Pagham were robbed of two points by some terrible officiating at Nyetimber Lane. Of five penalty decisions only one went their way, in a game where for large portions of the ninety minutes, they showed the league leaders that their current position in the table was totally false.
The game started with both sides showing attacking force, before the first controversial incident. In the 14th minute Tom Chalaye burst through the Lancing defence only to seemingly be dragged down by the Lancers keeper. No penalty, said the referee, adding insult to injury by giving a goal-kick having indicated that the keeper had got his foot to the ball.
It took Chalaye just about a minute to exact his revenge by flicking the ball home from a superb Harrison Mott cross for 1-0. Eight minutes later, Lancing’s standout player, league top scorer Lewis Finney, blasted the ball past Lewis Boughton from a full 25 yards to bring the score level at 1-1.
Three minutes before half-time, Chalaye put the Lions back in front, rounding the keeper and slotting home after great work down the right by Lewis Jenkins. 45 minutes football, 3 shots on target, 3 goals. It was warming up.
Just two minutes after the restart, Pagham got the first, and only, important decision given their way, when Joe Clarke was brought down in the box. Chalaye stepped up to claim his hat-trick by slamming the ball home from the spot, for 3-1. Triumph turned to disaster for Pagham two minutes later as Boughton’s rare mistake let in Finney to score from 35 yards.
Boughton soon made up for his error, by making two excellent saves to keep the Lions noses in front as the Lancers had their best spell of the game. Once again Pagham’s hearts were broken in the 70th minute as the referee awarded Lancing a penalty for a foul committed well outside the box, the player making sure he fell inside.
Finney claimed his hat-trick from the spot and the contest really was on. Pagham had yet another good penalty shout turned down, before their defence had to clear the ball off their own line twice in a few seconds.
The defining moment of the entire match happened in the fifth minute of added time. Pagham charged into the Lancing penalty area, only to see the keeper once again drag down an onrushing forward, only for the referee to decide he had clashed shoulder to shoulder and give a throw-in!
An excellent performance by the Lions - at last the team seems to have turned a corner. Onwards and upwards now.
Pagham: Boughton, Da Costa, Slaughter, Clarke, Clark, Geoghegan, Jenkins (Hallett), Barnes, Chalaye (Hunter), Heryet, Mott (Searle). Subs not used: Henton, Crook.
* In Tuesday night's SCFL division one action Midhurst had a dramatic 4-3 win over Roffey at the Rotherfield but Selsey and Sidlesham both lost 3-0 - the Blues going down at home to Littlehampton and Sids suffering the same fate at Wick.