Thirteen proves unlucky for Pagham as winning run ends at hands of Hassocks

Well, it had to happen some time.

That it happened against a Hassocks side noted for their porous defence of late, and to a winning goal timed at 92 minutes, was all the more galling.

Pagham’s first league defeat of the season came on a night of high drama at Nyetimber Lane, including a hotly-disputed penalty that gave the visitors an equaliser.

The Lions had taken the lead with a superb James Temple strike three minutes in, his long-range shot from the left whistling into Jack Simpson’s net.

Hassocks keeper Simpson did his best to keep the score down, time and time again thwarting Pagham.

With the home side playing an unorthodox formation for much of the game, with Scott Murfin on one wing and Keiron Urquhart on the other, the Lions’ claws seemed less sharp than of late.

Chances came and went for Tom Broadbent and Murfin, while the evergreen Phil Gault was proving useful for the visitors.

When Dan Simmonds replaced Urquhart and the Lions switched to a three-pronged attack, they immediately looked more threatening. A Simmonds cross that just eluded Temple with ten minutes to go encapsulated a frustrating night for Pagham.

A disallowed goal for the Lions seemed to galvanise Hassocks, with a header just over the bar before the winner deep into injury time.

Keiron O’Callaghan appeared to get the last touch as the Lions’ winning league run finally came to an end.

Last Saturday Pagham had made it 13 wins from 13 with a 3-0 success at East Grinstead.

Murfin’s contentious penalty just after half-time was followed within a minute by a Phil Turner strike. Paul Jones finished off the Wasps as Pagham’s run continued.

At Nyetimber Lane, Luke Cooper’s reserves met Eastbourne Town, last season’s Reserve Premier champions and leaders of the table this season. The visitors dominated and ran out 3-0 winners.

This Saturday, Pagham visit division-two leaders East Preston in the FA Vase. Next Tuesday they entertain Eastbourne Town in the Sussex Senior Cup.