Pagham’s perfect week puts them top

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THREE wins in six days put Pagham top of division one in the Sussex League. They won 2-1 at East Preston, beat Lingfield 3-0 at home and triumphed 3-0 at Arundel.

That put them a point clear at the top with four to play, although all their rivals for a promotion place have games in hand.

Three goals in six minutes gave the Lions all the points and second place in division one.

A fine second-half display in appalling conditions saw them to a well-deserved second win in three days.

First blood almost went Lingfield’s way as Glenn Boosey struck a shot at Pagham keeper James Binfield.

The visitors kept up the pressure, with Fleming sending a shot just wide. Jake Hawker hacked another attempt to safety.

Ryan Cox went on a mazy run, providing Scott Murfin with an opening, but he shot narrowly wide.

Binfield punched a shot away, Joe Booker frantically hacking away the rebound.

Murfin tried again with a long-range shot which was saved by Coote in the Lingfield goal.

Winger Joe Briggs was causing all sorts of problems for Lingfield left-back Raphique Howell.

The Lions could have been 1-0 up at the break, but a free-kick was expertly parried by Coote.

A Lingfield free-kick straight after the restart was cleared off the line.

Five minutes into the half, Pagham thought they’d gone ahead. Howard Neighbour struck home from a parried shot, only for the offside flag to rob him.

As the hour approached, the Lions did take the lead. Superb approach play from Briggs fed Murfin, who made no mistake.

Daryl Coleman shot over at the other end before Pagham hit their second.

Briggs again bamboozled Lingfield’s back four and his shot flew in.

Lingfield tried to find a way back, with Boosey hitting the side netting, but on 66 minutes,Murfin scored his second, his 19th league goal of the season.

It could have been 4-0 within minutes as Neighbour saw a strike come back off the post.

James Temple came on for Briggs. Lingfield kept going, with Fred Fleming hitting a good shot at Binfield.

Scott Murfin and Hawker went down under challenges, but were okay after treatment. Pagham had to clear a Matt Warren effort off the line.

Boosey shot well over before Neighbour tried a shot at goal.

A final Pagham corner saw Temple go close.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Hawker, Buckland, Pearce, Booker, Bradshaw, Briggs (Temple 72), Williams, Neighbour, Murfin, Cox. Subs: Thoms, Price, Hallett.

Pagham put in a thoroughly-professional performance to dispose of Arundel on Tuesday night.

The Lions’ dominance from set-pieces saw them secure a 3-0 victory to boost their battle to finish top or close to it.

Pagham started the brighter as a James Temple effort from close range was deflected over the bar as both sides struggled to control the game.

Set-plays looked the most likely source of a goal and one led to the Pagham opener on 24 minutes.

Daren Pearce’s corner was kept alive in the box by Scott Murfin and Jake Hawker capitalised on some Arundel daydreaming to head the Lions into the lead.

On 41 minutes Arundel struck the woodwork, Lewis Jenkins’ wonderful long-range effort leaving James Binfield rooted to the spot, only for the ball to cannon of the angle of post and bar.

The second half was somehow even scrappier than the first, and a corner was again the route to a Pagham goal. The initial ball in wasn’t dealt with and Joe Booker lashed in expertly with his left foot to extend the promotion’chasing side’s lead.

The goal started a period of good pressure from the away side and they nearly had a third when Scott Murfin burst through the defence, but his shot was palmed away by the busy James Fernandes in the Mullets’ goal.

Arundel’s inability to defend the high ball was being easily exploited and with 12 minutes to go, Pagham should have had a third. A deep cross was brilliantly attacked by Temple, but his close-range effort hit the base of the post and rebounded to safety.

However, the third came moments later. Temple was felled on the edge of the box and the excellent Joe Briggs curled the kick into the corner to seal the points for the upwardly-mobile Lions.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Hawker, Cox, Pearce, Booker, Bradshaw, Briggs (Thoms 87), Williams (N Murfin 55), Neighbour, S Murfin, Temple.

Last Thursday, the Lions took all three points at the Lashmar.

Within a minute of the second half, East Preston took the lead. Phil Turner scored his first league goal of the season against his old team to leave the Lions’ roar muted.

James Temple replaced Ben Buckland midway through the half and two minutes later, a ball into the area gave Howard Neighbour his 22nd league goal of the season.

The visiting fans didn’t have to wait long for another goal as Scott Murfin’s header flew past EP’s Roacks loanee keeper Tom Boyle.

PAGHAM: Binfield, Hawker, Buckland (Temple 68), Pearce, Booker, Bradshaw, Briggs, Ford, Neighbour, S Murfin, Cox. Subs: Williams, Davidson, Atkinson, Hallett.

JON ROSE & JAMES SANDFORD