On a freezing cold afternoon at Nyetimber Lane, Pagham claimed a second consecutive home win in a feisty encounter against Horsham YMCA.
The victory delighted new boss Kerry Hardwell the side maintained their 100 per cent record with him at the helm and moved out of the bottom two in the SCFL premier.
Hardwell said: "I'd like to say how pleased I am with the start and attitudes from all the lads."
The game started evenly with both teams trying hard but producing very little. In fact, the first effort on target by either side resulted in the Lions taking the lead on 30 minutes when Joe Clarke headed home from a pin-point Jamie Carroll cross.
Once again both sides huffed and puffed, producing very little until a curious incident three minutes before half-time.
Pagham thought they had doubled their lead when Tom Chalaye, returned from Worthing FC, slid the ball into the net from inside the penalty area. The celebrations were cut short however as the referee blew his whistle and disallowed the goal, seemingly for offside although the lineman’s flag had not been raised. Unhappy Pagham trooped off at half time convinced they should be two up and photos seemed to prove they were correct.
The second half started with YM well on top but Pagham holding out strongly and trying to get their noses back in front on the break. However, it was the visitors next on the scoresheet in the 70th minute, with a close-range header after a scramble in the Lions area.
Pagham almost grabbed the lead back four minutes later, but Horsham goalie Jeal made a stunning close in save from sub Matt Searle, having dropped the ball to set up the chance in the first place.
But the Lions did regain the lead just a minute later, with Toby Funnell scoring his first for the club, knocking a long cross in at the far post. The game now degenerated into a nasty affair and Clarke was sent off after a 21-man brawl on 77 minutes.
Pagham’s 10 men bravely held out for the last quarter of an hour, but not without several good, and one outstanding save from keeper Tom Crook. Another solid team performance and another much needed three points in the bag.
Pagham: Crook, da Costa, Hallett, Clarke, Geoghegan, Clark, Carroll (Searle), Barnes, Miller (Jenkins), Chalaye (C Tilley), Funnell. Subs: Hands, Heryet.