It wasn’t quite the Valentine’s Day massacre some had predicted, but in the end Horsham’s higher status counted as Pagham bowed out of the Brighton Charity Cup in a 2-0 second-round defeat at Nyetimber Lane.
With the first game having been called off because of frost, this game saw a sparse crowd watching a clash which livened up only in the second half.
The two sides had met before in the semi-final of this competition, with the Hornets also victors on that occasion. Pagham gave a debut to new signing Jake Hawker while Horsham made enforced changes.
The visitors were hoping to arrest a series of results that had seen them lose six of their past eight games, while the Lions were looking for their first home win of 2012.
The game started at a good pace, with both teams looking to make their mark.
James Temple was looking lively for the home side, combining well with Howard Neighbour. James Binfield was kept busy in the Lions goal as Kerry Kedse’s speed on the wings allowed Horsham time on the ball to keep the pressure up.
George Landais had the best chance of the half – his shot was well saved by Binfield in the dying minutes.
Horsham began the second half much brighter, with a shot just wide of Binfield’s upright. Temple went close at the other end before heading the ball straight at Hunter in the Horsham goal ten minutes in.
The opening goal on the hour saw Dan Morris’ build-up give Landais the chance to strike past Binfield.
Straight from the kick-off Pagham attacked, Temple running hard at Horsham. A cross to Neighbour ended with his shot charged down.
But it was 2-0 to the Hornets with around 20 minutes left. A superb long-range strike from Landais secured his and Horsham’s second of the game.
Bikram Singh squeezed a shot at Hunter and Temple forced a corner as the Lions looked to get back into it.
A flurry of substitutions on both sides included Luke Rose coming on for his first-team debut for the Lions.
Dan Simmonds almost made an immediate impact on his introduction. Collecting the ball inside Horsham’s half, he ran towards goal but hit a shot high and wide.
The last meaningful action saw James Binfield pull off an incredible save to deny the visitors a third goal.
PAGHAM: Binfield, Buckland, Robinson, Pearce, Booker, Hawker, Hyde, Sackman, Temple, Neighbour, Singh. Subs: Urquhart, Simmonds, Boston, Rose, Williams.