Lions hunt down the bears!
Mercurial goalscorer Dan Simmonds scored yet another hat-trick, his seventh of the season for Pagham, and James Thurgar scored for the third game running to leave Pagham handily placed in second pace in the table with just four league games to play.
The game started with the visitors from Broadbridge Heath making all the early running and Lions keeper James Binfield had to be at his best three times in the first ten minutes to keep the visitors from going in front. But it wasn’t to last.
Simmonds put the Lions ahead to stay in the 27th minute, driving home from 15 yards following up his own shot that had been saved by the Bears keeper, Conor Evento. A strange incident followed in the 32nd minute, when a fracas broke out deep in the Pagham half, that resulted in the referee sending off two Broadbridge players with straight reds and Lions Ryan Davidson for his second yellow card, following an earlier incident.
Simmonds had two half-chances to increase the lead before half-time, both flying just wide from distance, and Callum Overton had a shot saved at the foot of a post by the keeper.
Pagham flew out of the traps in the second half and James Thurgar thundered a shot home at the far post converting a great cross from Overton for 2-0 after 48 minutes. Eight minutes later and Dan Simmonds put the game away, stroking the ball home from the edge of the box after Shay Wiggans intelligent long through ball had split the defence in two. 3-0. Simmonds then almost claimed his hat-trick in the 58th minute when his 30-yard screamer flew just over the bar.
Broadbridge tried desperately to get back into the game and Scott Weller saw his long-shot smash into the bar before Binfield pulled off an excellent save from the rebound. But it was not long before Simmonds claimed the match-ball with a carbon copy of his second, this time with the defence-splitting ball being supplied by Lloyd Rowlatt after 70 minutes. 4-0 and job done.
Pagham made several changes to save legs ready for Saturday’s HUGE top of the table game at Haywards Heath, but there was still time for skipper Jamie Horncastle to pick up a booking and for Simmonds to have a go for his fourth, but the shot went high, the final whistle blew and just about everyone (except those from Broadbridge Heath of course!) went home happy.
Pagham’s Team was: James Binfield, Shay Wiggans, Daryl Wollers, Ryan Davidson, Joe Booker, Jamie Horncastle, James Thurgar (Terrell Lewis), Andy Chick (George Bingham), Dan Simmonds Lloyd Rowlatt (Johan Van Driel) and Callum Overton. Subs not used: Ryan Cox and Joe Kilhams.