Pagham lose to Saltdean in the battle of the big cats

Pagham's Lions, playing with ten men after Ryan Davidson had been sent off for two bookable offences, dropped yet another three points at home to the Tigers of Saltdean United.

The fact that both goals were in the last 13 minutes as the Lions were looking the better side made the defeat even harder to take for the long-suffering Pagham fans.

Pagham on the attack against Saltdean / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham on the attack against Saltdean / Picture by Roger Smith

It was the Lions' fifth defeat on the trot and eighth in the past ten games, in which they have managed a paltry seven goals. And yet it could have been so different.

The Lions looked the better side in the first half, with Harry Prisk going close on two occasions, one producing a wonderful one-on-one save from Tigers keeper Nathan Stromberg.

Probably the closest Pagham came in the half though was from a near-100-yard punt by goalie Jordan Matthews that had Stromberg scrambling.

As the first-half was drawing to a close, Davidson was sent off for a second bookable offence. There was still time for skipper Jamie Horncastle to have a rocket shot smack him in the face - causing him to be replaced at half-time by Shay Wiggans.

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Prisk again had a chance for the Lions, but once more Stromberg was up to the challenge before Saltdean had their best chance so far when a shot hit Pagham’s bar from the edge of the box and needed to be punched clear by Matthews.

On 72 minutes Prisk had another shot saved before the Tigers took the lead five minutes later, Will Berry scoring into the far corner from a direct free-kick from the edge of the area. Five minutes after that the game was sealed for the away side when Curtis Gayler slotted home from the penalty spot following a silly foul by the Lions defence.

Sub Alfie Davidson was unlucky to see his spectacular overhead kick saved right on the line following a lovely run by debutant Finlay Whitmore.

Pagham; Matthews, Williamson, Hands, R Davidson, Selby, Horncastle (Wiggans), Hambleton, Bingham (Whitmore), Neighbour, Prisk (A Davidson), Brady. Subs not used: Hubbard, Wollers.