Weather’s terrible at Pagham - but the football is fabulous

Pagham signed off the year with a thrilling 4-3 win over Arundel at Nyetimber Lane in Sussex League division one.

Starting with a strike duo of Howard Neighbour and Scott Murfin, the home side could have been two up inside two minutes as first a free-kick and then a Murfin shot went awry.

Arundel came back into it and took the lead on ten minutes through an unlikely source. Left-back Lewis Jenkins found space in the Lions area to strike a shot past a less-than-happy James Binfield.

The game was affected by the worsening pitch and it wasn’t until the 37th minute that the equaliser came. But what a strike it was, Joe Briggs running through and smashing a fine shot past Fernandes in Arundel’s goal.

A great tackle from Jordan Dudas denied Murfin a goal on 40 minutes while Ryan Cox and Neil Murfin could also have given the Lions the lead.

Hearts were in mouths shortly before half-time as home keeper Binfield spilled a corner before pulling off a tremendous fingertip save to tip the ball over the bar.

Arundel’s final shot of the half also went over.

Arundel took the lead three minutes into the second half. Much-travelled striker James Wotherspoon scored with a shot from the left that Binfield could do little about.

Pagham stepped up a gear with Scott Murfin striking a second for the Lions on 51 minutes, Fernandes helpless in the Mullets’ goal.

As the downpour intensified, both sides had plenty of shots on goal. Max Thoms struck a superb goal for Pagham on 55 minutes, which seemed to spur Arundel on.

Fernandes spilled a Lions shot, another effort was blocked and Scott Murfin saw an effort saved by Fernandes.

With just over a quarter-of-an-hour left, the Lions got the goal their pressure deserved as Thoms hit his second and Pagham’s fourth. Briggs’ run and shot was parried by Fernandes and Thoms was on hand to hit home.

Three minutes later Thoms could have made it five with a long-range shot that smacked off Arundel’s bar.

Ryan Cox was replaced by Harry Williams for Pagham.

The Mullets weren’t finished, with Herbert striking wide and Binfield making a fine save from a header.

Michael Hamm came on for Briggs with a few minutes left.

Thoms again tested Fernandes, while the last action went Arundel’s way. Mike Huckett forced his way into the Lions area in the final minute to strike home, ending a game which was as entertaining as the weather was poor.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Buckland, Ford, Pearce, Booker, N Murfin, Briggs (Hamm 82), Thoms, Neighbour, Cox (Williams 75). Subs: Geoghegan, Hallett

JON ROSE