GALLERY: Lions roar to top spot with win over Chichester

Two goals in each half saw Pagham roar into 2015 and go top of the Sussex League division one with a powerful display that ended with Chichester City being beaten 4-0.

At a packed Nyetimber Lane, Gary Block’s side, even without five of the normal starting XI, showed why they deserve to be ahead of the pack.

Goalmouth action in Pagham's win over City   Picture by Roger Smith

Goalmouth action in Pagham's win over City Picture by Roger Smith

Liam O’Connor’s reward for some outstanding displays this season was the captain’s armband for the Lions.

A first goal on three minutes followed a parry by City keeper Austin Holden. Dan Martin latched on to the ball and smashed it back into the net – and the Lions were off.

Andy Brown could have made it two when a superb run by Lloyd Rowlatt saw him in on goal. On a treacherous pitch he couldn’t quite reach the ball.

City came to Nyetimber Lane with plenty of familiar faces, from chairman downwards, and on the pitch ex-Pagham duo Daren Pearce and Michael Frangou pulled the strings for them.

A ball in from Keiran Hartley could have given Pearce a shot on goal, but the ball fell just short of him.

Rob Brown and O’Connor had chances at the other end, while Tom Broadbent marked his return to Lions colours with a superb tackle to deny Chichester a chance.

A City corner on 26 minutes brought panic in the Pagham defence before James Binfield smothered of the ball.

Three minutes later it was 2-0. A Pagham free-kick was pinged in by Broadbent, it rebounded off the two-man wall and back to Broadbent and his second strike smacked home off the post.

Martin went in on Holden but the keeper snuffed out any goal attempt, and Luca Coleman-Carr’s superb run saw the ball frantically cleared.

Chichester’s best chances appeared from free-kicks, but none was converted. They were possibly hard-done by with a couple of minutes to go before the break as muted appeals for a penalty were waved away.

The visitors started much the stronger in the second half. City pressurised the Lions, but every Pagham player played out of their skins.

City were forced into a double substitution on the hour. Frazer Smith came on for Julian Boniface, while ex-Lion Jack Bingham was carried off and replaced by another former Pagham player, Chris Eyres.

The Lions scored their third from a free-kick on 64 minutes. Ruben French slotted the ball to Brown and he played it to Martin, who hit his second.

Five minutes later and it was 4-0. Rowlatt unselfishly set up Andy Brown, who hit his third in three games.

With 10 minutes left, Block brought off Martin for Scott Dormer.

Chichester sent on Dan Hegarty to replace Josh Case.

Rob Brown and Dale Hayes both tried their luck, while City new boy Kieran Hartley had a good run foiled.

Block threw on Lewis Hamilton for Andy Brown with six minutes left before Sam Garnett came on for Coleman-Carr.

City sub Smith had a run and shot which Binfield dealt with admirably.

Pagham visit Loxwood on Saturday, while Chichester host Crawley Down Gatwick.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Hayes, French, Broadbent, Davidson, Coleman-Carr (Garnett 88), A Brown (Hamilton 84), O’Connor, R Brown, Rowlatt, Martin (Dormer 80). Sub not used: Richer.

CITY: Holden, Williams, Bingham (Eyres 63), Pearce, Bolton, Boniface (Smith 60), Hartley, Case (Hegarty 80), Gromett, Frangou, Taylor. Sub not used: Forry.

JON ROSE