Luck of Irish isn’t enough to stop Eastbourne beating Pagham

Josh Irish in action against Eastbourne - he was Pagham's scorer   Picture by Roger Smith
Josh Irish in action against Eastbourne - he was Pagham's scorer Picture by Roger Smith

A battling display by Pagham couldn’t stop them falling to their second defeat inside five days at a soggy Nyetimber Lane as Eastbourne Town won 2-1 in the Sussex League division one

Despite getting nothing from this game, Gary Block’s men have a never-say-die attitude that should keep them going in the top half.

The return of Neil Murfin is also a real bonus as he is the glue that keeps Pagham’s midfield together.

With the visitors knowing a win could take them top, Eastbourne had a couple of early chances, Liam Upton and Danny Ellis testing James Binfield in Pagham’s goal.

Scott Murfin was threatening at the other end, with Eastbourne keeper Greg Nessling not given time to settle.

Gaps in Pagham’s defence resulted in the first goal on the quarter-hour as Matt McLean tapped in a simple opener.

A slip by Eastbourne skipper Ross Sutton that let Ryan Morey through might have resulted in an equaliser for Pagham.

Joe Dryer sent a a shot tumbling past a Pagham post before Neil Murfin tussled with Andrew Henson, resulting in both being booked.

The Lions defence tightened up, with Lee Bradshaw in imperious form, and Binfield again proving his worth. Ruben French tried his luck from long range, but it sailed over the bar.

A change of shirts for the second half followed the start of the downpour.

Three minutes in, Josh Irish scored his second in two games to level the scores. The youngster made the most of a pinpoint cross to give the Lions hope.

This lasted only seven minutes as Dryer’s shot whistled past Binfield to restore the lead.

Binfield had to be at his best to parry a free-kick.

The determination in Pagham’s play showed as a stinging shot from Scott Murfin ended in the side netting. A succession of corners came to nothing for the Lions.

Eastbourne missed an open goal, Pagham put a couple of free-kicks wide of the mark, and down came the rain again.

George Cody, on for Irish, put a shot just over the bar for the Lions before striking a shot straight at Nessling in the Eastbourne goal.

In the dying seconds, a superb free-kick from French pinged back off the bar.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Bradshaw, N Hawker, Davidson, Broadbent, N Murfin, French, Coleman-Carr, Irish (Cody 78), S Murfin, Morey. Subs: A Brown, Rowlatt, McAlpine, Garnett.