Chichester City couldn’t beat ten-man Pagham as the Lions turned the formbook upside down at Nyetimber Lane with a 3-1 win.
With the Lions having nothing to play for except cementing fourth place in the league, the third-placed visitors needed a win to keep pace with the top two.
The visitors started positively with Kieron Hartley and Josh Clack looking sharp. Hartley was in a jam in the first few minutes, having to be treated as he went down heavily after a challenge.
Callum Overton, hat-trick hero against Broadbridge Heath at the weekend, was a constant threat for the Lions, keeping Anthony Ender in City’s goal very busy.
A superb move started by Terrell Lewis for Pagham ended with Lions’ Neil Murfin shooting just over the bar. At the other end a Pagham defensive slip let in Dan Hegarty, only for his shot to go wide.
On 21 minutes the game exploded. A tussle on the touchline saw Lewis shown a red card and the Lions forced to regroup.
A booking for City’s Jack Lee was followed by a Pagham penalty after Overton was felled in the area. Many in the ground thought it was just outside, but the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Overton with a fine spot-kick to Ender’s right.
Back came City, with Ben Pashley and Ifeeyani Onwauachu testing James Binfield in Pagham’s goal. As the first half came to an end, a booking for City’s Harry Williams summed things up for the visitors.
City were again attacking from the off. Three minutes in, ex-Lion Clack scored a superb equaliser, looping the ball over Binfield.
Shots were raining in all over the place, including one from Hartley that went well over the bar.
The hour mark saw Pagham’s Matt Ryan replaced by George Cody. Two minutes later, Cody scored the Lions second. Tremendous approach play from George Bingham allowed Cody sight of goal and he made no mistake to huge cheers from the home crowd.
On 69 minutes City felt robbed of a penalty of their own. The referee instead awarded a free-kick just outside the area, and the ball was safely hacked away by Ryan Cox.
Not long after that it was 3-1. A corner for the Lions was steered home by Daryl Wollers with the Lions roaring and the fans in jubilant mood.
Clack shot just wide of the upright. City made a couple of quick changes, bringing on Perry Northeast and Lewi Edwards for Hartley and the injured Ellis Martin respectively.
Cox was having a massive game at the back for the Lions, and more than once in the last few minutes he was able to repel whatever City threw at him. In time added on Edwards was booked, puzzling the watching crowd. Deep into injury time Overton almost got a fourth for Pagham as Ender fumbled the ball before recovering his composure.
Pagham: Binfield, N Murfin, Cox, Davidson, Wollers, Swain, Rowlatt, Bingham (Humphreys 63), Overton, Ryan (Cody 59), Lewis. Subs: Irish, Crouch, S Murfin.
City; Ender, Williams, French, Thoms (Hooker 61), Martin (Edwards 76) Clack, Hegarty, Onwauachu, Pashley, Hartley (Northeast 73).
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