Pagham Cup hopes ended by Whitehawk... three off as Lions draw at Heath
Pagham may have gone out of the FA Cup, losing in any competition for the first time in this season, but managers Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds and the Lions' fans could be proud of their effort against Bostik premier visitors Whitehawk.
Ryan Davidson was man of the match with a massive performance at the back cementing his already-good reputation.
The match kicked off with Hawks' Aaron Goode feeding a ball to skipper Henry Muggeridge, only for the threat to be snuffed out. This had the Lions going for the Hawks' throats, with Callum Overton giving Hawks keeper Melvin Minter all sorts of problems.
Harry Williams got into the act, Minter having to save well from a low shot. It was end-to-end action as former Bognor midfielder James Fraser was unlucky to be caught offside on the quarter-hour, while Harry Shooman saw a cross into Pagham's area hurriedly shuffled away.
James Binfield was busy in Pagham's goal, parrying shots and saving whatever Whitehawk threw at him. Howard Neighbour hit the post just after the half-hour for Pagham following great approach work from James Thurgar and Overton.
Whitehawk had to make an enforced change, Ed Sanders, another former Rocks man, gingerly walking off with an injury to be replaced by Ngesuasie Sisiyami. The Hawks sub didn't take long to make an impression, a superb ball into Muggeridge being defelcted for a goal kick.
Overton hit the side netting and was forced wide by Minter as he looked for that elusive first goal. There was just time for a shot wide from Muggeridge before a goalless first half came to an end.
Three minutes into the second half, the opening goal arrived. Muggeridge's cross was headed home by Fraser as the Brighton-based visitors finally made their seniority tell.
The Lions weren't completely under the cosh, Gaskin and Thurgar both threatening to pepper Minter's goal with shots. Gaskin shot just over, with Pagham exerting just a little pressure.
Just after the hour Thurgar and Whitehawk's Lucas Santos Rodrigues clashed. Down went the Hawks' No9, and the referee took a long, hard look at the situation before leaving it be. Gaskin wasn't so lucky a few minutes later, being booked for encroachment.
Thurgar was in the thick of things again and to the displeasure of an enraged Whitehawk management team and their fans, he was only booked for another tussle with Rodrigues. To be fair to Thurgar, Rodrigues was able to carry on after rolling around in some agony while the referee sorted things out.
Binfield found himself as rush goalie on 76 minutes, with Whitehawk still searching for a second goal. Hellen and Simmonds shook things up by taking off Scott Murfin and introducing Linden Miller in a straight striker swap. In raced Fintan Walsh on 81 minutes, Pagham's goal at his mercy, but there was Davidson with a superb tackle to clear.
Hawks keeper Minter was in good form a few minutes later, saving well to deny the Lions after a free-kick. The Lions upped the pressure on Whitehawk, Howard Neighbour forcing a last-ditch clearance from Walsh.
With seconds of normal time left, Overton was through on goal, only for Minter to produce a great save. The final goal came after an error in Pagham's midfield, with Hawks sub Ashley Mutongerwa given time and space to strike the ball past a blameless Binfield.
Pagham; Binfield, Williams, Thurgar (Hendricks 87), Davidson, Wollers, Horncastle (Bingham 87), Chick, Neighbour, Gaskin, Murfin (Miller 76), Overton. Subs: Humphries, Selby, HambletonWhitehawk; Minter, Walsh, Shooman, Emberson, Goode, Sanders, Muggeridge, O'Neill, Santos Rodrigues, Fraser. Subs: Broughton; Sisimayi, Mutongerwa, Malila, Addy.
Broadbridge Heath 0 Pagham 0SCFL premier
Pagham were a little below par at a dark and misty Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre and in the end were probably grateful to come away with a point.
It was an eventful match, but from the point of view of refereeing decisions and it was a game neither side really deserved to win.
The first shot came in the 15th minute when the Bears’ Scott Weller brought a smart save from Lions keeper James Binfield.
A minute later Binfield again came to the rescue with a good stop from Mitchell Clark. Ryan Davidson was booked for a foul before James Thurgar missed Pagham’s first chance, chipping wide from a good position after 34 minutes.
Callum Overton sent a shot well wide a minute later when clean through.
Overton was involved in the last minute of the half when, once again clean through, he was hacked down by home keeper Kieron Thorp 30 yards out. Thorp received a red card. George Gaskin hit the free-kick well wide.
Pagham were fortunate that league leading scorer Devon Fender was having a poor night – he miscued several second-half shots that he would usually have tucked away.
Pagham just could not seem to put the pressure required on sub goalie Richard Wetton, although Gaskin was only just wide from 25 yards.
Disaster struck the Lions on 63 minutes when defensive kingpin Davidson was sent off for a challenge on the keeper, which many in the Pagham camp felt was accidental.
Overton seemed to be chopped down in the area by the replacement keeper after 65 minutes. Rather than award the penalty, the referee decided to award the Bears a free-kick which baffled everyone.
Howard Neighbour had a 25-yard screamer brilliantly saved and Overton and sub George Bingham had decent shots fly just wide, but the miss of the game came three minutes into time added on when it needed some miraculous defending and goalkeeping to stop the Bears scoring after two of their forwards broke clear.
Having cleared the trouble, a second disaster befell Pagham when Andy Chick was shown a straight red for a reckless tackle, compounding Pagham’s night of misery.
Pagham: Binfield, Williams (Bingham), Cox, Davidson, Wollers, Horncastle, Chick, Neighbour, Gaskin, Overton (Miller), Thurgar (van Driel). Subs not used: Humphreys, Murfin.