As Carl Stabler’s first team went a point clear at the top of the first division with a 1-0 win at Crowborough and a stunning 7-0 success at Worthing, making it maximum points from their first six games, the focus at Nyetimber Lane switched to Luke Cooper’s reserves.
Scott Murfin and Dan Simmonds both struck hat-tricks in Tuesday night’s win at Worthing, which improved on the Lions’ already-excellent start.
With regulars missing from the reserves at home to Rye, the side was youthful and could have turned out to be men against boys – but didn’t.
In the tenth minute Pagham could have gone ahead, the Rye keeper twice caught flapping. Ted Griffin shot well over with only the keeper to beat. Ryan Cox was well set at one point, while Wes Hallett saved well at the other end.
The second half started with Rye having chances to score and having a penalty decision turned down. On came Sam Misslebrook and Sam Dowsett for Cooper’s team.
Four players saw yellow within a five-minute spell before Adi Rosario came on for Pagham, the Portuguese youngster doing his best to liven things up.
The save of the game came with five minutes to go when Hallett pulled off a tremendous stop.
Then Rye were awarded a spot-kick, but the attempt was well saved.