Lions hammer Hassocks, but can’t overcome Hillians
Pagham enjoyed another league goalfeast with a 5-1 at Hassocks - then put up a brave fight before bowing out of the Sussex Senior Cup against Burgess Hill.
Here are the latest Lions reports.
Hassocks 1 Pagham 5
Southern Combination premier
THE LIONS comprehensively won at Hassocks to move back into the top five – just six points off top spot.
Pagham’s 5-1 win at the Beacon stretched the home side’s winless run to seven games in all competitions.
The Beacon pitch lived up to its reputation as one of the finest in the county as despite the relentless rain that wiped out more than half the league’s fixtures, the surface was perfectly playable which allowed both teams to attempt to play decent football.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action in the opening 20 minutes for the 117 in attendance who have braved the weather to watch, bar Pagham having a headed goal correctly chalked off for offside.
With Pagham having found the net 45 times in 14 games coming into the encounter and the Hassocks defence appearing particularly porous in the past couple of weeks, goals were always likely – although the opener was a soft one.
Referee Darren Eaton has infuriated Hassocks many times down the years with some of his decision-making against the Robins and he was at it again here, awarding a very soft free-kick 20 yards out which was bent into the top corner in some style by the premier division’s top scorer Dan Simmonds.
Hassocks have developed an alarming tendency this season to concede goals right at the end of each half and it happened again here as Pagham doubled their advantage in the 44th minute when Julian Boniface netted.
The Robins had the strong gale howling across the Beacon in their favour in the second half but any hopes they had of rescuing something from the game appeared to be over on 55 minutes when Simmonds scored his second.
Hassocks responded to that setback almost immediately as less than five minutes later they had pegged the deficit back to 3-1, Nick Pitcher rising to slam home a header in trademark style.
But the resistance was unfortunately shortlived as the sort of comical defending that has hampered the home side this season reared its ugly head again with the back four getting in a right mess and allowing Lions captain Daniel Swain to finish neatly in the corner past a bewildered George Willett.
Simmonds rounded off his hat-trick and the scoring in the 87th minute, placing a penalty past Willett which the big goalkeeper did well to get a hand to but was unable to keep out.
Pagham 1 Burgess Hill 2
Sussex Senior Cup R2
Pagham were desparately unlucky to go out of the Senior Cup.
A spirited second-half performance gave the visitors from the Ryman League a fright, especially after a tremendous first-half goal from Terrell Lewis.
With the visitors 1-0 up from a Chris Smith goal, Lewis went on a solo run on 25 minutes that bamboozled the Burgess Hill back-line and ended with a looping shot that floated in.
The visitors kept the pressure on, Sam Garnett for the Lions having a tremendous game at the back to repel all threats coming his way.
James Binfield pulled off save after save but the elusive second goal wouldn’t come for Burgess Hill, until right at the death when subsitute Phil Johnson silenced the Lions roar with a goal very much against the run of play.
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