Pagham on the Ropes: FA Vase hopes end in dramatic fashion

Tom Lyne / Picture by Roger Smith
Tom Lyne / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham crashed out of the FA Vase on penalties in south-east London after 120 minutes of a game that they could and probably should have had wrapped up inside 90.

Bridon pressed the Lions defence right from the start and keeper Lewis Boughton had to be on his best form as early as the second minute when he had to make a good low save.

Pagham take on Bridon Ropes / Picture by Brian Bigwood

Pagham take on Bridon Ropes / Picture by Brian Bigwood

Pagham immediately broke down the other end and Tom Chalaye shot over a minute later. But it was the Ropes who took the lead in the seventh minute, when the Ropes winger broke down the right, was allowed to cut inside and fired past Boughton to put his side one up.

On 26 minutes Boughton was back in action with another good save before play switched to the other end and the Lions won a corner on the left. Harrison Mott’s excellent delivery was headed into the home team’s net by Tom Lyne to bring the scores level on 30 minutes.

Pagham then really got stuck into the Ropes and Dave Beaney fired just over the bar from 30 yards on 32 minutes, followed just two minutes later by a Joe Clarke low shot, saved by the diving Bridon keeper, and Clarke could only direct the rebound wide.

Ten minutes into the second half, one of the linesmen collapsed on the touchline and could only carry on after lengthy treatment.

Boughton was at his best once again on 63 minutes before George Cody was just wide from 30 yards before he had a flying attempt at a header that just failed to connect. The Lions made a couple of substitutions, bringing Cian Tilley and Jake Heryet on for Chalaye and Clarke and it paid dividends in the 80th minute when Pagham hit the front as a well-judged through ball by Tilley was gleefully smashed home by Mott.

Dan O’Brien went off for Scott Rafferty and the Lions seemed to have the game sewn up. But football can be a cruel game and in the 88th minute, a clearance by Lewis Jenkins smashed into a Bridon forward’s face and dropped invitingly at his feet, allowing him to thrash the ball into the corner of the net.

Extra-time was about as manic as a game can get, with the ball pinging from one end of the pitch to the other and chances coming at both ends. Tilley was injured early on and had to be replaced by a fourth sub (only allowed in extra-time) Conor Geoghegan.

Pagham continued to push forward and a great run up the middle by Lyne ended with Heryet’s shot deflected for a corner, but despite almost continuous Pagham pressure, the whistle went for a penalty shoot-out.

It started badly for the Lions as Dave Beaney and Matt Searle had their shots saved, before Boughton, Mott and Heryet all shot home. Unfortunately, even though Boughton made one flying save, in the end it wasn’t enough and Pagham lost at the first attempt of another cup competition.

Pagham: Boughton, Jenkins, Beaney, Searle, Lyne, Clarke (Heryet), Cody, Slaughter, O’Brien (Rafferty), Chalaye (Tilley (Geoghegan) ), Mott. Sub not used: Crook.