Scott Murfin’s first league goal of the season wasn’t enough for Pagham as they failed to overcome the setback of an early Ringmer goal and lost the Sussex League first-division clash 2-1.
The visitors attacked from the off against a Pagham team looking to recover from their 1-0 FA Vase replay loss at Horsham YMCA last Wednesday.
Aaron Watson’s opener came within two minutest, giving James Binfield no chance as it looped in.
Watson could have made it 2-0 with a header on to the bar while Pagham were pegged back until the tenth minute, when a shot went over Steve Allfrey’s bar.
Ringmer pressed forward against a Pagham side missing more than one regular player through injury. Scott Marshall shot just wide for the visitors and the second goal came as a deflection from a free-kick left Binfield helpless.
Joe Briggs’ run and shot was held by Allfrey and a good ball in from Keith Martin gave Briggs a second chance which he struck wide.
Max Thoms was twice put in for the Lions, with a superb ball from Harry Williams giving him his best chance, but it was cleared for a corner. Paul Jones had a rare strike at goal, but Allfrey again saved.
A tremendous strike from Williams forced a finger-tip save from Allfrey. Thoms’ overhead kick went just wide.
After the interval, Briggs’ shot was high and wide.
Jayson Sowter’s head injury stopped play but he was able to play on after treatment.
Keith Martin had a great shot well saved before Scott Murfin replaced him as John Price rang the changes.
Pagham thought they’d got a goal back just before the hour, but an unjust offside flag robbed James Temple of a goal.
But Scott Murfin’s shot on 65 minutes rocketed into the net to trigger much celebration from him after his injury problems.
Ryan Cox’s ball in almost gave Murfin another, only for the ball to be scrambled away.
The Lions were down to ten men with 15 minutes left when Harry Williams spoiled an impressive game with a two-footed tackle.
This seemed to galvanise the Lions as they started to give Ringmer real problems. Three successive corners and a great strike from Murfin deserved at least another goal.
Temple was clean through with Allfrey wrong-footed, but the opening was lost.
Ringmer’s succession of substitutions riled the Pagham bench.
Ash Harper’s strike in the dying seconds could have been the equaliser until another offside flag robbed the Lions of a goal they just about deserved.
PAGHAM; Binfield, Williams, Cox, Pearce, Jones, Booker, Briggs, Martin (S Murfin 55), Temple, Thoms, Cutler (Harper 53). Subs: Kilner, Nunn, Hallett.
Pagham 3 Rustington 0
Sussex Senior Cup R1
The Lions roared into round two of the cup - where a trip to Hailsham awaits - with a comprehensive win over struggling Rustington.
With Lee Bradshaw returning to Lions colours and Ben Buckland taking his place on the bench after injury, John Price had some defensive options.
The Lions attacked from the off and took the lead on 20 minutes and it was a suprise that no further goals followed before the break.
A scare for an already injury-hit Pagham squad came as Joe Briggs went down on 54 minutes but he was able to continue after treatment.
Pagham scored their second when Briggs cross being turned in by Ash Harper.
Rustington’s best moves were through Nathan Stock and he almost struck on 73 minutes when clean through on James Binfield’s goal.
At the other end, Rustington keeper Andy McCarthy was pulling off a string of saves to deny the Lions.
He could do nothing, though, when Howard Neighbour’s 89th-minute tap-in finished off a convincing victory.
PAGHAM: Binfield, Bradshaw, Cox, Pearce, Jones, Booker, Briggs (Kilner 63), Thoms, Temple, S Murfin (Williams 67), Harper (Neighbour 54). Subs: Buckland, Hallett.