Pagham power past Horsham to set up Sussex semi-final

Pagham celebrate a goal against Horsham / Picture by Roger Smith
Pagham celebrate a goal against Horsham / Picture by Roger Smith

Against a team from a higher league team and in the face of some questionable refereeing decisions, Pagham powered through to the Sussex Senior Cup semi-finals with a display of guts, commitment, pride and no little skill to beat Horsham 3-0.

They will join Brighton under-23s, Crawley and fellow SCFL premier side Saltdean in the last four.

Despite being down to ten men after skipper Ryan Cox was controversially sent off as early as the 20th minute, the home side scored two excellent goals and one spectacular one.

And with keeper James Binfield putting in one of the great performances between the posts, Horsham went away wondering why they had been so outplayed.

The fun started in the eighth minute when some stunning work down the left by Dan Simmonds and Andy Chick ended with Chick putting a brilliant cross into the box, where Callum Overton smashed home.

On 20 minutes Cox was shown a straight red card for a clash just outside the Pagham area. Referee Steven Hughes was surrounded by the entire Horsham team.

The ensuing free-kick brought the first excellent save of the night by Binfield, low down to his left.

Thirteen minutes later Horsham were awarded a free-kick just outside the box when most felt the Horsham forward had trodden on the ball and fallen over. Binfield rose high to his left to push the ball over for a corner, which came to nothing.

For the last ten minutes of the half Horsham turned up the pressure but despite various corners could not manage another shot on target.

Ref Hughes started the second half by booking Shay Wiggans on the halfway line apparently for something he said. But in the 53rd minute, Pagham went further ahead through another top-class goal, scored by Overton after a spectacular overhead kick by Simmonds from a James Thurgar corner.

Five minutes later and it could have been three, when Hornets keeper Pelling was forced into an excellent save from Overton after a terrific through-ball by Lloyd Rowlatt. At the other end Binfield dived to push away a one-on-one shot from Horsham.

Then came more controversy. For no reason anyone in the Pagham camp could see, referee Hughes awarded Horsham a penalty as Pagham cleared a corner.

To prove that sometimes justice is done, Binfield made a stunning save that really seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Hornets.

Two minutes later, in the 68th minute, Simmonds scored a contender for goal of the season when he collected a long kick from Binfield, turned his man and crashed the ball home from the corner of the area.

Pagham played out the last few minutes making various substitutions to save tired legs before the whistle went and Pagham were in yet another semi-final.

Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Cox, Davidson, Wollers, Bingham (van Driel), Thurgar (Parkinson), Chick, Simmonds, Rowlatt (Hawker), Overton. Sub not used: Lewis.

PAUL DAVIDSON