Pagham battle to point to deny East Grinstead

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PAGHAM put their midweek cup misery behind them with a battling second-half display that saw them take a point at home to East Grinstead and stay fourth in the Sussex League division one.

A much-changed Lions squad had at least five players missing.

The visitors had the first chances as defensive unfamiliarity allowed both Aaron Watson and Tony Reid time and space to run at Wes Hallett in Pagham’s goal. Watson opened the scoring, scything a path toward Hallett and striking a fine goal.

The Lions muscled their way back into it, Lewis Hyde heading wide. Hyde went down after a clash of heads but was okay to continue.

The Wasps swarmed at Pagham – Reid, Watson and Dave Gellately all having striking opportunities – but wayward shooting meant Pagham went in at half-time only one goal down.

East Grinstead came out of the blocks quicker in the second half, with Ben Buckland forced to head back to Hallett as the visitors pushed forward.

Scott Murfin shot well over following a free-kick he won himself.

Sam Devine saw yellow, one of four Pagham bookings that mystified the crowd. Bikram Singh had a shot punched away.

Sam Devine and Joe Booker were replaced by Dan Sachman and Harry Williams.

Within a minute, Pagham equalised, Hyde’s work rewarded with a fine goal.

An impressive performance from Pagham’s Taylor Hayes was tarnished as he picked up a yellow card.

He was replaced by Andy Chick, a free-scoring forward from Pagham’s reserve side. He’d been on less than a minute before a low shot on the turn went close to a second for the Lions.

East Grinstead’s Mark Pelling nearly gave the game to Pagham with a clumsy slice in his own area.

In the final moments, Watson and Reid pressurised Pagham but the Hallett ensured it ended equal.

PAGHAM: Hallett, Buckland, Bingham, Pearce, Booker (Sackman 58), Ward, Hyde, Devine (Williams 58), Singh, S Murfin, Hayes (Chick 79). Unused subs: Rose, Robinson.

JON ROSE