REPORT and PIC SPECIAL: Lions have Littlehampton licked
The Lions were handed a pre-Christmas gift as they beat old rivals Littlehampton 5-1.
The visitors were rooted to the bottom of the table, and with the Lions one of the form sides in the division, Pagham were expected to win.
Win comfortably they did, but not before a few scares from the visitors.
Goal number one came in the second minute as Callum Overton smashed home a Lloyd Rowlatt cross. Former Lion Dan Kempson went close from a free-kick before the Lions went on the rampage again. With only a shot from Ryan Bell to bring any Littlehampton pressure, Pagham were looking the better side as the quarter-hour approached. Matt Noble's regal shot on 21 minutes was very well parried by Lions keeper James Binfield.
The second goal a few seconds later had some controversy surrounding it. With the visiting fans insisting Overton was offside, Dan Simmonds raced in to the area, was pole-axed by Golds' Jake Chaplin and the referee pointed to the spot. After booking Chaplin, the referee blew the whistle as Simmonds gained his revenge from 12 yards. Littlehampton reserve keeper Mitchell Bromage could do nothing as the score was doubled.
The away side did exert a little pressure, Bell and Dean Stewart-Hunter both going close. Simmonds was finding the offside flag an unnecessary hindrance as time and time again he was caught in no-man's land. At the other end Lucas Pattenden was in on goal before Joe Booker hacked the ball away.
James Thurgar looked lively as he went close more than once. With the first-half all but done, it was a surprise the Lions were only two goals to the good.
It didn't take Pagham long after the restart to score their third. Rowlatt's shot rebounded to the feet of Overton and he easily beat Bromage. Simmonds wasn't so lucky a few minutes later, as Bromage this time found his keeping gloves and saved well.
Shay Wiggans' booking on 50 minutes for his tackle on Stewart-Hunter was followed by the Golds man being stretchered off. With Harry Heath coming on to replace him, the Golds were awarded a justifiable free-kick. A shot struck by Ross McKay through a melee of players pinged in off the post beyond a helpless Binfield. The Lions 'keeper followed this up from the re-start with a superb save to keep the score in Pagham's favour.
Just before the hour Thurgar thumped the ball home for Pagham's fourth. Soon Simmonds hit his second of the game. Andy Chick's defence-splitting pass allowed Simmonds his chance. Kempson saw yellow and on came Eli Amoo for the visitors, replacing Lucas Pattenden. He was on the pitch not a minute before a shot was denied by the brilliance of Binfield.
Wiggans found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time on 77 minutes, a ball in the face knocking him down and necessitating treatment. He soldiered on for a few minutes before George Bingham replaced him.
Ross McKay could have got a second for Littlehampton with a right-sided shot. Another Littlehampton substitution in the dying minutes preceded another goal-scoring chance for the Golds. Ryan Bell's free-kick clanged off the bar.
There was just time for one final shot from Golds sub Harry Heath to go past the post, and the whistle blew on another convincing Pagham victory.
Pagham; Binfield (Wiggans 80), Cox, Booker, Wollers, Horncastle (Killhams 69), Rowlatt (Van Driel 69), Chick, Simmonds, Thurgar, Overton: Ashmore, Davidson.
Littlehampton: Bromage, Sharp, Bell, Chaplin, McKay, Ball, Kempson, Noble, Cole (Tijon-Sparks 88), Pattenden (Amoo 66), Stewart-Hunter (Heath 52); Bankole, Askew.