Late strikes puts Lions in the RUR Cup Final!
By Tony Shea
Goals from Lloyd Rowlatt and Dan Simmonds secured a place in the RUR Cup Final on a memorable night for the Lions.
Pagham finally got back on the pitch after an almost three-week break, even if the actual pitch itself more resembled a glue-pot than a patch of grass. It didn’t matter though as they put Newhaven to the sword to put the club into it’s second cup final in two years, this to be against our old friends Chichester at Lancing FC a date still to be decided.
It has to be said it took a while for Pagham to get into their stride and for the first half-hour they were indebted to goalkeeper James Binfield who made a series of fine saves to keep the scores level. It wasn’t all Newhaven, Pagham did have their moments, Dan Simmonds brought a wonderful save from Dockers goalie, Jake Buss, in the 17th minute and just before half-time the same player seemed to be brought down in the box, but no decision was forthcoming from the officials.
Callum Overton also had a stinging shot, after a great run by James Thurgar, pushed wide by Buss, having been previously booked for apparent persistent fouling following continual complaining by the Newhaven bench and fans.
Joe Booker had to be substituted by Ryan Davidson before half-time having suffered a dead-leg.
The second half started much brighter for the home side who were on the front foot straight from the whistle. Simmonds had an early free-kick scrambled off the line and a few minutes later Thurgar had a 20yd shot curl just passed the far post.
Still the Lions kept plugging away and keeper Buss was soon in action again to keep out a low shot from Andy Chick and Simmonds was at it again with a 30yd drive that Buss had to turn aside. But the pressure finally paid off in the 78th minute, Lloyd Rowlatt teed up a 25yd drive that, following a slight deflection, flew into the bottom corner of the net to give Pagham a 1-0 lead.
The Lions were in no mood to let the lead slip and despite some serious pressure from the away side, the defence held firm and even with two late substitutions from the Dockers, they could not force a shot on target. Jamie Horncastle was replaced by George Bingham to put some fresh legs on the pitch for the last few minutes.
The game was put away by that man Simmonds, when, in the 91st minute, he raced through the defence and buried his shot passed a helpless Buss for a goal his effort on the night deserved. And that was it. Two minutes later and the referee blew his whistle to end the contest and Pagham were in another final. This one against local rivals Chichester. Now that is something to look forward to!
Pagham’s Team was: James Binfield, Joe Kilhams, Ryan Cox, Joe Booker (Ryan Davidson), Daryl Wollers, Jamie Horncastle (George Bingham), James Thurgar, Andy Chick, Dan Simmonds, Lloyd Rowlatt and Callum Overton. Subs not used: Johan van Driel, Terrell Lewis and Jack Parkinson.