THE B-17 which flew over the ground prior to the game proved an omen, as Pagham were sent flying out of the FA Cup in the extra preliminary round, as fortress Nyetimber was breached for the first time this season with a 2-1 reverse to Herne Bay.
But for a single refereeing decision, the game was very much there for the Lions too. Pagham started the game at tremendous pace.
Byron Walker for the visitors was to be a threat all game, only the magnificence of Scott Hinshelwood denying him, and Herne an opening goal.
James Corbett could also have scored when a rare fumble from James Binfield allowed the Herne striker sight of goal.
A battling performance right through the Pagham team was typified none more so than for the opening goal. James Temple’s storming run and cross saw Phil Turner strike home.
A sign of things to come saw Walker taken down in the area, but the referee waved away any claims for a penalty.
James Corbett had a shot diverted over for the visitors, whilst Binfield made a superb save from a right-sided shot.
Walker was first to try his luck in the second half, as his shot went wide of Binfield’s upright.
A rare chance for Pagham’s Paul Jones a few minutes later saw the defender’s header go just wide of Dan Eason’s post.
With nine minutes of the half gone, the moment that turned the game occurred. A tussle in Pagham’s area saw a penalty awarded.
To everyone watching in the ground, the decision was controversial – with the consensus being it should have been a Pagham free-kick.
Up stepped Walker to give Herne Bay a much-disputed lead. This seemed to take some of the impetus from Pagham, and within minutes the visitors went ahead.
Paul Jones’ challenge on Walker resulted in a booking for Jones, and a goal for Tom Bryant as he headed in from the free-kick.
The Lions did all they could to claw their way back into the game. Alex Ward headed toward goal, only for Dan Eason to get in the way and save easily.
Ross Woolf came on for the Lions to add some pace to a flagging Lions side. Murfin was barged over with seven minutes to go, although his attempt for justice saw his shot go sailing over the bar.
Ryan Cox then tried his luck, from a free-kick, before a booking added to his woes. Pagham pressed on, and a brace of corners with a minute left allowed Murfin to shoot narrowly wide.
Deep into injury time, Herne sub Stacey Davis could have wrapped it up, his shot pinging back off the post.
Pagham: Binfield, Booker, Broadbent, Pearce, Jones, Hinshelwood, Turner, Ward, Temple, Murfin, Wood. Subs: Buckland, Woolf, Cox, Robinson, Simmonds.