Four red cardsm four goals a missed penalty - Pagham’s trip to Three Bridges had it all. They came away with a point after the hosts fought back from 2-0 down, despite having only eight men by the end.
Here’s Paul Davidson’s report, plus news from Roger Smith on a cup win for the Lions’ second team.
Get all the local football in the Observer, out Thursday.
Three Bridges 2 Pagham 2
A huge second half-melee that led to four red cards – three of them for Three Bridges – overshadowed a game from which Pagham took a deserved point.
They led after just 90 seconds through a superb goal by Callum Overton from 40 yards out. Dan Simmonds chased a long punt up the field and put their keeper off. His clearance fell to Overton, who kicked it up into the night sky, over the stranded keeper and gently into the net.
The Lions should have doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Overton was brought down as he rounded the keeper, only for Simmonds to mishit his spot-kick, allowing Thorpe in the Bridges goal to save.
The home side started to make inroads into Pagham territory. They could have had three or four but atrocious finishing and some good saves from Lions goalie James Binfield denied them.
In the first minute of added-on time James Thurgar went on a lovely run down the left and fed Simmonds, who made no mistake and drilled home from the edge of the box.
A couple of minutes into the second half, Bridges pulled one back through George Gaskin with a wonderful shot from 25 yards which left Binfield stranded.
Three Bridges levelled it at 2-2 on 51 minutes when captain Jamie Crellin got his head to a set-piece that went up and over everybody and dropped in.
They could have made it 3-2 minutes later when a shot across goal by Lee Hall struck the inside of the post and came out.
On 58 minutes there was a huge melee after a heavy foul by Simmonds caused a fight involving of the players and both benches and ended up 12 minutes later with three Three Bridges players and Simmonds being shown straight cards.
It looked at one stage like the referee, who seemed to handle the situation very well, would abandon the game. That he didn’t was to his credit and after several substitutions by both sides, the game petered out into a 2-2 draw which was probably just about right.
Pagham visit Arundel on Saturday. Their Sussex Senior Cup semi-final against Brighton under-23s will take place at Lancing on Tuesday, March 13.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Wollers, Davidson, Booker (Parkinson), Bingham (van Driel), Thurgar, Chick (Lewis), Simmonds, Rowlatt, Overton. Subs not used: Jefkins, Horncastle.
Pagham Reserves 3 Arundel Reserves 1
SCFL Reserve Challenge Cup
Pagham Reserves gained revenge for the heavy home defeat Arundel inflicted on them in the league by winning this cup tie.
The Lions were on the attack from the start and a darting run by Jack Parkinson led to a low cross which was met at the far post by Alex Ansa-McIntyre to give the home side the lead on two minutes.
Pagham were getting their defenders forward at every opportunity with Ollie Chick and Joe Jones making runs down the flanks putting the visitors under pressure.
Tom Jefkins and Charlie Selby saw efforts go wide but the Lions increased their lead on 37 minutes when Parkinson latched on to a through-ball to rifle the ball home.
Arundel started the second half with something to prove and were causing concern in the home defence at times and on 75 minutes a mistake saw Luke Richards free to fire high into the roof of the net, giving Luke Terry no chance.
Arundel pushed forward looking for the equaliser and on a breakaway in the 83rd minute, Pagham scored their third as a defender went to head back to his keeper and the alert Parkinson nipped in to take the ball round him and slot into the empty net, putting Pagham into the draw for the next round.