticism and strong hold up play and could have made it four when he ran through and his left footed shot was palmed for a corner, as could Josh Holland who went through in the final minutes and saw a left footed volley sail just over the bar.
Manager Paul McDonagh is very pleased with the way Ide Hill are rising to the test of non-league football: “It was a great result against a strong footballing side. We have really stepped up and don’t look out of place, if anything we should be looking upwards. We were really organised at the back and always dangerous at set plays, which we could have scored four more from. The whole team worked hard for the points and the win rounds off nicely a manic first 10 days at the level”.
And individually McDonagh also praised: “Craig Jackson who rolled back the years and slotted his penalty well, George Kensell worked tirelessly up front and Ben Pearson was really strong at the back.”
Ide Hill now can recharge the batteries and look forward with optimism ahead of the weekend, a long away trip to the Kent Coast to face Hawkinge Town on Saturday, who are yet to pick up a point in the campaign.
PLEASE NOTE THIS MATCH REPORT WAS SUPPLIED BY IDE HILL FOOTBALL CLUB AND HAS ONLY BEEN EDITED BY SEVENOAKS SPORTS.