John Price’s first game as boss saw the Lions gain a valuable 2-0 win at home to struggling St Francis in division one of the Sussex League.
But the winning form didn’t extend to Tuesday night when Pagham waved goodbye to their hopes of a cup final as they lost at home to Uckfield in their John O’Hara Cup semi-final.
With the ex-Bognor stalwart at the helm, fans saw much promise in the Lions’ play.
There were early chances for both sides, one Pagham shot going just over while Kieron Pammett forced a top-class save from Lions keeper James Binfield.
He was to prove an asset throughout the game as he kept the visitors out more than once.
Jake Hawker shot across Rangers’ goal and Pagham skipper Daren Pearce struck a shot just wide.
James Temple and Scott Murfin combined to create an opening for Ben Buckland, but his shot went wide. Temple shot at Rangers keeper Rob Gordon while Louis Pople had Binfield scrambling to rescue the Lions.
Pople and Scott Murfin spurned scoring opportunites but five minutes before the break Temple broke the deadlock. Ben Buckland’s cross into the area found the head of Temple and he gratefully took the chance.
Pagham started the second half much the stronger. Dan Sachman found himself loose in the Rangers area, only for the ball to be hustled away.
Binfield spilt the ball from a shot, only to recover well and keep the Lions ahead. Off went Buckland and Sachman for Pagham as Bikram Singh and Lewis Hyde came on to add to the Lions’ teeth up front. Within a few minutes of coming on, both had made an impression – Hyde heading just wide and Singh’s left-sided cross almost giving the Lions a second.
Greg Robinson’s fine approach play allowed Scott Murfin to send in a cross to Temple, who headed just wide.
The Lions doubled their lead with five minutes to go. Singh’s industry on the left fed Temple, and he headed a second goal past Gordon.
PAGHAM: Binfield, Hawker, Robinson, Pearce, Booker, Ward, Buckland (Hyde 65), N Murfin, Temple, S Murfin, Sachman (Singh 60). Unused subs: Rose, Williams.
* AFC Uckfield proved just too good for Pagham to reach the John O’Hara Cup final with a 1-0 win at Nyetimber Lane on Tuesday night.
* A Max Thoms goal couldn’t prevent Selsey slipping to a 3-1 home defeat to division-one title favourites Rye.