Another Harry Prisk strike was to no avail for Pagham as Newhaven’s title aspirations were helped by a win at Nyetimber Lane.
With Chichester City drawing at Peacehaven the visitors kept in the hunt for title honours, this win leaving them three points behind the team from Oaklands Park.
Their cause wasn’t helped hen Pagham took a 24th-minute lead through Prisk. On his last Pagham appearance before moving away, Harry Hendrick’s assist teed up Prisk who made no mistake as he smashed the ball past keeper Buss.
It was just reward for a performance from Prisk which could have seen him score at least twice even before that opener. With a three-pronged attack of Dan Simmonds, Prisk and Liam Brady, the Lions were really showing their teeth against a skilful Newhaven side,with Buss the busier keeper.
A superb save from the Dockers stopper on the half-hour denied Simmonds was one of many as Pagham looked more likely to score. George Bingham caught the eye of the referee shortly afterwards, picking up the only booking in a competitive match in a stiff breeze.
Freddy Beale bore down on the Lions defence with Kyle Woolven howling for the ball to be passed to him. It duly was, only for Woolven to trip at the crucial moment.
A Newhaven corner on 37 minutes gave them their equaliser. The ball pinged in and out of Pagham’s area before a powerful header from Robbie Keith gave Jordan Matthews no chance in the Lions goal.
Up to that point Matthews had acquitted himself well, stepping comfortably into the role James Binfield had made his own before his last Pagham appearance in the previous match.
Pagham started well in the second half, a shot from Prisk just missing the target. League leading scorer Lee Robinson was close for the visitors, only for an offside flag to rob him of his chance, while Ian Robinson was also in on the action, shooting straight at Matthews.
A blunder by Buss on 52 minutes could have seen the Lions retake the lead, only for the Dockers’ defence to hold firm. A superb clearance from Matthews a few minutes later kept the Lions on the attack, but Rhys Smith hacked the ball away.
A superb stop from Matthews on the hour had Ian Robinson rueing his luck. An injury worry for the Lions had Daryl Wollers forced off to be replaced by Charlie Selby. His defensive partnership with Ryan Davidson had been really solid up to that point.
Goal number two for Newhaven came from Lee Robinson being allowed time and space to shoot past Matthews.
The Lions weren’t about to give up, Brady feeding Prisk, who got the ball to Simmonds, only for the opportunity to pass. Simmonds tried again, shooting at Buss as the Lions looked for a way back into the game.
Off went Prisk, to be replaced by Scott Murfin. He had been on the pitch a minute before a chance came his way, a ball in from Brady just eluding him.
Howard Neighbour went close with a header just over the bar before Newhaven got their third. With only a couple of minutes left, the referee played advantage to the Dockers after a foul and as sub Callum Connor made it three to the visitors.
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In time added on Lee Robinson again tried his luck, only for Matthews to save well. A last-gasp free-kick from Andy Chick was cleared by Newhaven.
Pagham; Matthews, Williamson, Hendrick, R Davidson, Wollers (Selby 62), Bingham (Ashmore 71), Chick, Neighbour, Brady, Simmonds, Prisk (Murfin 88). Subs: Beadle, A.Davidson
Newhaven; Buss, Beale, I Robinson, Docherty, Keith, Smith, Jallow, Jarvis, L Robinson, Franzen-Jones, Woolven. Subs:Knight, Gunn, Connor, Rhodes, Cooklin