It was very much a case of ‘if only’ at Nyetimber Lane as the Lions fell to their second successive home league defeat, a 3-2 reverse against Peacehaven in division one of the Sussex League.
After the rollercoaster of a 4-3 win at Lingfield, Carl Stabler’s side battled well in the second half – but by then the damage had been done.
Within the first minute Peacehaven had to clear off their own goal-line. Then James Temple was caught offside as the opening goal seemed to be destined for Peacehaven’s net.
However the visitors’ Brad Murray carried on where he’d left off in the 4-2 FA Vase victory over Pagham by scoring after only nine minutes.
The Lions again went on the offensive, Scott Murfin troubling Joe Adams in the away goal.
Keeper James Binfield had to be at his best for Pagham as a double save denied an onrushing striker on 20 minutes.
Howard Neighbour headed over for the Lions and then against the run of play, Paul Dudson doubled Peacehaven’s lead on 40 minutes, a long-range shot from the left rocketing into the net.
As the half-time whistle approached, a knee injury ended Matt Wood’s involvement, with Dan Simmonds coming on in his place.
Five minutes into the second half, it was 3-0 to Peacehaven. Joe Booker’s entanglement with Jack Lorraine saw a penalty awarded and when the spot-kick was converted, there looked to be no way back for a downbeat Lions team.
Two more substitutions for Pagham saw former Moneyfields striker Bikram Singh make his debut and Phil Turner replace Ben Buckland.
A free-kick for Pagham gave them hope, but the strike went awry.
Singh found himself clear on goal but despite three rebounds, acrobatics from Adams meant the score remained 3-0.
The Lions’ persistence paid off on 75 minutes with Temple’s left-sided shot beating Adams.
Neighbour tested Adams from long-range before scoring the Lions’ second with seven minutes left.
Into the last few minutes and Pagham fans hoped they were to witness another 4-3 win with a late flurry – but the visitors held on for three points to leave the Lions in third place and losing ground on the top two.
Pagham visit second-placed Lancing on Saturday.
PAGHAM: Binfield, Buckland (Turner 56), Hyde, Pearce, Booker, Ward, Wood (Simmonds 41), N Murfin, Temple, S Murfin (Singh 58), Neighbour. Subs not used: Robinson, Sachman.