French connection links Lions’ home games

Scott Murfin nets the second to see off Lingfield  Picture by Roger Smith
Scott Murfin nets the second to see off Lingfield Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham left it late to see off Lingfield 2-0 in division one of the Sussex League at Nyetimber Lane.

Jack Bingham returned to the line-up, but Malcolm Harwood rang few changes to the side who drew 2-2 against Arundel. Within the first two minutes Ruben French was through for the Lions, only for his shot to be charged down by Reece Oscar in the Lingers’ goal.

A headed clearance robbed Jake Hawker of the opener as the Lions enjoyed early pressure. Scott Murfin put a shot just wide to add to Pagham’s dominance.

Michael Frangou went down after a blow to the face, but continued after the application of Lizzie O’Connor’s magic sponge. Josh Clack bore down on goal, only to be thwarted by Oscar.

Harwood’s side were playing an effective passing game and it wasn’t until the 23rd minute that Lingfield had a meaningful chance, Clinton Moore and Hidekazo Sato combining only for Moore to slice wide.

A shot from the visitors’ Harry Sintim on 39 minutes was high, wide and horrible and bought a wry smile and a cutting remark from Lingers’ boss Dixie Dean.

Lingfield were quickest out of the traps in the second half, chances falling to Sintim and Daryl Coleman.

The best chance of a goal seemed to be from a free-kick and there were plenty of these, but neither keeper was given too much to think about until Pagham’s Hawker and Lingfield’s Dom Lugard tried their luck.

The Lions’ passing game had disintegrated into a succession of long balls from the wings which neither Murfin nor Frangou could capitalise on.

Daryl Coleman collected the game’s sole booking on 69 minutes for a foul on French.

Murfin’s searing run a few minutes later saw French given the chance of the opener, but the shot was saved by Oscar.

Finally the breakthrough came in the 85th minute. Murfin’s approach play fed French in space, and he tucked away a fine goal. In the dying seconds, Murfin’s superb run and shot added a second.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Jordan, Bingham, Pearce, Hawker, Davidson, Clack (Newman 85), Wood, Frangou (Derry 87), S Murfin, French. Subs unused: Bradshaw, Booker, Nunn.

Pagham 2 Hailsham Town 2

Sussex League division one

There were two goals in each half as Pagham let slip an early lead against struggling Hailsham.

The Lions were 2-0 up inside three minutes as Ruben French opened with a screamer to be followed a minute later by Grant Thetford’s strike from a corner.

After this this game became one of missed chances as both sides failed to make the most of scoring opportunities, and half-time saw the Lions clinging to their two-goal advantage.

The second half began with Thetford in on Levett in the Hailsham goal, but the visitors then took hold of the game.

Ollie Davies struck just wide while the Lions defence had to scramble away another attack.

Hailsham boss Andy Goodchild was vocal all game, urging his troops on. The visitors, struggling in the league, began to make more of their chances and their first on 78 minutes came from a stinging right-sided cross.

Dan Bateman latched on to the ball and lashed it past Lions’ keeper James Binfield.

A couple of minutes later, the equaliser came from Ollie Davies. Given time and space, he was able to pick his spot with a shot inside the area.

There are two away games now for the Lions - at Worthing United on Saturday and Shoreham a week later - before local rivals Selsey visit on Easter Monday.

JON ROSE