Lions leave East Preston well-beaten in Peter Bentley Cup
Pagham's Lions roared into the third round of the Peter Bentley Cup with a resounding 6-3 win over struggling East Preston, but they didn't do it the easy way.
After a pre-match presentation to James Binfield for his recently completed feat of 250 games for the Lions, the game began.
His game didn't start in the best of ways though, conceding to EP's Dave Beaney inside three minutes. The Lions were rocked, but the visitors may have regretted scoring so early.
While EP's Lewis Pattenden looked useful, it was no surprise when Pagham scored their first on the quarter-hour. Ryan Cox's cross was well controlled by Callum Overton and visiting keeper Ben Purkis had no chance as the ball rocketed into the back of his net.
James Thurgar and George Gaskin could have added to the lead, but it was East Preston who scored next. Unfortunately for the visitors, it was in their own net. A superb shot from Scott Murfin took a wicked deflection off an East Preston defender to loop the ball over a less-than-happy Purkis.
It wasn't long after that Gaskin got his opener on the half-hour. A long-range missile shot passed Purkis and gave the Lions the lead.
Ryan Davidson was kept busy at the other end, clearing well as East Preston looked for another goal themselves. Gaskin scored next for Pagham, a fine strike evading Purkis. The visitors were still in it, though, Tom Lyne keeping up the pressure as the whistle went for half-time.
East Preston bought on Jack Barnes after the break, replacing Will Robinson. The second half started with East Preston pressure.
Ryan Quirke was proving a menace but the Lions rearguard held firm. Goal number two for the visitors came just after the hour, Dan Huet hoiking a shot past a blameless Binfield.
The Lions were still having to weather the storm before they got a 69th-minute fifth through the unlikely figure of skipper Ryan Davidson. To rub salt into the wounds for EP, Huet picked up a booking for something said out of turn.
A minute later Overton thought he'd scored, only for the offside flag to rob him of glory. EP sub Luke Brodie broke free on 76 minutes, only for the massed Lions defence to stop him in his tracks.
Next up, another Gaskin goal completed his hat-trick. A long-range shot beat Purkis and put Pagham 6-2 to the good. On came Matt Hambleton for Pagham, the under-23 striker replacing George Bingham as Pagham seemed to look for more goals.
The game livened up with East Preston getting a third. A scramble in the goal area resulted in an East Preston player lying prone in the area, and the referee pointing to the penalty spot. Jack Barnes tucked away the spot-kick but it wasn't enough to stop the Lions roaring on to a third-round tie against local rivals Chichester City.
Pagham: Binfield, Williams, Cox (Hendricks 75), Davidson, Wollers, Bingham (Hambleton 81), Chick, Thurgar (Humphries 62), Gaskin, Murfin, Overton.
East Preston: Purkis, Dacosta, Beaney, Jenkins, Lyne, Searle, Heryet, Robinson, Huet, Quirke, Pattenden. Subs: Barnes, Rafferty, Brodie, Nicholson