Pagham’s Vase victory leaves Moles removed

Pagham celebrate a goal in their Vase win over Molesey  Picture by Roger Smith
Pagham celebrate a goal in their Vase win over Molesey Picture by Roger Smith

A goal in each half saw John Price’s Lions through to the next round of the FA Vase as Pagham beat Molesey 2-1 at Nyetimber Lane.

Combined Counties League side Molesey didn’t let Pagham have it all their own way, but an obstinate performance from the home side meant they prevailed.

Pagham could have taken the lead in the first minute when Joe Briggs upended just outside the area, resulting in a free-kick which was eventually hacked away.

With an already lengthy injury list, the last thing Price needed was to lose another player, but a clash of heads saw Ruben French having to be replaced by Callum Cutler, marking his return to the Lions as a substitute.

The Lions opened the scoring with the help of Molesey keeper Wester Young. Briggs pinged a shot in and Young almost caught the rebound but was less than amused to see the ball end up in the back of the net. He redeemed himself a minute later with a superb stop from a Howard Neighbour shot. There were howls from Pagham for the officials on the half-hour as Ryan Cox was taken out and the referee felt it unnecessary to take any action.

More injury woe followed for Pagham on 34 minutes as Jake Hawker’s fine game was ended with a knee injury that saw youngster Tom Jefkins come on.

Late in the half, Paul Deegan forced a great save from Binfield to end an entertaining first half.

Five minutes into the second half, Molesey got their equaliser. A melee of players in the area caused problems for the Lions defence and Matt Baxter smashed the ball home.

Briggs and Scott Murfin both showed attacking intent, while Hanif Boyle for the visitors was unlucky not to score after a good run.

Baxter spied James Binfield off his line in Pagham’s goal but his speculative shot went just wide.

The Lions defence tightened up, forcing Boyle and then Dale Marvell.

A great double save from Young denied the Lions with 20 minutes to go. Murfin’s run through ended when he seemed to hesitate allowing Young to collect.

A free-kick on 73 minutes saw Briggs hit the post, but it was Neighbour who wrapped things up when a Briggs ball in was tucked away by the Lions’ leading scorer on 82 minutes.

Neighbour headed just over as the Lions held on to clinch a home tie against East Grinstead on September 21.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Hawker (Jefkins 34), Buckland, Pearce, Geoghegan, Bradshaw, Briggs, French (Cutler 13), Neighbour, S Murfin,Cox. Subs not used: Bennett, Davison.

JON ROSE