Pre-season friendly: Pagham 1 Rocks 4

Goalmouth action from Bognor's win at Pagham  Picture by Roger Smith
Goalmouth action from Bognor's win at Pagham Picture by Roger Smith
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Pagham 1 Bognor 4

A double from Terry Dodd saw the Rocks on their way to a convincing win against the Lions in a pre-season friendly at Nyetimber Lane.

A good-sized crowd saw the visitors take the lead on seven minutes as debutant Pagham keeper Lee Arnell conceded a free-kick when Dodd stepped up to fire home the opener from the dead ball.

Rocks fans had to wait only a few minutes before Dodd made it two, with a sublime header into the back of the net.

Bognor weren’t having it all their own way, though, with Joe Briggs especially looking impressive for the Lions as they build towards another tilt at Sussex League division-one glory this season.

It was Jake Hawker who almost got the Lions back in, with an opportunist shot on 25 minutes that whistled over the bar from long range.

Howard Neighbour skewed a shot wide, while the visitors set off on an attack as Pagham’s own threat broke down.

Scott Murfin could have opened his account for the season as Neighbour’s run and cross saw Murfin narrowly offside.

Both keepers were tested by free-kicks as the first half wound down, and just as thoughts drifted to a half-time beverage, Pagham contrived to score in their own net.

With Bognor 3-0 to the good at the break, the Lions needed to show some teeth in the second half.

Within a minute of the restart, Briggs went close for the Lions only for the ball to get back into Bognor’s control.

Pressure was mounting on Arnell and his defence, but they held firm with the keeper pulling off a fine save on the hour to deny Bognor.

Lewis Hamilton, on his return to Pagham colours, was through on Mark Zawadski in Bognor’s goal, the keeper winning the ball.

Briggs tried his luck from long range again before Ryan Cox came on to replace James Ford.

John Price re-organised his team, and the Lions did start to look stronger.

Then came Bognor’s fourth goal. With a foul in the area leaving the ref no altertnative than to point to the spot, up stepped Doug Tuck to tuck the ball away to give the Rocks a seemingly unassailable lead.

It was their first successful penalty in ten attempts stretching way back into last season - so Tuck might now find he has the job for life.

The Rocks went on the attack from the restart, with a game of human pinball in the Lions’ area ending as the ball was hacked off the line.

Pagham’s consolation goal came from Neighbour, continuing his scoring run from last season.

Spotting Zawadski off his line, Neighbour struck the ball out of reach of the keeper and into the net.

There was just time for a final free-kick before the whistle blew on an entertaining derby.

JON ROSE

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