Pagham started the new year as they’d ended the old – with a defeat to local rivals, as Arundel won 4-0 at Nyetimber Lane in a Southern Combination premier-division game.
After the 3-0 reverse at Chichester just after Christmas, Jon Tucker’s men fell to a damaging loss at home to Arundel.
With virtually a full-strength side out, the efforts of the groundstaff to get the pitch ready should have been worth it. But as early as the eighth minute, Asa Nicholson gave the Mullets the lead with a long low shot that evaded James Binfield in the Lions’ goal.
The Lions back four was looking less than settled and a mistake two minutes later could have made it 2-0 to the visitors.
Ryan Cox’s return to Nyetimber Lane did show some promise as he prompted some decent attacking moves for Pagham.
They wren’t coming off, though, and although James Fernandes in Arundel’s goal pulled off a fine double save on 23 minutes, it was always more likely the away side would score next.
The Lions’ cause wasn’t helped as Daryl Wollers left the pitch on 25 minutes with a tight hamstring, forcing a reorganisation at the back.
Half an hour in, it was 2-0 as a goalmouth melee after a corner ended with the ball in the back of Pagham’s net, David Herbert the scorer.
Two minutes later it was 3-0 as Nathan Da Costa had acres of time and space to strike home.
The Lions’ forays into their opponents’ half could have produced goals as a few corners kept the Mullets defence busy.
At the other end Cox forced a superb save from Fernandes before Lloyd Rowlatt’s two shots went wide.
Pagham went close again just before the break in a scramble but it was 3-0 at the interval.
The Lions started the second half the brighter team. Dan Simmonds tested Fernandes but it was Arundel who scored next.
Luke Richards bundled the ball home on 53 minutes to leave the Lions looking wondering where their roar had gone.
Simmonds had a header on goal that Fernandes collected, while Terrell Lewis’ shot went over the bar.
The Lions were caught out by the offside trap as they pushed for a consolation.
A corner with just over ten minutes to go was scrambled away by Arundel’s defence, which triggered another spell of pressure by the visitors.
Former Lion Ashley Hunter sent a ball rifling into the Lions’ area, but the Pagham defence scrambled it clear.
Pagham had a late corner but Fernandes saved.
The Lions are due to visit Broadbridge Heath this Saturday.
PAGHAM: Binfield, A Brown, Cox, N Murfin, Boniface, Wollers, Lewis, Rowlatt, R Brown, Simmonds, Van Driel. Subs: Davidson, Weir, Gromett, Kilhams.
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