Pagham had to wait until the very last minute of normal time before claiming a 2-1 victory in this hotly contested game with Lingfield at Nyetimber Lane.
It was super-sub Harry Prisk that grabbed the glory with a crisp drive at the end of a second half that swung both ways.
The game started with Pagham dominant all over the park but particularly in a new-look midfield. The first real action came in the 11th minute when the Lions took a deserved lead. Howard Neighbour turned the ball in from close range after Dan Simmonds, playing in central midfield, had turned the Lingers defence inside out.
In the 32nd minute Neighbour was booked for ungentlemanly conduct, which was Pagham’s first real setback of the game. Five minutes later and the first of many dubious decisions went against the home side when the eccentric referee gave the visitors a very contentious penalty for a foul inside the area. Sam Clements sent Pagham keeper Jordan Matthews the wrong way and it was 1-1.
Lingfield should have been awarded a second penalty when a clear foul inside the box was completely ignored by the referee, much to the relief of the Pagham contingent. Right on half-time Simmonds was booked by the ref for continually arguing over decisions.
Ten minutes into the second half, Lingfield substitute David Heaton was sent off for a second bookable offence having been harshly booked before the break. He had, though already got away with a nasty challenge before his second booking, only being told not to do it again.
Just after the hour, Daryl Wollers saw a yellow card for a foul on the edge of the Lions box, but fortunately the kick went straight into the defensive wall and was cleared.
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Pagham brought Prisk and Andy Chick on for Liam Brady and George Bingham in an attempt to refresh things, which it certainly did. The Lions started to dominate once again and Prisk and Simmonds (twice) could have put the home side back in front but their shots went wide or high over the goal.
Johan van Driel came on for Neighbour as the Lions pressed for a winner, but Lingfield were still very dangerous on the break, with Naseem James missing three very good chances, one an absolute sitter.
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It was Pagham that finally took the lead in the 89th minute when Prisk buried his shot in the corner from the edge of the box, having been set up by Wollers.
There was still time for the ref to miss a blatant handball by a Lions defender right on the edge of the penalty area before the whistle went to give Pagham a well-deserved and important three points.
Pagham: Matthews, Williamson, Hands, R Davidson, Wollers, Horncastle, Bingham (Chick), Neighbour (van Driel), Simmonds, Murfin, Brady (Prisk). Subs not used: Ashmore, Selby.
Pagham visit Arundel on Tuesday night and host Eastbourne Town next Saturday.