Leaders Lions leave Loxwood with share of spoils

Liam O'Connor is about to score for Pagham at Loxwood   Picture by Roger Smith

Liam O'Connor is about to score for Pagham at Loxwood Picture by Roger Smith

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Pagham came away from a fiercely-contested match at Loxwood with a well-earned point, but must be wishing they had taken their chances to open up the gap at the top of the Sussex League division-one table when the news came through Dorking had drawn with Littlehampton.

With the back four showing changes, it took Pagham the first quarter to settle and by that time they found themselves a goal behind as Tom Familton stole in to fire past James Binfield and put the home side ahead on four minutes.

Pagham slowly got their act together with some neat passing but were stopped by some strong tackling which the referee let go.

Then on 20 minutes Liam O’Connor found space to run at the home defence, drew the keeper off his line and slid the ball home.

Pagham came to life and put some searching balls into the area to no avil.

Dan Martin, with his forceful runs, was beginning to cause trouble down the right and his ball in on 43 minutes found Rob Brown, who bundled the ball over the line to give Pagham the lead at half-time.

Loxwood looked strong after the break, looking more like the side who have only lost three games this season, and in the 58th minute after a failed Pagham free-kick, Mark Cave arrived at the far post to nod the ball unchallenged into the net.

This led to a period of home pressure and Binfield was the savour with a classy save that kept Pagham level.

With ten minutes left Pagham thought they had clinched all three points when a Ruben French free-kick found its way into the net but it was ruled out... why? Only the referee knew.

This led to a frantic final last ten minutes with both sides giving no quarter as Loxwood again tested Binfield and Scott Murfin hit the post, while French saw his free kick go just over.

Pagham will be out to hold on to top spot when they host St Francis on Saturday.

ROGER SMITH