PAGHAM maintained their four-point lead at the top of Sussex League division one as a last-minute goal snatched a 2-1 home win over Shoreham.
The Lions gave a debut to Andy Hunt, signed from East Preston, and there was the welcome sight of Jake Hawker returning from injury for a place on the bench.
Shoreham came into the game having not won for a couple of games but with better finishing they could have taken something from this match.
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The Lions started in an attacking vein, but found themselves up against a strong Shoreham defence. Dan Martin hit the post, while Shoreham’s Matt Fleming just missed the target.
The visitors’ best player Alex Laing was causing problems and the Lions back four had to be on their toes.
Shoreham did open the scoring when Kai Bichard found himself in acres of space to strike home on 25 minutes.
The first booking of a competitive match had Martin seeing yellow for Pagham. Ryan Davidson’s sublime run into the Shoreham area was stopped in its tracks as Jason Edwards scrambled the ball away.
Laing was cautioned for a tackle before Pagham peppered the Shoreham goal with shots, Neil Murfin and Liam O’Connor were unlucky to miss the target. The first half fizzled out with the visitors ahead – just.
Rob WImble entered the fray on the hour, Rob Brown leaving to deserved applause. O’Connor struck a shot over the bar, while Mike Damario dispossesed Pagham’s Johan Van Driel to start a Shoreham attack and James Binfield was called into action to clear the danger.
The Murfin brothers combined to great effect, Neil providing a short pass that Scott took well on the turn, forcing a decent save from Taylor.
Scott turned provider for Neil for Pagham’s first goal when he was brought down by Justin Gregory. The resultant free-kick was pinged in and Wimble’s clever back-heel saw Neil Murfin strike home.
Ruben French picked up a caution which resulted in a free-kick that Laing struck too close to Binfield.
Pagham’s Ryan Morey hit the bar, Laing slipped while shooting and the ball went wide, and Scott Murfin saw a shot on the turn go wide.
Hunt’s debut ended with a red card on 79 minutes when he was adjudjged to have tugged the shirt of his opponent whilst being the last defender.
A minute later, it was ten-a-side as Laing picked up a second yellow. This galvanised the Lions as they camped in Shoreham’s half, trying to find a winner.
Morey had a shot saved by Taylor and another Lions effort found the side netting.
Just when the home crowd were resigned to their first draw in three games, a corner by French fell to sub Luca-Coleman Carr, and deep into injury time the Lions had a winner.
PAGHAM: Binfield, Hunt, French, O’Connor, Broadbent, Davidson, Martin, (Coleman-Carr 81), N Murfin, R Brown (Wimble 57), S Murfin, Van Driel (Morey 73). Subs not used: Hawker, Richer.