Last-day loss can’t mask a season to savour for Pagham

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Pagham’s excellent season ended on a low note as visitors Sidley ran out worthy 2-1 winners. But it was also a day for celebrating an excellent season.

Before kick-off, the supporters’ player-of-the-year trophy was presented to defensive stalwart Paul Jones (as pictured above by Roger Smith).

The Lions lost this game but they completed the season knowing they’d made massive strides this season on and off the pitch.

Joe Booker headed away an early effort as Sidley laid siege to Pagham’s goal. The Lions suddenly found impetus with Greg Robinson trying his luck from a Scott Murfin cross. Sidley raced down the other end and Kevin Bird ruffled Pagham feathers with his long-range effort, while James Temple headed just wide for the home side.

Tremendous work by Scott Murfin could have seen Pagham ahead, only for assistant ref Duncan Carter to wave for offside.

With less than five minutes of the half left, Sidley took the lead.

Kevin Barden raced into the area for Sidley, only for a stray Pagham leg to catch him. The referee pointed to the spot and Sean Kelly tucked away the penalty with ease.

The second half began with Paul Jones’ goal-line clearance stopping Sidley going further ahead but Sidley’s second goal came in equally-controversial circumstances. Assistant ref Carter was again the villain of the piece as he flagged to give a goal which looked as if it might have been hooked off the line.

At 2-0 down, all thoughts of a second-place finish evaporated.

But a free-kick on the right was arrowed in and Booker’s back-heel bamboozled Bourne, with the goal setting up a grandstand last period.

Try as they might, the Lions couldn’t salvage a point.

Pagham later held their presentation night at Nyetimber Lane. As reported, Paul Jones picked up the supporters’ award, and he lifted the players’ player trophy. Manager’s player of the year was skipper Daren Pearce. The golden boot was awarded to Scott Murfin for his 28 strikes.

For the reserves, Dan Simmonds collected players’ player and golden boot prizes. Manager’s player of the year was Sam Devine. Simmonds also took the under-18s golden boot.

JON ROSE