Pagham won by the odd goal in five at Peachaven - then eased past Lancing at Nyetimber Lane. It's made for a perfect start to the SCFL season for Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds' men. Read the reports below...
Peacehaven & Telscombe 2 Pagham 3
Pagham held on to win a game they should have sewn up by half-time after conceding a late goal to give their opponents a sniff of a draw.
It started so brightly for the Lions when chance after chance fell their way early on, none of which was converted.
George Gaskin and Dan Simmonds both had chances that on another day they would have tucked away with ease, and even when Simmonds did get the ball in the net it was given offside.
Then, as so often happens, it was the home side that took the lead in their first real attack in the 28th minute.
A corner was allowed to drift far too far across the area and Peacehaven’s defender Jack Phillips’ header somehow evaded Pagham keeper James Binfield’s desperate grasp to nestle in the net.
Pagham were not behind for too long as Simmonds’ 20-yard blast came straight back off the post to the feet of Gaskin, who comfortably tapped the ball into the goal.
Things got even better for the away side after 43 minutes when a Johan van Driel corner from the right was smashed home at the near post by skipper Ryan Davidson to give Pagham a 2-1 half-time lead.
The second half started scrappily, but again chances fell to Pagham and both Gaskin and James Thurgar had chances saved before Simmonds appeared to make the game safe.
He slid the ball under the keeper and into the net following good work down the left by Thurgar and a lovely ball across the six-yard box by sub Andy Chick. That was 3-1 to Pagham and the game looked all over.
But in the 91st minute, Davidson fouled his man on the left, earning him a booking, and the ensuing free-kick was headed in off the bar by the Tye’s Brandon Kilula.
Pagham played out the extra few minutes without too much trouble though, to complete an excellent opening-day win.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Hand, Davidson, Wollers, Bingham (Horncastle), van Driel, Neighbour (Chick), Gaskin, Simmonds (Miller), Thurgar. Subs not used: Jefkins, Hendrick.
Storm clouds may have gathered over Nyetimber Lane, but a thunderous second-half performance saw the Lions record their second league win in two.
Pagham’s George Gaskin and James Thurgar had early chances for the opener. Lancing’s Jack Rowe-Hurst could also have scored, and was to prove the sharpest Lancers players throughout.
At the back, Ryan Davidson was having a great game for Pagham, repelling the visitors. With the rain teeming down, neither side could get a grip on a slippery pitch and the first half ended goalless.
The second half began with Thurgar making way for Callum Overton. A corner was scrambled away but the Lions were showing their teeth.
Gaskin sent a long shot just wide, while Dan Simmonds took advantage of a Pagham sortie to shoot at Lancing keeper Tony Di Barnardo.
On 57 minutes, Overton opened the scoring. A scything low shot gave Di Barnardo no hope.
Lancing’s Rowe-Hurst was being well marshalled by Pagham’s defence as the visitors tried to find a way past the Lions back four.
A booking for Lions skipper Jamie Horncastle wasn’t in keeping with a tough but fair game.
Overton and Simmonds could have made it 2-0 with shots on goal before a superb save from James Binfield denied Rowe-Hurst from a free-kick. Pagham’s second came from Simmonds. Out of nowhere he struck home on 76 minutes to leave the Lancers blunted.
Two minutes later it was 3-0, Gaskin collecting a Simmonds pass and smashing the ball past Di Barnardo.
Horncastle made way for Scott Murfin,as the Lions looked to increase their lead. That they didn’t was down to wayward finishing at the end.
Next up is a trip to K Sports in the FA Cup on Saturday and on this form Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds’ side should do well.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Hand, Wollers, Davidson, Horncastle (S Murfin 83), Van Driel (Chick 68), Neighbour, Gaskin, D.Simmonds, Thurgar (Overton 45). Subs: Bingham, Hendricks.