A roaring second-half display wasn’t quite enough as Pagham bowed out of their second cup inside a week, losing 2-1 to Colliers Wood in the second round othe FA Vase.
Already 2-0 down at the break, Gary Block’s team left themselves too much to do in the latter stages, but they played their hearts out trying.
The game started positively for the visitors, Eli Ogunseye being a real nuisance, with his darting runs keeping the Lions defence in employment.
His goal on eight minutes was reward for his persistence, as a ball floated in from the left was smacked home for the opener. Ruben French could have equalised a few minutes later, his shot saved by Wood keeper Lee Pearce.
Ryan Morey struck a shot across goal, and the Lions seemed to be edging into it. Then a second goal came for the visitors on 20 minutes.
As the ball was pinged into the Pagham area, the ball took a wicked deflection off the head of the Lions’ Rob Wimble, and past a helpless James Binfield. More bad news came for Pagham a short while after, as Tom Broadbent was sent off following a less than intimidating tackle. The resultant free-kick was saved by Binfield, and the Lions weren’t completely out of sight of the visitors.
A stinging shot from Wimble on the half-hour was parried at the last minute by Pearce, the same player following this up with a shot just wide five minutes later. Morey also just missed the target, with the half ending as Charlie Emery struck a free-kick over the bar for the visitors.
Ten-man Pagham rang the changes at half-time, Lewis Hamilton and Lee Bradshaw being replaced by Nathan Hawker and Liam O’Connor.
The latter substitution proved a masterstroke by Block as the battling midfielder contributed to a vastly-improved second-half performance.
A Pagham corner two minutes in was punched out by Pearce, while Scott Murfin put the ball just over from an O’Conneo ball in.
The referee was playing the game to the letter of the law, with some bookings more warranted than others, including a booking for the visitors’ Enoch Adjepong that looked wrong even to the home fans.
A superb run by Ryan Davidson on the hour mark ended with him bundled off the ball, and the Lions awarded a free-kick. Up stepped French, whose shot rebounded off Pearce and was hacked away to safety.
Adjepong’s shot on 65 minutes went wide of the target, but there was still that two-goal cushion. But a minute later, unselfish approach play from Wimble put Scott Murfin in, and he finished with aplomb.
Nyetimber Lane erupted, a comeback looking likely. Rob Brown found himself in the book, another debatable caution.
Josh Irish entered the fray on 78 minutes as the home side looked for at least an equaliser. This they thought they’d got on 82 minutes, but what looked like a perfectly legitimate Luca-Coleman Carr goal was wiped off by an offside flag.
Pagham weren’t finished though, peppering Pearce with shots, and had it not been for him, Colliers Wood could have been facing extra time rather than a place in round three of the FA Vase.
PAGHAM: Binfield, Bradshaw (N Hawker 45), French, Davidson, Broadbent, R Brown (Irish 78), Hamilton (O’Connor 45), Coleman-Carr, Wimble, S Murfin, Morey. Subs: A Brown, Richer.