Lions start with a win at Peacehaven.
By Tony Shea
Pagham held on to win a game they should comfortably have sewn up by half-time, after conceding a late goal to give their opponents a sniff of a draw they had long since given up on.
It all started so brightly for the Lions when chance after chance fell their way early on, none of which were converted. George Gaskin and Dan Simmonds both had chances that on another day they would have tucked away with ease, but not this one. And even when Simmonds did get the ball in the net it was given offside.
And then, as so often happens, it was the home side that took the lead in their first real attack in the 28th minute. A corner was allowed to drift far too far across the penalty area and Peacehaven’s defender Jack Phillips header somehow evaded Pagham keeper James Binfield’ s desperate grasp to nestle into the net.
Pagham were not behind for too long however as Simmonds 20-yard blast came straight back off the post to the feet of Gaskin, who comfortably tapped the ball into the goal. Things got even better for the away side after 43 minutes, when a Johan Van Driel corner from the right was smashed home at the near post by skipper Ryan Davidson to give Pagham a 2-1 half-time lead.
The second half started very scrappily, but again chances fell to Pagham and both Gaskin and James Thurgar had chances saved, before Simmonds appeared to make the game safe, when he slid the ball under the keeper and into the net following good work down the left by Thurgar and a lovely ball across the six-yard box by sub Andy Chick. 3-1 to Pagham and the game looked all over.
But in the 91st minute, Davidson fouled his man on the left, earning him a booking and the ensuing free-kick was headed in off the bar by the Tye’s Brandon Kilula. Pagham played out the extra few minutes without too much trouble though, to complete an excellent opening day win!
Pagham’s Team was: James Binfield, Shay Wiggans, Mitchell Hand, Ryan Davidson, Daryl Wollers, George Bingham (Jamie Horncastle), Johan Van Driel, Howard Neighbour (Andy Chick), George Gaskin, Dan Simmonds (Lindon Miller), James Thurgar