Chichester City knock Pagham out of cup in shootout drama
Chichester City are through to the next round of the Peter Bentley Cup after a 6-5 penalty shootout win on a dramatic night at Pagham.
City keeper Jordan Matthews may have been the hero of the night with his shoot-out save, but it was the referee who dominated this cup tie.
The match officials made an already-dour cup tie worse with a series of breaks in play that spoilt the match as a spectacle.
With the visitors topping the league table, and Pagham unbeaten in the league, the scene was been set for a pulsating cup tie. Take nothing away from Chichester City, who easily showed why they are where they are, and who should have wrapped the game up long before the final whistle.
Pagham for their part were grateful to yet another masterful display from James Binfield, who time and time again saved them.
The game started well for the Lions, Andy Chick and Callum Overton keeping Matthews busy, with Ben Pashley putting in a decent shift at the back for Chichester.
See Roger Smith's pictures from the game in the slideshow, above
That the first booking didn't appear until 24 minutes in was a surprise to some. Countless free-kicks even by then had both benches speaking their minds about the refereeing. Linden Miller was the unlucky receipient of the first of many bookings.
The visitors' Kieran Hartley and Kaleem Hailham were a handful, Pagham's back line not given a moment's peace.
After the break, George Cody replaced Miller, whilst Steve Herbert came on for Dave Herbert for Chichester. Cody lasted all of five minutes before a hefty tackle left him with a shoulder injury that bought Scott Murfin into the fray.
With Murfin one of the players facing their old side on the night, the atmosphere was turned up a notch. Former Lion Terrell Lewis had a good chance, shooting acros the Pagham goal. Callum Overton was also close on more than one occasion for Pagham.
A fracas just after the hour followed a clash in midfield. George Gaskin and City's Tiago Andrade were shown yellow cards. Gaskin could have scored a few minutes later, skewing a shot just wide of the upright.
Matthews' mistimed clearance almost let Pagham in with the opening goal. Ryan Cox's booking a few minutes later may have been followed by a second yellow after a clash with Lewis. In spite of protests from the City contingent, the referee perhaps sensibly treated it as a 50/50 ball, but then rather confusingly awarded the free-kick Pagham's way.
More bookings followed, and it wasn't until time added on that a real chance appeared as Murfin's deflected shot from a corner forced City to head the ball off the line.
Two minutes into extra time Overton's great run and pass to Murfin deserved more than being cleared for a corner. Chichester had chances themselves, and a top-class save from Binfield denied them.
The second period of extra time began with Cox shooting just over the bar. Matthews followed this with a timely punch to rob the Lions of a goal before controversy with five minutes left. Chichester City were awarded a spot-kick and up stepped Andrade to break Pagham's resolve, only for the ball to sail over the bar.
Overton bothered Matthews one more time before the shootout took place. All went well with the first five spot-kicks for both sides when up stepped Hailham to tuck away City's sixth. All the pressure was on Cox, but Matthews got down to his left to save his effort, triggering mass celebrations and a pitch invasion from the Chichester bench.
Pagham: Binfield, Williams, Cox, Davidson, Wiggans, Horncastle, Humphries (Van Driel 67), Chick, Gaskin, Overton, Miller (Cody 45 (Murfin 54)). Subs: Hendrick, Ashurst
Chichester: Matthews, Lewis, Hartley, Axell, Cody (Andrade 39), Pashley, Ndlovu (Iordache 79), D Herbert (Herbert 45), Jones, Hutchings, Haitham. Subs: Anders, Dolcetti