Dan Simmonds’ double secured a 4-3 home win for Pagham over Horsham YMCA in the Southern Combination premier, but the visitors led the Lions a merry dance before Pagham prevailed in a late, late show at Nyetimber Lane.
Jon Tucker’s side were looking to get back to winning ways after a dis-spiriting defeat at Littlehampton and things couldn’t have got off to a worse start as YMCA were awarded a fifth-minute penalty, this after Dugdale had hit the post in the third minute.
Kieron Playle-Howard tripped Sam Schaaf in the box, leaving the referee no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Dean Carden, striking the ball just past a diving James Binfield.
The lead lasted all of a minute, as George Cody took advantage of a through-ball to hit a sidefooted shot into the net. The Lions started to show their teeth, MoM Terrell Lewis forcing a finger-tip save from YMCA keeper Simon Lockwood and Joe Grommett’s shot being well stopped.
Cody and Pagham’s second came just on the quarter-hour, as great approach work by Lewis saw Cody clean through to strike the ball home.
Goal number three for the Lions saw Simmonds gain justice from the spot after being scythed down in the area.
Seven minutes into injury time, Simmonds came off best in a goalmouth scramble to score his second and Pagham’s fourth to give the Lions a nail-biting victory.
Pagham were surprised by a sudden burst of attacking play by the visitors. YMCA seemed to be denied a penalty on 36 minutes, the referee awarding a goal-kick much to the fury of the visitors’ bench.
Ashley Dugdale’s shot well over the bar for the away side was a scare for the Lions. In a game without much malice, YMCA’s Dan Sullivan saw yellow as Lewis was pulled back by his shirt.
The second half saw YMCA quickest out of the blocks, Schaaf shooting just over from a Wright pass. Grommett’s run and shot at Lockwood just missed the mark, while a booking for Pagham’s Rob Brown looked less than justified.
Dugdale struck a shot just off target and James Binfield had to be at his best to rescue the Lions.
YMCA’s second came just after the hour, a right-sided cross converted by Schaaf.
This triggered a double substitution for the Lions, Jordan Warren and Grommett off to be replaced Dan Kempson and Neil Murfin. Lewis spoilt a decent display by being given a yellow card.
The visitors pushed forward seeking an equaliser, with Binfield again and again coming to the rescue. Simmonds headed over the bar with less than a minute of normal time before the drama unfolded in time added on.
Two minutes after the 90 had gone, YMCA sub Paul White scored a dramatic equaliser. They then went down to ten men, Dave Brown being sent off for a second yellow.
But the excitement didn’t finish there as, seven minutes into injury time, Simmonds came off best in a goalmouth scramble to score his second and Pagham’s fourth to give the Lions a nail-biting victory.
PAGHAM: Binfield, A Brown, Warren (N Murfin 63), Swain, Davidson, Playle-Howard, Lewis, R Brown, Simmonds, Grommett (Kempson 63), Cody. Subs: Kew, Martin.
* Goals by Dan Simmonds (2), Terrell Lewis and Joe Gromett earned Pagham a midweek 4-1 win at Arundel that took them third in the premier table.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!