Lions lose to Uckers - but boss sees positives

Pagham lost to AFC Uckfield in a game that will not live in the memory for long.

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th December 2019, 7:28 pm

Neither side was able to string together a decent series of passes and both teams relied largely on the long ball to seek their fortune.

Pagham boss Kerry Hardwell felt his team deserved something from the game. He said: "The boys matched a team yesterday who, if they win their games in hand, can go third in the league, and also a team who have been together for many years.

"We need to remember Pagham are in a dogfight to stay in this league this season due to not picking up many points at the beginning of the season so need as much positivity around the club as possible. The boys definitely deserved something out of the game, in my opinion. On to next week where three points is a must."

Jordan Matthews / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham had a much higher percentage of play but were unable to cause too much panic in the Uckfield defence, whereas the away side, with pace up front to burn, always looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

The Lions mustered the first shot in anger, when skipper Jack Barnes launched a 25-yard shot in the 8th minute, but it flew straight at Uckers keeper Hawkins. It was Barnes again in the 29th minute but his header from a corner was cleared at the base of the near post.

Two minutes later and Uckfield scored what was to turn out to be the only goal of the game, when Matt Barbosa found some room on the right-hand side of the penalty area and beat Lions keeper Jordan Matthews at the near post.

On 39 minutes Jordan Clark sent a stinging header just over the bar from a Toby Funnell corner, but that was as close as Pagham could get before the half-time whistle blew.

Pagham in action v AFC Uckfield / Picture: Roger Smith

Uckfield started the better of the two teams in the second half and had a chance to extend their lead as early as the 47th minute, but Matthews pulled off an excellent save at the foot of his post.

The game then really started to disintegrate into nothingness as Pagham pushed forward continually, without creating any really decent chances. Even three substitutions failed to improve the situation for the home team, until four minutes into added-on time, when sub Jake Heryet collected a half-cleared corner and crashed his shot goalward only to see it blocked and cleared by the Uckers defence.

This was a disappointing result and with rock-bottom side Loxwood coming into the Lions' Den next Saturday, Pagham will hope to get some of their recent mojo back.

Pagham: Matthews, da Costa, Hallett, Jenkins (Lyne), Searle, Clark, Franzen-Jones (Carroll), Barnes, Miller, Tilley (Heryet), Funnell. Subs not used: Henton, Britton.