Mad ten minutes against Eastbourne costs Pagham - in more ways than one

Ten minutes, midway through the second half, cost Pagham two points, any realistic chance of a top two finish and possibly the use of star-striker Dan Simmonds for the rest of the season.

Everything started so brightly for Pagham as they raced into a two-goal lead in just 11 minutes, both early strikes coming from Simmonds to lift his Lions goal tally for the season to 47.

Pagham attack the Eastbourne goal / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham attack the Eastbourne goal / Picture by Roger Smith

The first came in the third minute when a ball up the left-hand side was inexplicably missed by the Town right-back, putting James Thurgar clear to run into the penalty area. His good ball across found the unmarked Simmonds, who tucked the ball away with some panache for 1-0.

Eight minutes later Simmonds added his second with a spectacular volley from the edge of the box following a lovely cross from Joe Kilhams on the right.

Lions keeper James Binfield made one good save after 33 minutes, punching over a good shot from Town’s Evan Archibald, only for the referee to award a goal-kick. The only other worthwhile attempt in the half came from that man Simmonds again, but his 20-yard blast in the 45th minute was blocked on the line and cleared. HT: 2-0

Eastbourne made their intentions clear early in the second half and Kilhams had to be on his toes to clear off the line after a good save by Binfield fell to Chris Cumming-Bart on the rebound. Then the world caved in on the Lions in ten short minutes.

First, Simmonds was booked for arguing with the referee and then just two minutes later he was helped off the pitch by co-manager Richie Hellen after suffering what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury. He was replaced by substitute Tom Jefkins.

To compound matters, in the 65th minute, a long free-kick into the Pagham penalty area was helped on to Cumming-Bart who made no mistake from five yards out. A minute later, the referee awarded a penalty to the visitors following a bit of pushing in the box, which Cumming-Bart tucked away with some aplomb. From 2-0 to 2-2 in not much more than 60 seconds, things were not looking good for the Lions.

Lloyd Rowlatt was possibly unlucky to see a goal wiped off in the 73rd minute, the referee apparently giving a foul on the Town goalkeeper Greg Nesling by Thurgar, and substitute Jefkins had a header from a Terrell Lewis cross saved by Nessling, but that was that for Pagham. Indeed, they were indebted to keeper Binfield for stopping Eastbourne taking all three points with two excellent late saves.

Pagham: Binfield, Kilhams, Cox, Booker, Wiggans, van Driel (Bingham), Thurgar, Chick, Simmonds (Jefkins), Rowlatt, Lewis.

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