Saturday 25 January 2020

Peckham Town - Menace Arena

Peckham Town FC
Menace Arena
Southwark Sports Ground
37 Dulwich Common
SE21 7EU

07531 876736
Official Website

Ground Number: 903
Saturday 25th January 2020
Peckham Town 1-2 Stansfeld (Oxford & Bermondsey)
Kent County League - Premier Division


The club was established in 1982 by the then 13-year-old Bryan  Hall and was initially known as Brimington Park, named after the local park on which they had kickabouts. Their first game did not go to plan as they lost 18-0 in the U14 Mercury League.  For a brief spell, the club was known as Drovers Athletic, thanks to sponsorship from the Jamaican Embassy, most of their players coming from the Drovers Park housing estate. The name Peckham Town was adopted in 1983 with the club remaining as solely junior sides until an open-age team joined the Southern Amateur Sunday League in 1991. They won the competition in their debut season and continued to perform well over the coming seasons. 1997 saw the first team move to Saturday football, namely the Bromley & District League. 2003 saw them move to their present home at Southwark Sports Ground since upgraded and renamed the Menace Arena. The club were two times Bromley & District League champions before they made the step up into the non-league pyramid. The 2012/13 season saw Peckham Town join Division 2 West of the Kent League (step 9 of the non-league pyramid) which they won at the first attempt. The club enjoyed three runners-up spots in Division 1 West, finally getting promoted in 2016 as they finished behind Farnborough OBG. Since then, they've enjoyed two 3rd place and a 4th place finish in the Kent County Premier. Prior to this game, they'd had a bit of a mixed season and were second-bottom, albeit with many games in hand.

The club has not yet entered the FA Cup or FA Vase due to lack of floodlights, but they have had plenty of success in local cup competitions. Wins include the Southern Amateur Sunday League Cup (4-0 against Sutton Common Rovers in 1993 and then again the following year) and the Bromley & District League Cup in 2007. Peckham, of course, is famous for being the home of the Trotters, stars of the much-loved sitcom, Only Fools and Horses as well lesser-known, but still decent sitcom, Desmonds. The district itself has a population of 71,552 and is one of the most ethnically diverse in the UK with 70% being non-white. Famous people from Peckham include many footballers, the most famous of which are brothers Anton & Rio Ferdinand. Well-known politician, Harriet Harman represented Camberwell & Peckham as MP between 1992 and 1997. She is also a patron of the football club.


I'd been wanting to visit Peckham Town for some time, but had always been thwarted, mainly due to the weather affecting their pitch and it was easily waterlogged. My previous five attempts had been thwarted - Bexley in December 2018, Metrogas in February 2019, Croydon Athletic in October 2019 and a match against Faversham Strike Force last November were all lost to waterlogged pitches. I'd also been planning to go to a Cascadia v Chagos Islands game in May last year but that got moved to Whyteleafe. I'd originally planned in my sixth visit a couple of weeks ago and this time it actually went ahead, the only problem was that I'd made a late decision to go to Deal Town after I bagged a place on the coach for a tenner, which was around a quarter of what it would have cost on the train or in petrol. My latest attempt was ideal with the 2 PM kick-off as I had to be back for a family meal at 7 PM. The weather looked good too with no rain forecast all week and so it was with some confidence that I planned in my trip in the week leading up to the game with a good pre-match at Borough Market as well as a Burns Week special burger at Wetherspoons planned. The week before dragged as I opted out of midweek football, a good decision as it turned out with most options called off and Wycombe getting dicked 4-0 at Peterborough. The night before, I had a couple of drinks and an early night, though I'd much rather have been at a game. I'd also taken the trouble to plan in a couple of backups just in case - at AFC Green Court and Stonewall.

As a consequence of my early night, I woke at my usual work time on the day of the game. Unable to get back to sleep, I watched a few videos and cracked on with my Championship Manager 97/98 save with Wycombe. I have the current FM20 game but just can't get into it due to the overwhelming number of options that I feel have taken the enjoyment out of the game. After getting ready, I was a little late leaving and so after getting a paper and going to the cash machine I was expecting to get the 9.47 train. That never showed up, or at least it might have been moved to another platform due to engineering works. Not that there were any announcements, but in the end, I had to wait nearly half an hour for the next train. Eventually, I got on, the route taken to Borough Market was slightly different, but even so I was there at 11.10. Away from the hustle and bustle was my usual but recently moved target, The Cider House. It was tucked away in a nice quiet area. As I'd less time than I hoped, I opted for halves rather than pints. First up was Little Pomona Root and Branch and this was excellent, nice and dry just like I like it. A further half of Bad  Boy Cloudy Cider was had before I got some stuff to take away for later. It was a longer walk than anticipated to the train station but I'd left plenty of time. It was a 15-minute journey to Forest Hill, where the Capitol, my 195th Wetherspoons would hopefully provide lunch. It did indeed, I got myself a pint of Black Dragon and ordered a double Highland Haggis burger plus a mint and lemonade drink to my table via the Wetherspoons app. I decided to walk rather than take the bus and was at the ground by 1.40. After paying £3 entry I went in, getting some pictures of the ground and picking up an old programme. They were playing some great Ska tunes over the loudspeaker and also had a club tune which was nice.

Peckham Town had enjoyed a run of three wins against AFC Croydon Athletic Development (7-0 in the London FA Trophy), at SCEFL side Kent Football United (2-0 in the London FA Trophy) and at Sutton Athletic Reserves (3-2 in the Kent County League Cup) in a disrupted November and December. Since the turn of the year, they've lost 3-2 at Faversham Strike Force and drawn 1-1 at Farnborough OBG in league games.  Last week had seen a remarkable game as they came from 3-0 to beat Hilltop 4-3 and reach the semi-finals of the London FA Trophy. As a result of their cup exploits, postponements and poor home form (they were yet to win a home league game in five attempts) they were second-bottom but they did have games in hand. Stansfeld were a couple of places and a couple of points above, but they had played eight games more. They'd managed to get a 3-2 win at Ide Hill on the 30th November, but since then, they'd had little joy. They progressed on penalties after a draw at Bromelians in the Bill Manklow Inter-Regional Challenge Cup in the game after that, but since then they were winless - losing at home to Tudor Sports (1-4), Crockenhill (2-3) and league leaders Staplehurst Monarchs United (1-2) as well as a draw at Fleetdown (3-3)

No line ups nor details were available online for Peckham at the time of writing this blog, so details may be a bit sketchy. The game started brightly, but neither side was really testing the keepers. The first real effort came 20 minutes in, a Stansfeld shot was deflected but the Peckham keeper was alert and on hand to make a save. After 32 minutes, the visitors did take the lead, it was a header from a corner by Billy Jolley that gave them the lead. They were worthy of their advantage and went in ahead at the break. Two minutes into the second half, they doubled their lead. Rob Hughes got away from the defence and finished into the bottom corner. This was the cue for Peckham to start playing and although they had a lot of the ball, they rarely troubled the visiting keeper. In fact, it was Stansfeld who came closest to netting on 52 minutes, forcing a good save from the Peckham keeper who put the ball out for a corner. Five minutes later, Peckham did reduce the arrears, a good through ball found a striker who finished well from inside the area. The home bench was most upset when a late challenge was not punished by the ref, indeed Mr Wheaton turned on the Peckham sub and handed him a booking for his protests, despite no foul language being used. Stansfeld could have made sure of the win in injury time, but the home keeper made a great save from point-blank range after a good square ball found a player unmarked.

It was a deserved win for Stansfeld who controlled the first half and kept Peckham at bay in the second. The referee was in no hurry to finish the game and as he blew the final whistle at 15.57, I was behind on my journey. I had a five-minute walk to the bus stop where a bus arrived quickly but struggled through traffic. I missed my intended train by a minute and had to wait five minutes for the next one. Thankfully though, I made up time and after a couple of changes was at Marylebone ten minutes before my train was due to depart. Due to the engineering works, it was packed and I had to stand the whole way home. We were at Amersham by 5.40 and after walking back to my car, I was home by 6. The evening was spent having a Chinese New Year meal with the family, before waiting for Match Of The Day to come on. Of course, the late-night wasn't going to make the abhorrent Sunday morning rising at 4 am any easier, but I've been doing it for years and don't plan to change.



THE MENACE ARENA is a great ground for the level. There's an area of cover on all four sides. To the right, as you go in is a terrace behind the goal, holding around 50. There's a seated stand along the side, holding the same amount. Behind the other goal is a tiny stand, enough room for a few people. Finally along the other side is the clubhouse overhang, capable of holding 20. There's hard standing along this side, and grass along the other three sides. The addition of floodlights, plus more hard standing would see this ground step 5 compliant. 

There's a limited range of alcohol available, for beer drinkers, this is supplied by the Brick Brewery in Peckham. Sadly cider drinkers are stuck with bog-standard Strongbow. Soft drinks are also available, as is a range of food. Hats, scarves and badges are available, along with car stickers and keyrings. The ground is located in a residential area, so you are best off eating en route as there's nothing nearby 

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