On paper, Pagham were unbeaten in five and Selsey on a seven-game run of losses. On grass, when the sides met in division one of the Sussex League, Pagham did what was expected and won - but Selsey didn’t make it easy.
Traditionally the Seals raise their game against their local rivals, and this match was no different. With ex-Lion Max Thoms captaining the visitors, they came to get a result.
Realistically, this hope was destroyed in the first quarter-hour as Michael Frangou converted a penalty to put the Lions 1-0 up.
Josh Clack was being given opportunities down the left to raid at will and the visitors were under pressure. When Selsey did get a shot on goal, James Binfield was equal to the task.
Hesitancy in the Seals’ defence could have cost the Lions on the half hour, but it was scrambled away.
Daren Pearce’s header off the line for Pagham from a corner was perhaps the closest Selsey came.
Selsey went down to ten men on 35 minutes, a second yellow card shown.
Brad Derry ran on to a through-ball from Frangou but his shot went wide. There was just time for Selsey physio Colin Millsto race on to treat a stricken player before half-time.
The pattern of second-half play was still with Pagham. Ruben French pinged in a free-kick only for a foul on the keeper to deny the Lions a second.
Pagham doubled their lead when good work from Frangou and Clack saw the latter strike a superb goal. Clack could have scored again a few minutes later, a run ending with a looping shot nearly hitting the target.
Frangou scored his second of the game on 69 minutes. Clack was again the provider.
Liam O’Connor looked to add to his goal against Worthing, but the Seals saw the ball to safety. With Thetford and Lee Bradshaw on for Jake Hawker and Derry, the Lions were in control.
Thetford’s shot went over the bar and Selsey’s side, put together by Steve Bailey since the departure of Ryan Pharo, a spectator at this game, were almost going through the motions.
Free-kicks gave them chances but their defence were by far the busier. Determination in their ranks showed through, but their season has fallen apart at the seams.
Pagham welcome Ringmer to Nyetimber Lane on Saturday for the final home game in what has also been a turbulent season for them but one which has ended with them in the top half.