THE Lions roared, scored three goals and took all three points as table-topping Rye fell to three second-half sucker-punches as Pagham triumphed 3-0 in their Sussex League division one clash.
With Bikram Singh and James Temple missing from the Lions front line, Howard Neighbour lined up with Scott Murfin, fresh back from a week’s vacation.
As early as the third minute the two combined to attack Rye goalkeeper Josh Pelling’s goal. Nothing came of this, and the ball found its way to the Quartermen’s Liam Upton whose shot was well parried by Pagham stopper James Binfield.
Murfin tried again on seven minutes, but Pelling saved well. Joe Booker was in action at the other end as the towering centre-half repelled a Rye ricochet.
A glancing header for the visitors was seen off by Binfield, whilst Jack Bingham saw a through-ball from Neighbour shot at Pelling.
Best chance for Rye fell to Woodley who saw his fierce shot saved by Bingham’s fingertips.
Controversy seven minutes before the break saw a studs-up challenge by Rye’s Ben Radley on Neighbour waved away by referee Mr Saunders.
Final action of the half saw Murfin’s crossfield ball to Joe Briggs cut out by Jono Richardson.
Half-time bought a change in the officials, as Mr Saunders injured his hamstring.
Assitant referee Mr Lover took over, and a qualified volunteer from the crowd took his place with the flag. Pagham started the half the brighter, Neighbour in on Pelling with a minute gone. But Rye came back, Kenny Pogue finding space in the Lions’ area, only for his shot to be cleared.
Howard Neighbour did find the goal though on 56 minutes, an overhead kick completely wrong-footing Pelling, and leaving the Lions a goal to the good.
The Rye manager decided to make a change as Wes Tate came on to add another attacking option.
The Lions received their first booking of the afternoon as Neil Murfin tangled with Ben Radley. Scott Murfin struck a shot against the side netting as that elusive second goal refused to arrive.
But arrive it did with five minutes to go. Rye were putting the heat on Pagham, only for the ball to break clear, and be sent rocketing to the other end of the pitch by Daren Pearce, and in came Scott Murfin to make it 2-0 Pagham.
Four minutes later, and Scott Murfin was scythed down in the area, leaving the referee pointing to the spot, and the striker picked himself up to stick the ball to Pelling’s left for the third.
Next up Pagham are at home to Selsey on Easter Monday, then trips to Three Bridges and Lancing, also vying for a top-two finish.
PAGHAM: J.Binfield, B.Buckland, D.Sackman, D.Pearce, J.Booker, A.Ward, J.Briggs, N.Murfin, H.Neighbour, S.Murfin, J.Bingham. Subs: L.Hyde, T.Hayes, H.Williams, S.Devine, W.Hallett.