Pagham find daylight at bottom with win over Loxwood - boss Hardwell praises reaction to defeat
Pagham forgot their last-minute disappointments from their defeat at Langney on Saturday to earn their third win in four games, lift themselves three places up the premier division and leave their opponents Loxwood firmly rooted to the foot of the table.
It was the Magpies who burst out the gates first, forcing Pagham keeper Tom Crook into an excellent save as early as the second minute to keep them out.
The Lions really started to push forward soon after though and Jack Barnes hit the post four minutes later - before Conor Geoghegan had a nice strike disallowed for offside.
It didn’t take much longer for Pagham to hit the front though, Kieron Howard heading home a curling Lukas Franzen-Jones corner at the near post.
Five minutes later and it was almost two as Jake Heryet’s 20-yard volley flew just wide. But with Pagham well on top, Callum Chalmers did make it 2-0 in the 31st minute, racing on to a long through ball to slide it under the Magpies keeper.
Nine minutes before the half-time whistle, and Heryet was again unlucky to see his snatched shot from 18 yards skim just past the post.
The second half was played out at a slightly less manic pace, the one outstanding moment coming in the 51st minute, Crook pulling out a magnificent save, pushing a close-in header up and over the bar.
Pagham’s best moments came in the last ten minutes as sub Toby Funnell and Franzen-Jones both saw decent shots saved by Matthews in the Loxwood goal. It was a very happy Pagham team that left the pitch to the cheers of their fans at the end of the game.
Boss Hardwell said: “After going to Langney Wanderers on Saturday and losing the game in the last 30 seconds in a game we deserved something from, I asked for a massive reaction against Loxwood, who had just picked up their first league win of the season.
“The boys were fantastic and rode the storm for the first ten minutes and after that we controlled the game throughout and deserved the three points.
“More pleasing for me has been back-to-back home clean sheets.
“In the past four games we’ve collected nine points which is a great boost for the club.
“It’s great to have Connor Geogehan back around and he was fantastic against Loxwood, alongside Lew Jenkins.” Pagham host Peacehaven this Saturday.
Hardwell added: “It will be a tough game against a strong team. So the message to the Pagham locals is to get down and support these boys.”
Pagham: Tom Crook, Nathan da Costa, Matt Searle, Jack Barnes, Conor Geoghegan, Lewis Jenkins, Jake Heryet (Toby Funnell), Kieron Howard, Callum Chalmers (Harry Prisk), Lucas Franzen-Jones, Jamie Carroll (Jack Hands). Subs not used: Scott Slaughter, James Henton.