Crawley Down comeback leaves Pagham grounded at Gatwick

Pagham lost despite having been a goal up, although exactly how they did so was not immediately apparent

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 3:00 pm
Lukas Franzen-Jones put Pagham ahead at Crawley Down Gatwick / Picture: Roger Smith

Starting as the better-looking side they could easily have gone in front in the 22nd minute when, following an excellent run and cross by Toby Funnell, both Callum Chalmers and Jamie Carroll had goalbound shots blocked.

The Lions were not having it all their own way and were indebted to keeper Jordan Matthews for the first of a string of fine saves after 31 minutes.

Back up the other end went Pagham and Carroll had another good shot pushed away by the keeper. Matthews was twice more at his best before half-time, once low down and once pushing a hard shot over for a corner.

Pagham burst out of the traps after the interval and took the lead in the 49th minute, when Lukas Franzen-Jones scored with a venomous shot from the edge of the box, having been set up nicely by Joe Clarke.

Matthews once again saved his side before it appeared that the Lions had had another slice of good luck, when Anvils goalie Sam Smith had to hobble off to be replaced by striker Oscar Weddell. These things often seem to backfire somehow, though, and did for the Lions in this instance - as from then on Pagham failed to register another shot at goal.

Instead it was the home side that prospered, equalising on 66 minutes when an unmarked Oli Leslie headed home from close range.

It got even worse for the away side when Michael Belli smashed home from the edge of the penalty area after Pagham had failed to clear a corner four minutes later. It took two more excellent saves by Matthews to at least keep the Lions in the hunt.

Pagham: Matthews, da Costa, Barnes, Clarke (Howard), Geoghegan, Searle, Carroll (Heryet), Jenkins (Slaughter), Chalmers, Franzen-Jones, Funnell. Subs not used: Henton, Hallett.

Nest up for Pagham is Newhaven's visit to Nyetimber Lane on Saturday (Jan 25).