GALLERY: Pagham sink Dockers to reach cup final

Pagham put the Dockers under pressure / Picture by Roger Smith
Pagham put the Dockers under pressure / Picture by Roger Smith
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Pagham finally got back on the pitch – and put Newhaven to the sword in the RUR Cup semi-final at Nyetimber Lane to reach their second cup final in two seasons.

After coming through this battle on a glue-pot of a pitch with a 2-0 win, they can now look forward to a final against old friends Chichester.

It took a while for Pagham to get into their stride and for the first half-hour they were indebted to goalkeeper James Binfield, who made a series of fine saves to keep the scores level.

It wasn’t all Newhaven, Pagham did have their moments. Dan Simmonds brought a wonderful save from Dockers goalie Jake Buss in the 17th minute and just before half-time the same player seemed to be brought down in the box, but the officials didn’t agree.

Callum Overton had a stinging shot after a great run by James Thurgar, pushed wide by Buss, having been previously booked for apparent persistent fouling following continual complaining by the Newhaven bench and fans.

Joe Booker had to be replaced by Ryan Davidson before half-time having suffered a dead-leg.

HT 0-0

The second half started much more brightly for the home side, who were on the front foot straight from the whistle. Simmonds had an early free-kick scrambled off the line and a few minutes later Thurgar had a 20-yard shot curl just past the far post.

The Lions kept plugging away and keeper Buss was soon in action again to keep out a low shot from Andy Chick and Simmonds was at it again with a 30-yard drive that Buss had to turn aside.

The pressure finally paid off in the 78th minute. Rowlatt teed up a 25-yard drive that, following a slight deflection, flew into the bottom corner of the net to give Pagham the lead.

The Lions were in no mood to let it slip and despite some serious pressure from the away side, the defence held firm and even with two late substitutions from the Dockers, they could not force a shot on target.

Jamie Horncastle was replaced by George Bingham to put some fresh Lions legs on the pitch for the last few minutes.

The game was put away by Simmonds, when, in the 91st minute, he raced through the defence and buried his shot passed a helpless Buss for a goal his effort on the night deserved.

Two minutes later, the referee blew his whistle to end the contest and Pagham were in another final.

Pagham: Binfield, Kilhams, Cox, Booker (Davidson), Wollers, Horncastle (Bingham), Thurgar, Chick, Simmonds, Rowlatt, Overton. Subs not used: van Driel, Lewis, Parkinson.

PAUL DAVIDSON