Battling Blues prevent Pagham taking top spot

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Pagham missed the chance to go clear at the top of the Sussex League in a Christmas classic at Selsey.

Having already won 3-2 at the High Street Ground in the John O’Hara Cup this season, Pagham should have made sure of the win before Selsey’s late equaliser which left the final score 2-2.

The Lions took an early lead, Dan Simmonds striking with only five minutes on the clock. Keeping his place after a fine display midweek, the youngster took his chance well to beat Sam Joyce in the Blues goal.

Selsey came roaring back with Luke Killner shooting just over, Graham Bush going close and Toby Pointing testing Wes Hallett - all in the space of three minutes.

Joyce was called into action as a header from Tom Broadbent flew goalwards, only for the keeper to grab it.

Bush had another chance to equalise but headed over from a right-sided cross. Two minutes from the break Selsey were rewarded for their efforts as a cracking long-range strike from Joss Parsons put the sides equal at the interval.

Pagham were quickest out of the blocks in the second half, with Ben Buckland and Howard Neighbour creating chances. Buckland scored on the hour, capitalising on a rebound to smash the ball past Joyce.

With the Lions 2-1 up, Selsey were put on the back foot - although David Styles did create space to run and shoot at Hallett. Former Lion Calum Britton was on hand to rescue Selsey as he blocked a pile-driver from Neighbour.

The Lions went close as Simmonds put Scott Murfin through, only for the offside flag to rob him. Neil Murfin went down injured and was replaced by Matt Wood.

Sean Dobbs saw yellow for a tackle on Simmonds.

A flurry of substitutions saw Jake Lafferty and Carl Turney come on for Selsey and James Temple appear for Pagham.

A final change by Lions boss Carl Stabler saw Ross Woolf come on for Simmonds.

But Selsey were not done and Bush struck a well-deserved equaliser with just a minute of normal time left.

SELSEY: Joyce, Britton (Turney 87), Pointing, Dobbs, Boniface, Lee, Killner (Lafferty 79),

Parsons, Wimble, Bush, Styles. Subs: Tribe, Morey, Haggar.

PAGHAM: Hallett, Buckland, Broadbent, Pearce, Ward, Jones, Hyde, N Murfin (Wood 75), Simmonds (Woolf 88), S Murfin (Temple 82). Sub: S Hinshelwood.

JON ROSE