Lions fail to catch the Mullets.
By Tony Shea
Pagham drew a Bank Holiday blank in a game best forgotten. That the Arundel fans were celebrating an away point after being down to 10 men for most of the game said it all.
With the Lions coming into this on the back of the 7-1 lashing of Loxwood, and topping the league as well as being leading scorers, what could possibly go wrong. In the end it was much wayward finishing, some interesting refereeing and an obstinate Arundel performance that did for Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds' side. It could have been so different as the kick off saw Johan Van Driel take sight of goal and a rasping shot tested Arundel 'Keeper Dan Stevens. The game then swung from end to end, both Harry Russell and Ben Gray having chances for the visitors, whilst Callum Overton was looking especially sharp for the Lions. Ryan Davidson continued his good form at the back, and had chances to score himself, a header over early on deserving a goal. Stevens was being kept busy for Arundel, the Mulletts keeper flapping at a couple of Pagham strikes. With so much attacking talent on show, it was a wonder the Lions hadn't scored by the time the first controversial moment arrived. 27 minutes in, and Lions' skipper Jamie Horncastle was scythed down by Dion Jarvis. Jarvis saw red, banished from the field, whilst the freekick saw the Lions waste another scoring opportunity. Howls of Arundel derision for referee Mr Homewood on the half hour, as Ryan Cox's foul on Ben Gray was felt to be identical to the one which saw Jarvis sent off. The game continued, with a searing run from Gray Curtailed by Shay Wiggans. Another booking followed with Ash Hawkes ruffling the referee's feathers after a foul on Ryan Cox. As the game moved toward the break, Pagham still couldn't hit the proverbial with a banjo, a trio of meandering moves ending without a goal.
A change for Pagham at the break. Linden Miller, apparently carrying a knock went off to be replaced by Andy Chick. Ryan Cox's worth to the side was proven with a superb tackle on Harry Russell to deny Arundel the first goal. James Binfield was also at his best to deny Ben Gray. A couple of midfield mixups by Pagham let Arundel through, but their shooting was just as wayward as the home side. George Gaskin had a shot sail over the bar, whilst Johan Van Driel drove a shot into the side netting. Being a man down didn't seem to harm the visitors, and they were raising their game. At times they were the better side, with the Lions defence kept on their toes. Off went Jamie Horncastle to be replaced by Scott Murfin. The Lions striker didn't take long to make his mark, as he raced toward goal, only for Stevens to punch the ball away and then catch it before the Lions took the chance. Having already had a talking to from referee Mr Homewood, Ben Gray was removed from the action before he was sent off. A sensible move from Arundel Manager Simon Hull, who'd shared his views of the officials with anyone who'd listen throughout the game. Pagham's best chance came with a few minutes left. The ball pinged across goal, with the Lions strikers all lining up shots, only for the ball to amble harmlessly out for a goal kick. Both Gaskin and Neighbour could have wrapped things up before the whistle blew deep into time added on.
Pagham; J.Binfield, S.Wiggans, R.Cox, R.Davidson, D.Wollers, J.Horncastle (S.Murfin 65), J.Van Driel, H.Nieghbour, G.Gaskin, C.Overton, L.Miller(A.Chick 45); J.Thurgar, G.Bingham, H.Hendrick
Arundel; D.Stevens, R.Hallett, S.Callaghan(J.Ebling 57), L.Smith, J.Jephson, A.Hawkes(S.Brazil 79), M.Noble, H.Russell, B.Gray(G.Britton 82), D.Jarvis; C.Tite, L.Brady