The Lions’ interest in this season’s county cup ended as Three Bridges edged them out 1-0 at Nyetimber Lane – but they made up for it by reaching the John O’Hara Cup semi-finals three days later with a 2-0 victory over East Preston.
As early as the first minute of the Three Bridges clash Pagham could have taken the lead, with James Temple clean through on Simon Lekhyj’s goal but unable to convert.
Ross Woolf tested Lekhyj and Three Bridges’ Ellis Hooper was fortunate to escape a booking for two tackles within two minutes. Even more fortunate was James Grant, whose sliding tackle upended Woolf.
Tom Broadbent tried a cross-shot but Lekhyj collected. Woolf, having a vintage match on the left, saw a shot scrambled away.
Tim Rivers scored a lovely goal from long-range to give the visitors the lead at the break.
The second half opened with Rivers hitting one just over the bar and Clint Moore striking just wide of an open goal.
For Pagham, Turner was denied by Lekhyj before Murfin scuffed a shot wide as the Lions ran out of steam.
Abu Touray’s pace took him past several opponents before Scott Hinshelwood cleared.
Lengthy treatment for Broadbent saw the Lions down to ten men while physio Colin Mills did his bit.
Woolf bore down on Lekhyj’s goal to no avail. A poor Pagham clearence on 80 minutes gave Carney a chance, but he was off-target.
Lions boss Carl Stabler took off defender Hinshelwood and brought on striker Michael Frangou, fresh from a double against Horsham reserves.
Pagham sub Dan Simmonds appeared to be upended, but picked up a booking for an alleged dive.
Three Bridges’ Hooper saw yellow following a series of niggling tackles and a nasty one on Dan Simmonds.
On Tuesday, two first-half goals saw the Lions through to the John O’Hara Cup semi-finals, but East Preston can count themselves unlucky after a fiesty second-half display.
On the quarter-hour James Temple made the best of a defensive lash-up to score the opener.
The ball was knocked back into East Preston’s area by an EP defender and Temple scored with ease.
Ten minutes later goal number two arrived through Scott Murfin.
The visitors lost Alex Bryant injured and the Lions fans expected a goal feast.
But it was a forgettable second half in which East Preston looked much the better side.
Pagham had chances through Ross Woolf and Scott Murfin, but the best openings went to EP’s Matt Axell and Lewis Hamilton.