Great Scott saves Pagham at Lancing

Action from Pagham's win at Lancing  Picture by Liz Pearce
Action from Pagham's win at Lancing Picture by Liz Pearce

TWO late Scott Murfin goals gave Pagham a 2-1 victory at Lancing and moved them up to eighth in the Sussex League division-one table.

The pitch held up exceptionally well after torrential rain in the days running up to the fixture.

Lancing were undone by Murfin’s late double when it looked for large parts of the game like they would go away with at least a point.

See Liz Pearce’s video highlights from the game here

Pagham boss John Price said: “We’re pleased to be heading in the right direction and targeting a top-six finish. We’ve a very young squad now who are working exceptionally hard for each other.”

Meanwhile, the Lions have strengthened their squad with three new additions - Kieron Playle-Howard from Wick and Barnham, Sean Newman from Sidlesham and Grant Thetford from Arundel.

At Lancing’s Culver Road ground, where the pitch looked in relatively-good nick despite all the recent rain, Pagham were almost immediately on the attack as Worthing loanee Josh Clack cut in from the right wing, but his effort rebounded off the base of the far post to safety.

James Temple was next to threaten Lancers’ goal as he outpaced Dave Sharman only to shoot weakly.

A sixth-minute effort went just wide from veteran midfielder Daren Pearce, while Murfin squandered an eighth-minute effort by firing over when well placed.

Lancing almost opened the scoring after 15 minutes as Ryan Waterman’s shot flicked off visiting stopper James Binfield’s knee, going agonisingly wide.

The hosts did take the lead in the 22nd minute as a corner pinballed around the Pagham area before Dominic Shepherd prodded home from all of a foot, with understandable claims for offside waved away.

Pagham continued to look dangerous as Temple tested James Shaw’s reflexes after 29 minutes, with the home stopper equal to it. Murfin once again tested the fencing behind the goal.

The second half saw Pagham still very much on the front foot as Temple was once again denied by some heroic home defending in the 59th minute, before Murfin blazed over when well placed in what was starting to resemble a footballing Groundhog Day for the striker.

Lancing should have doubled their lead after 73 minutes as Alex Howell beat the offside trap, latching on to Jonno Melia’s through-ball only to see his shot well saved by Binfield.

From this the visitors launched a counter-attack, Clack showing good strength on the right wing, crossing for Murfin who shot past a scrambling Shaw.

Pagham should have had a penalty in the 85th minute as Murfin was bundled over by substitute Alex Spinks, but penalty claims were dismissed by referee Barrie Small.

Things evened themselves out, though, as Murfin clinched the points with three minutes left, bearing down on goal from an offside position and after he had nudged his marker illegally, he placed the ball into the bottom corner.

Home boss Richard Whittington said: “We defended really well but gave up possession far too easily, so we were bound to concede at some point due to the constant pressure. Okay, so there was a foul in the run up to the winner but we got away with the penalty decision, so I can’t really complain.”

ANDY LUTWYCHE