Rain means Pagham’s efforts are in vain

Pagham on the attack against East Preston / Picture by Roger Smith
Pagham on the attack against East Preston / Picture by Roger Smith

After an heroic effort from the groundstaff to get Pagham’s game at home to East Preston started, the pitch rapidly became a swamp and the referee had no real option but to abandon the match seven minutes into the second half.

Pagham were leading 1-0 at the time, but torrential rain throughout the first half meant that, despite a half-time inspection by the officials, the consistent drizzle put paid to any sort of meaningful football.

The game became the first, according to club officials, to be abandoned mid-match at Nyetimber Lane in 47 years.

All had begun so brightly for the Lions and it took a wonderful save from East Preston keeper Ben Purkis to keep out a shot from Terrell Lewis, set up by a superb cross-field pass by James Thurgar as early as the second minute.

It took only five more minutes before Pagham took the lead. A long ball out of defence deceived the EP defence and set Dan Simmonds through the middle. He turned one defender and sidefooted the ball home for a 1-0 lead.

Pagham had innumerable chances to increase the lead. Simmonds smashed a 20-yard drive just wide and keeper Purkis had to make another good save to keep out an Andy Chick free-kick.

Simmonds had another rasping drive pushed over the bar and from the ensuing corner Daryl Wollers forced the ball into the net, only to be pulled up for a foul on the goalie.

Five minutes before half-time Lloyd Rowlatt chipped the ball over Purkis’ head, having been set up by Chick and Thurgar, only to see it drop agonisingly just over the bar. The half ended with East Preston not having had a shot on target.

The second half saw EP starting the better side but the referee soon alled events to a halt.

Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Cox, Davidson, Wollers, van Driel, Thurgar, Chick, Simmonds, Rowlatt, Lewis. Subs not used: Davidson, Bingham, Parkinson, Jones.

* Pagham’s reserves had a similar result to the first team. With a very depleted side, they were 3-1 up at Mile Oak before the game was abandoned because of a waterlogged pitch.

* Pagham’s Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final at home to Horsham went the same way, with the Nyetimber Lane pitch not recovering in time to get the game on.

There was plenty of local football that did survive the weather - read about it in the Observer, out on Thursday morning