Pagham’s unbeaten run continued as they thrashed Eastbourne United 6-1 in an SCFL premier-division match which will linger long in the memory.
An impeccably-observed minute’s silence was followed by a Lions display that could have seen them score 12.
Dan Simmonds’ hat-trick and a double from Callum Overton did the damage, but this was a team performance. Had it not been for Eastbourne keeper Phil Hawkins, it could have been Pagham’s biggest win in many a year.
Goal number one came on 12 minutes. Andy Chick sent the ball to Simmonds and the striker made no mistake with a sublime chip over Hawkins.
The visitors were denied as an offside flag robbed Joel Kalambayi. Frantic defending by the away side saw Simmonds unable to make the most of a great through-ball from Joe Booker.
It was 1-1 on 22 minutes, Callum Hart taking advantage of a Lions defensive error to equalise.
United’s Sam Davison was lucky on the half-hour as a cynical foul on Overton was punished just by a yellow card. The free-kick ended with Hawkins saving a shot from Overton.
Jaydon Thorbourne struck a shot across James Binfield’s goal. Another effort from Callum Hart looped towards goal then away from harm. With only a few minutes left of the half, the Lions got a second as Chick, magnificent in midfield all game, crossed for Overton to beat Hawkins.
After the break, Chick and Simmonds combined before Chick was hacked down. Simmonds took the free-kick, which Hawkins parried away for a corner.
Simmonds forced a superb save from Hawkins from close range. But Hawkins’ dreadful error on 53 minutes saw him stranded well outside his area, with Simmonds having an open net for the Lions’ third.
Excellent approach work from Shay Wiggans opened up United’s defence, but no-one was there for the cross. Max Howell tried his luck for United, a long low shot being well held by Binfield.
Lloyd Rowlatt was instrumental in number four for Pagham, feeding Simmonds, who went on an unchallenged solo run before striking the ball beyond Hawkins.
Overton hit the post and on 72 minutes he fired home a rocket which gave Hawkins no chance.
George Bingham and Simmonds were replaced by Scott Murfin and James Ashmore and Murfin marked his return from injury with a cross that forced Hawkins into a last-gasp block.
The alertness of Ryan Cox on 85 minutes stopped United getting a second. Chick was replaced on 86 minutes by George Cody.
Pagham got their sixth when Murfin continued where he’d left off before injury with a superb goal from Rowlatt’s build-up.
Overton hit the side netting before the whistle blew on a well-deserved win for Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds’ side.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Cox, Booker, Wollers, Horncastle, Rowlatt, Chick (Cody 86), Simmonds (S Murfin 75), Bingham (JAshmore 75), Overton.