Pagham up to fifth after Mussels are beaten - then they take point at Newhaven
Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds have guided Pagham closer to the summit of the Southern Combination premier.
The Lions went fifth after a 2-1 success over former Bostik south east outfit Shoreham at Nyetimber Lane, but the rain-soaked fixture hardly had a flood of thrills.
Pagham went into the game on the back of a 4-0 thrashing of Worthing Utd. Shoreham have not had a good start to life back in the SCFL. Relegation last season seems to have robbed them of some of their confidence.
The game started in the best possible way for Pagham, George Gaskin striking home the opening goal on five minutes. It could have been 2-0 a moment later as confusion in the Shoreham defence almost resulted in an own goal.
There was a chance for the visitors as a free-kick from Andrew Dalhouse struck the defensive wall and rebounded to safety - before Pagham's Callum Overton hit the goal of the game to double the Lions lead. A mazy run ended with a shot that went past the Shoreham keeper.
Shoreham tried to hit back and Lions keeper James Binfield had to be at his best as shots rained in on him as the weather worsened. A booking for Shoreham was perhaps a tad harsh, before Howard Neighbour tried his luck from long range, hitting the ball over the bar.
The visitors' keeper was having much the busier game, new striker Jack Rowe-Hurst combining well with Overton on his home debut. With the first half moving toward its dying moments, Harry Williams was well placed for the Lions to head away a Shoreham free-kick.
With the second half came more rain, but some brighter play from Shoreham. A shot hit the side netting a few minutes in before burly striker Dalhouse hit a strong shot beyond Binfield for a deserved goal.
The visitors were giving Pagham a game of it, but it didn't stop Neighbour hitting the post near the hour mark. The Shoreham bench screamed for a handball decision against Neighbour, but it was very much ball to hand than the other way round.
The Musselmen were weakened for a short while as they had a player down injured after he crashed into the advertising hoarding behind the goal. He manfully carried on, but with both knees suffering deep lacerations, he asked to be substituted.
Dalhouse was still looking dangerous for the visitors, although was correctly denied a penalty as he slipped in the area on 77 minutes. Gaskin's speculative shot went well over the bar as Pagham looked for the goal which would kill off the game.
With ten minutes left, Overton sustained a cut on his head which was dealt with swiftly as he was still looking lively up front. A minute or so later he was clear through on goal, but at the last moment he chose to cross rather than shoot, with the goal at his mercy.
Shoreham pressed on, Binfield playing rush-goalie at one point, but when the final whistle came the Lions had preserved their unbeaten league record.
Pagham; Binfield, Wiggans, Hendrick, Williams, Cox, Horncastle, Van Driel, Neighbour, Gaskin, Overton (Murfin 88), Rowe-Hurst (Brazil 75). Subs: Thurgar, Humphries
See Roger Smith's pictures from the game above.
Newhaven 2 Pagham 2SCFL Premier Division
Pagham and Newhaven battled to a draw at the Trafalgar Ground on a cold night – and with the Lions not playing at their best, they were probably the happier of the two teams with a point.
It was all Newhaven early on and Pagham were indebted to goalie James Binfield, who made a terrific save from serial scorer Lee Robinson in the seventh minute and an even better double save a minute later to keep the scores level.
The Lions burst into action in the 12th minute when Howard Neighbour had a fierce shot saved and Johan van Driel’s follow-up was blocked.
Jack Rowe-Hurst shot just wide from 20 yards five minutes later as Pagham were briefly on top. Robinson then burst through the Lions defence once again, only for a superb tackle by Daryl Wollers to deny him.
Disaster befell the away side when, having failed to clear a corner, they allowed Matthew Gunn to nod home from a rebound after 22 minutes.
The game swung from end to end and both sides had chances before Pagham got back level in the last minute of the half when Callum Overton headed home a good cross from George Gaskin.
The second half was six minutes old when the Dockers re-took the lead through Seb Saunders when he tapped home a low cross from inside the box.
A period of end-to-end football followed with no real chances until Ryan Davidson sidefooted a Gaskin cross over the bar. Shane Brazil replaced Rowe-Hurst in the 72nd minute and breathed new life into Pagham’s attacking forays, and Neighbour hit a long-shot just wide soon after.
In the 81st minute, the Lions finally made their efforts pay when van Driel struck a fierce shot from just outside the area that flew into the bottom corner to level the score at 2-2.
Newhaven missed a good chance just before the final whistle, sidefooting over the bar from six yards out and the goal at their mercy.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Cox, Davidson, Wollers, Horncastle, van Driel, Neighbour, Gaskin, Overton, Rowe-Hurst (Brazil). Subs: not used: Hendrick, Williams, Miller.
* Chi City are off the top and down to second after a 2-0 loss at Saltdean, where Jamie Brotherton and Curtis Gayler found the net.
In division one of the SCFL Sidlesham crashed 3-0 at Varndeanians, Selsey drew 2-2 at Hailsham and Midhurst lost by the odd goal in five at home to Southwick.
Sids have an early chance to put their defeat behind them when they visit Steyning on Tuesday night.
In division two Bosham's tough start continued with a 2-0 reverse at Westfield.
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