Pagham live to fight another day in FA Cup after draw in Kent

Scorer George Cody / Picture by Roger Smith
Scorer George Cody / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham avoided falling at the first hurdle in the FA Cup by taking a deserved draw in a tricky tie at South East Counties League Tunbridge Wells

After a scoreless first half, the Lions took the lead just after the break only for their opponents to equalise with a freak goal 15 minutes from the end.

The first half started with both sides playing end to end football, before the Wells started to get on top. Pagham had their moments though, skipper Jack Barnes smashing a half-chance just over the bar and Jake Heryet squirting a shot just wide of the post, before Barnes once again came close with a 40 yard lob, with the blustery wind behind him, that keeper Taylor caught on the line.

Disaster almost struck the Lions as the first half went into added on time, when the referee awarded a controversial penalty to Tunbridge after a Wells forward tumbled over a leg well inside the area. The problem was averted though as Jake Beecroft belted the ball high over the bar, meaning the score at the break remained 0-0.

The second half started with Pagham having their best spell of the game. After George Cody had driven a shot wide, he made up for it in the 48th minute by slotting the ball under Taylor for a 1-0 lead, after an excellent run and cross from Hayden Hunter.

Hunter, who signed during the week, was making his debut a year after he had originally signed for the Lions - he missed the whole of last season through injuries. He had replaced Cian Tilley at the break after the latter suffered a dead-leg.

Just after the hour mark, Cody had a good looking cross intercepted after a sparkling run down the left-wing as Pagham kept the home defence occupied.

Scott Rafferty was replaced by Mozzie Albar soon after but on 75 minutes Pagham’s afternoon took a turn for the worst when Tunbridge equalised with a fluke goal as a shot from George Blake banged into a Lions defender and flew into the opposite corner.

Scott Slaughter came on for a tiring Jack Barnes but it was more or less the home team all the way following that, hitting the bar after 78 minutes and bringing a superb save out of Lions goalie Lewis Boughton a minute before the end, pushing a fierce shot up and over the bar. Pagham then played the added time out comfortably enough to earn a replay on Tuesday evening back at Nyetimber Lane.

Pagham: Boughton, da Costa, Hallett, Clarke, Jelley, Jenkins, Heryet, Barnes (Slaughter), C Tilley (Hunter), Rafferty (Albar), Cody. Unused subs: Mott, Britton.