Arundel battle back after early shock at Pagham

Michael Frangou couldn't find the target against Arundel   Picture by Roger Smith
Michael Frangou couldn't find the target against Arundel Picture by Roger Smith

A close-fought game ended with Pagham sharing the spoils with Arundel in a 2-2 draw - but how different it could have been had Pagham built on their early lead.

With less than two minutes on the clock, Scott Murfin struck to give Pagham the lead in the Sussex League division-one clash.

It lasted only a quarter of an hour as Arundel hit an extraordinary equaliser. Jordan Dudas’ shot came in from long range, and many in the ground were surprised to see the players regroup for the restart, as most thought the ball had gone wide.

Matt Wood, making a welcome return to Lions colours after a switch from Selsey, was unlucky to concede a free-kick on 25 minutes. The dead-ball came to nothing, though.

Scott Tipper and Nathan Da Costa caused problems for the Lions defence but Arundel’s pressure failed to turn into goals.

Wood was booked before the whistle went for the break.

Arundel goal-machine Tipper hit home four minutes into the second half. Lewis Jenkins tested James Binfield in Pagham’s goal and it looked like the Lions were in for another beating.

The tide turned as Josh Clack was bought down by Dudas, who picked up a booking.

This galvanised the home side and just after the hour mark, great approach work by Wood fed Jake Hawker, who made no mistake in scoring Pagham’s second.

Clack’s injury eventually forced him from the field, with Grant Thetford coming on against his old side.

Frustration got the better of Murfin and he was booked. Tipper tried his luck from long range, but missed the target.

James Fernandes looked sharp in Arundel’s goal and came out well to deny the Lions a winner on 80 minutes.

Hesitation by Murfin robbed him of another chance while a Ruben French free-kick went wide.

Wood almost had the final say with a stinging shot which went passed the post.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Jordan, French, Pearce, Hawker, Davidson, Clack (Thetford 69), Wood, Frangou, S Murfin, Derry. Subs: Bunker, Newman, O’Connor.

Pagham host Lingfield this Saturday.

JON ROSE