Pagham were without several members of their first-team squad at Steyning – but they still started pre-season with a comfortable win on a boiling afternoon.
With several new players and a sprinkling of juniors in the side and on the bench, the Lions could and probably should have more, but had to settle for just two goals.
It might have been 1-0 after just five minutes when, after returning legend Scott Murfin was hacked down in the box, new striker George Gaskin put his penalty straight at the keeper.
Five minutes later, Gaskin had another glorious chance to put his new side in front, but after being sent clean through he couldn’t get it around the keeper.
Gaskin was booked for persistent fouling before sending a difficult chance just over the top from a cross by Charlie Williamson. But it was Gaskin who put Pagham in front when he danced around the keeper before tapping in from a yard out.
Murfin almost doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time when he smashed a shot just wide.
Ten minutes into the second half, Murfin struck a long-range shot just wide, before Jamie Horncastle steered a 30-yard drive straight at the Town goalie.
Shay Wiggans and James Thurgar found their names in the referee’s notebook – the ref wasn’t very kind considering it was a pre-season friendly.
On 65 minutes, Lions goalie James Binfield made a lovely save at the feet of a Steyning forward, before new striker Linden Miller had a shot from the edge of the area tipped over the bar.
In the 74th minute, Miller made the game safe for Pagham when, having run from just inside the Steyning half with the ball, he turned past two defenders and crashed his shot inside the far post to make it 2-0.
With the heat building all the time on the plastic pitch, both sets of players were glad to hear the final whistle.
Pagham: Binfield, Williamson (Wiggans), Cox (Hendrick), O’Hagan (Bingham), Wollers, Gilchrist (Horncastle), Chick (Hand), van Driel (Chick), Gaskin (Miller), Murfin (Gaskin), Jefkins (Thurgar).
A young Pagham under-23 side were beaten 4-2 by more experienced Steyning.
Twice Jack Parkinson could have put the Lions in front, but the Reds came into it and Lions keeper Luke Terry had to be at his best to push a 30-yard drive over.
It was no surprise when Steyning took the lead in the 44th minute after a defensive mix-up in the Lions box led to a tap-in. Soon Parkinson scored a goal of such quality that anyone that sees a better one this season will be lucky.
He collected a ball on the edge of the box with his back to goal, and with two defenders marking him, he back-heeled the ball up and over the keeper for a wonderful goal. Steyning retook the lead before the break.
The home side scored two more goals before Matt Hambleton pulled one back.
Pagham U23s: Terry, Burford (C Williamson), Kendrick (Kingdom), Kane, Keane, Gilchrist (Searle), Gardener, Hambleton, Parkinson (J Williamson), Richards, Simmonds.
Pagham lost 4-2 at home to Fareham on Tuesday night. They host Lewes at Nyetimber Lane tonight (Thurs 19th).