Pagham caused an FA Cup shock by winning their preliminary-round replay away to higher-division Sittingboure thanks to a late goal by sub Terrell Lewis.
In a game that burst into life in the 69th minute, when Lewis was cruelly robbed of a cracking goal by some poor officiating, Pagham still came out on top 1-0 when the same player crashed home the winner in the 82nd.
It was all Sittingbourne for the first few minutes with Pagham goalie James Binfield making an excellent early save. Pagham’s first shot in the fourth minute went wide from Callum Overton but it was mostly backs-to-the-wall stuff for the away side.
Twice in a minute the Brickies could have scored – but the first chance was well cleared by Joe Booker, then Bola Dowadu blasted well over from close in.
Still the home side came at Pagham and hit the bar before they blasted another chance over.
After a quick Pagham break Scott Murfin had a shot pushed around the post by home keeper Daren Hawkes before Andy Chick imitated his hosts by smashing a fierce shot too high.
Lewis certainly thought he did. The players thought he did. The coaching team thought he did. The Pagham supporters behind the goal and even the Sittingbourne keeper thought he did.
Sittingbourne immediately went up the other end and Kane Rowland looked certain to score for the home side but once again hit his shot over. Just before half-time Binfield saved at the feet of two Sittingbourne forwards to keep it level at the break.
Pagham came out fighting for the second half and a series of long throws set up a couple of half chances they could not quite convert and despite the Brickies still creating chances of their own, the match was swinging in Pagham’s favour.
Binfield did have to make another great save as he pushed a curling shot past the post before the most controversial moment of the night.
In the 69th minute Overton made a sparkling run down the left before cutting the ball across the goal for sub Lewis, who had come on for George Cody, to blast past the helpless goalie and into the net. Or did he?
Lewis certainly thought he did. The players thought he did. The coaching team thought he did. The Pagham supporters behind the goal and even the Sittingbourne keeper thought he did. But despite the evidence of a bent stanchion inside the net, the linesman and the referee didn’t and disallowed it. The players went berserk and Jake Hawker got booked for complaining too much, but at the end of the arguments it was still 0-0.
Retribution was not too long in coming – with just eight minutes remaining a similar move down the left ended with the ball being smashed into the roof of the net from six yards by a fired-up Lewis.
Pagham celebrated like they had won the cup itself, but then had to hang on for the last eight minutes and five added.
At times the Lions’ penalty box resembled the Alamo, but for all their efforts Sittingbourne didn’t really look like scoring. The only sad part for Pagham was the sending-off of Hawker with a few minutes left for a second bookable offence, but the ten men held out and it’s on to Carshalton Athletic in the first qualifying round to try for another bit of giantkilling.
Pagham: Binfield, Hawker, Wollers, Davidson, Booker, Horncastle, Rowlatt, Chick, Overton, S Murfin (Bingham 85), Cody (Lewis 64). Subs not used: van Driel, Crouch, Irish.
See reaction to Pagham’s FA Cup win in the Bognor Observer - out on Thursday
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