Everybody needs good Neighbours - and Pagham have one up front

Howard Neighbour leaps to head home one of his three goals against Haywards Heath  Picture by Roger Smith
Howard Neighbour leaps to head home one of his three goals against Haywards Heath Picture by Roger Smith

Howard Neighbour scored a hat-trick as the Lions thrashed division-two side Haywards Heath in the second round of the John O’Hara Cup at Nyetimber Lane.

The visitors had yet to lose in the league but John Price’s men overcame stubborn resistance from the Blues to record a resounding victory.

They were 4-0 up at half time and the result was never really in doubt.

The rout started in the fifth minute, James Ford latching on to a throw to head past George Hyde.

Haywards Heath turned defence into attack on the quarter-hour as a sortie by Neighbour was thwarted and the visitors headed for James Binfield in the Lions goal. A low save from Binfield prevented an equaliser.

Number two came on 23 minutes, Joe Briggs’ toe-punt completely evading Hyde. A minute later, Briggs was involved in controversy when an accidental high-kick caught his opponent in the face. The referee took no action.

The visitors were still showing fight and Michael Williamson headed just over.

Pagham’s pressure led to the third on 32 minutes as Neighbour’s header from a Russell Hardwell cross rocketed in.

Binfield punching one effort away before Briggs saw a shot blocked by Ben Hall and Ford put a chance well over from a corner.

Briggs did better with a couple of minutes of the half left, rattling the bar.

The fourth goal came from the penalty spot - Hardwell was bought down and Neighbour tucked away the kick.

The second half began with a Williamson effort forcing another good save from Binfield.

Keiron Purkis found space for the Blues on 50 minutes, but his shot was too weak.

The visitors thought they’d scored, only for the assistant referee to deny them. Andrew Tuckey tried his luck for the Blues, but the strike went well wide.

Lee Bradshaw headed just wide from a corner while Binfield spectacularly tipped the ball over the bar to deny the Blues a goal.

Neil Murfin and Lewis Hamilton came on as boss John Price looked for further goals.

Haywards Heath sub Mpakomo shot wide before Neighbour finished off the visitors with another header two minutes from the end.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Hawker, Buckland, Pearce, Geoghegan, Bradshaw, Briggs, Ford (Hamilton 73), Neighbour, Hardwell (N Murfin 67), Cox (Williams 81). Subs not used: Jefkins, Hallett

JON ROSE