And so Pagham’s season finally finishes, fairly predictably, with another home defeat, this time to lowly Eastbourne United. To be fair, United had to win to avoid the drop, whereas the Lions were just looking to reclaim some pride after a miserable second half of the season.
Eastbourne started on the front foot and, with Storm Hannah roaring away behind them, they hit both the bar and the post early on before Pagham could get a foothold in the game. It was no surprise when United took the lead in the 20th minute when a vicious free-kick from Dan Rogers took off in the wind, deceived stand-in Pagham keeper Jack Parkinson and flew into the net.
Five minutes later it was 1-1 when Liam Brady scored a well-taken goal, collecting a good run and pass by youngster Alfie Davidson and shooting under the keeper. After 30 minutes, Parkinson made his first terrific save as he snatched the ball away from an onrushing forward as he seemed certain to put his side back in front.
The first half finished with the Lions in the ascendancy but unable to force the ball home.
The second period started with a bit of a shock for the home side when United were awarded a dubious penalty. Hannah blew the ball into the goalmouth when it looked to be heading out of play and although Parkinson got the ball away, he was adjudged to foul the forward going for the rebound. Parkinson brilliantly saved the penalty but was unable to stop Sam Schaaf tucking in the rebound.
Pagham then completely took over the game and looked likely to equalise at any time. Brady had a fine shot, direct from a 35 yard free-kick, well saved by keeper Hawkins. He then made Pagham’s equaliser, with another good shot, set up by Howard Neighbour, the ball rebounding off the keeper and spinning up in the air to be headed home by Alfie Davidson.
Davidson was so close to giving his side the lead soon after, but his drive across goal went agonisingly just passed the far post. But almost inevitably the winner for the away side came after the Lions defence failed to clear the ball properly.
Defender Sam Willett struck the loose ball through a forest of legs and into the net in the 83rd minute. Pagham had a few half chances in the last few minutes, but as has happened to the club too many times lately, it was not the Lions celebrating on the pitch as the final whistle blew!
Pagham: Parkinson, Wiggans, Wollers, Horncastle, R Davidson, Selby, Brady, Williamson, Neighbour, van Driel, A Davidson. Subs (all unused): Hands, Cane, Hambleton.
* Daryl Wollers was announced as both manager's and sponsors' player of the season at the club’s presentation night. Jamie Horncastle was named players' player and Charlie Williamson took away the Clubman of the Year trophy.