James Ford’s second-half winner ensured the Pagham roared on in the FA Cup with a 2-1 extra preliminary round win over Sevenoaks.
But as Pagham boss John Price said after the game, more clinical finishing could have put this game out of reach by half-time.
The Lions welcomed back Joe Booker, with Scott Murfin on the bench following a knee injury.
The opening goal came in the third minute, Max Thoms getting his fourth of the season as fine build-up play allowed the striker to smack the ball past a stranded Matt Bailey.
The early exchanges were in Pagham’s favour, Sevenoaks relying on free-kicks for any sight of Andy Smallpeice’s goal.
An injury to Sevenoaks’ Matt Dennis held up play before Adam Horne almost equalised for the visitors with a looping shot that everyone thought was well over. Only the acrobatics of Smallpiece kept the score 1-0 to the Lions.
This spurred on Sevenoaks and Gerald Akosa, a threat all game for them, went close on the half-hour.
A minute later Callum Cutler could have got a second for Pagham but his shot came back off the crossbar. Joe Briggs’ shot was palmed away for a corner by Bailey.
Akosa was given acres of room only to see his final ball let him down. Karl Balogun threaded a hole in the Lions’ defence but his opportunity also went begging.
The second half started with Briggs testing Bailey, the Sevenoaks keeper conceding a corner.
Briggs was treated for a head injury but was able to continue and soon he was trying his luck with a shot that went over the keeper and the bar and startled some crows in the trees behind the goal.
A good recovery by Sevenoaks’ Lee Warren robbed Thoms of a second goal.
A booking for Cutler on 62 minutes following a late tackle was the only yellow card in a competitive game.
Ryan Cox was replaced by James Temple to give the forward line extra height and presence.
Sevenoaks levelled through a superb long-range shot from Gorin Khan on his debut.
Temple was twice narrowly wide as the home side tried to press and in the 76th minute their advantage was restored.
Ford took advantage of a low ball into the area to give the Lions the lead.
Luke Killner replaced Neil Murfin for the Lions and immediately made an impact with a searing run that should have ended in another goal.
In time added on, a farcical back pass allowed Max Thoms a sight of goal. As he rounded Bailey, the keeper managed to rescue his side. Temple had the last scoring chance but missed the target.
PAGHAM: Smallpeice, Hawker, Ford, Pearce, Booker, Jones, Briggs, N Murfin (Killner 77), Thoms, Cutler, Cox (Temple 64). Subs not used: Eyres, S Murfin, Binfield.