Lions beat the leaders '“ and the other leaders
Two home games - two great wins. That was the story of Pagham FC's week as they beat one league-leading team in an SCFL premier match and another, from a higher division, in the Sussex Senior Cup.
Here are Jon Rose’s reports...
Pagham 3 Haywards Heath Town 0
Dan Simmonds’ superb triple strike saw the Lions beat the leaders and and go fourth in the league.
The visitors arrived at Nyetimber Lane clear at the top but that counted for nothing as Pagham were simply brilliant in a win almost no-one could have expected.
The Lions’ unbeaten run stretches back to the middle of October and the Blues did little to suggest they would end it.
Early action centred around free-kicks, with Blues’ skipper Tom Graves going closest for the away side.
Pagham were shooting for fun. Lloyd Rowlatt took advantage of defensive hesitancy to feed Simmonds, only for the shot to go wide.
Andy Chick was masterful in midfield, pinging passes forward to give the Lions strikers much to feed on.
Heath had a good chance when Alfie Rogers picked up a pass from George Hayward. Pagham’s defence held firm.
Great work by new arrival James Thurgar allowed Rowlatt space for a shot but it was just wide of Simon Lehkyj’s post.
A free-kick from Callum Saunders whistled just over the bar.
James Binfield was called into action just before the half-hour, saving well from an Alex Laing shot. A Lions corner gave Callum Overton sight of goal after he collected a Rowlatt pass. The shot went over the bar but the Lions were more up for it.
Heath were rather muted, though, and the Lions kept the visitors at bay, leaving it 0-0 at half-time.
After the break, a superb save from Lehkyj prevented Pagham from taking the lead.
Haywards Heath did try to push forward, Laing being a particular threat, but it was the Lions who ran the show.
Simmonds and Overton were looking like scoring at every opportunity and it was a surprise that the first goal didn’t come until the 70th minute.
It was well worth the wait, though, Simmonds’ scything run cutting through the Blues’ backline before striking a superb solo effort beyond Lehkyj.
An awful decision by the officials could have handed Heath the equaliser on 74 minutes as they were awarded a free-kick controversially. But a poor free-kick saw justice done for the Lions.
Bailie Rogers became the first player to leave the field, a challenge ending his involvement. On came Joel Daly.
James Thurgar could have got his second in two games with a header that went close.
Simmonds’ second followed a left-sided attack which gave him time to shoot past Lehkyj. With just under five minutes left of normal time, Pagham made sure of the points.
Overton went on a run which could have seen him score before Simmonds wrapped up his hat-trick. Rowlatt’s ball in gave Simmonds a gilt-edged opportunity and Lehkyj no chance.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Cox, Davidson, Booker, Horncastle, Rowlatt, Chick, Simmonds (Crouch 89), Overton, Thurgar. Subs: Wollers, Bingham, Ashmore.
Pagham 1 Lewes 0
Sussex Senior Cup R3
Ryan Davidson complemented a commanding defensive display with the header that knocked Bostik South leaders Lewes out of the cup.
After trouncing Haywards Heath on Saturday, the Lions were again the better side and roared to a deserved victory.
Early pressure came from the visitors, but Pagham looked the more likely to score. Rooks keeper Chris Winterton was kept busy as Callum Overton and Dan Simmonds threatened.
Lewes’ Bouwe Bosma went in to challenge Johan Van Driel and came off worse. He struggled on for a few painful minutes before being replaced.
Andy Chick’s through ball to Overton just after the quarter-hour came to nothing but a few minutes later the Lions went closer. A tremendous ball in from Van Driel saw Overton fire in and Winterton almost fumble the ball.
A poor shot from Lewes’ Wilfried Grimaud was followed by a Davidson header away from a George Landais strike. Winterton was forced out of his area just after the half-hour with Overton lurking.
A strike from Izuchuwu Owute went just wide of James Binfield’s post as the Rooks looked to pile on the pressure just before the break.
The Lions finished the half the stronger. A goalmouth scramble could have seen Pagham take a deserved lead before a free-kick was pinged off the post by Dan Simmonds.
The Lions scrambled the ball into the net just on half-time but the referee blew for an infringement.
Lewes started the second half with a shot from Landais that Binfield held. Landais tried again with a cross that Ryan Davidson headed away.
The Lions wasted a corner before a looping shot from Lewes’ Jamie Brotherton was caught by Binfield. A mazy run by Harry Reed was curtailed by Dan Simmonds.
Tremendous defensive work from Joe Booker on the hour saw off another Lewes threat just as Binfield made a great save.
Overton was unlucky when chasing a through-ball that went just too far ahead of him. A corner to the Lions saw Winterton having to clear his lines twice in a row.
Chick fed Simmonds, who shot just wide of the mark. A free-kick with 15 minutes to go was pinged against Lewes’ defensive wall.
Simmonds again tried his luck, Winterton blocking the shot. Harry Reed blew a chance when clean through on 84 minutes as Pagham skipper Jamie Horncastle fell under a challenge in the area.
With extra-time looming, Jonte Smith headed just across the Lions goal.
In time added on, a corner was swung into Lewes’ area and Davidson saw his chance, heading past a nonplussed Winterton to send the Lions into round four of the Senior Cup... and the Lions fans into a frenzy of cheers and celebrations.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Wollers, Booker, Davidson, Horncastle, Van Driel (Ashmore 77), Chick, Simmonds, Thurgar, Overton. Subs: Cox, Kilhams, Bingham, Crouch
Lewes: Winterton, Reed, Bosma, Okwute, Hurley, Cotton, Grimaud, Smith, Conlon, Brotherton; Coppola, Chappell, Barclay, D.Gifford, Parker.