Two poor defensive mistakes and a total lack of accuracy in front of goal cost Pagham dear on their first visit to The Recreation Ground, home of newly promoted Alfold FC.
The Lions started the game solidly with Tom Lyne roaring up the pitch only to see his good 30-yard shot well saved. But after that it soon started to go wrong for the away side.
In the ninth minute, poor marking in the centre of defence allowed Johden De Meyer the freedom of the six-yard box to lash his side in front.
Worse followed just two minutes later when nobody picked up the onrushing winger Kelvin Lucas as a well-hit cross found him with more space than De Meyer had had, and he joyfully smashed the ball home for 2-0.
Pagham started to find their feet and Tom Chalaye burst through, only to see the Alfold keeper pull off another good save. The Lions had several more reasonable chances to score, but unfortunately Dan O’Brien didn’t have his shooting boots on, and they all flew over the bar or wide. On a record setting day of temperatures, both sets of players were more than happy to find the coolness of the dressing rooms at the break.
The second half started where the first half had left off, with the Lions having even more of the play. O’Brien slashed another shot wide, before Joe Clarke picked up a booking for a foul and was soon replaced by sub Harrison Mott.
Two more Pagham shots flew wide of the mark, before Scott Rafferty joined Clarke in the referee’s book.
Goalie Lewis Boughton came into his own with a wonderful save, tipping a fierce Alfold shot over the bar. Three minutes later the defence helped Boughton out with a terrific one-on-one tackle that surely saved another goal.
Twice Pagham had to hack the ball off their own line as the home side pushed forward, but they also had a couple of shots at the other end, with Chalaye having one kicked off the line himself. Cian Tilley came on for the off-colour O’Brien, for the last ten minutes, and his liveliness certainly added some impetus to the Pagham attack, but the whistle went with the Lions still unable to force the ball into the Fold’s goal.
Pagham: Boughton, da Costa, Beaney, Jenkins, Lyne, Clarke (Mott), Barnes, Rafferty, O’Brien (C Tilley), Chalaye, Heryet. Subs not used: Slaughter, Searle, Crook.