Pagham back with a victory - and under-18s follow suit
Football burst back on to the scene at Nyetimber Lane as Pagham beat a lively Arundel outfit in a behind closed-doors friendly by the odd goal in five.
It was not a classic encounter, but with both squads playing their first game for over three months, it was never going to be.
Indeed, it was Arundel that shook the cobwebs off first and took a deserved lead in the 30th minute with the Lions still snoozing. It was a well worked and well taken goal that gave Conor Kelly the Pagham goalie no chance.
This seemed to shake the home side out of their lethargy at last. Ashley Hawkes hit the bar in the 33rd minute and levelled the score three minutes later.
A lovely ball from Joe Bennett found Hawkes on the edge of the box and he spun round two defenders and placed his shot into the bottom left-hand corner. It was all Pagham now as Ben Clark-Eden, once with his head and once with a drive, George Bingham and Joe Bennett all went close before the break.
The Lions stayed on the front foot after the restart and barring the last few minutes, it stayed that way throughout the second half.
Less than a minute into the period, Grant Radmore shot into the side netting - and just three minutes later Jared Rance blasted home from the penalty spot after the Mullets keeper had clearly brought down Joe Clarke.
Hawkes and Clarke both went close to extending the lead, but they finally did through Jamie Carroll. In the 68th minute. He picked up the ball around 25 yards out and drove home under the diving keeper to make the score 3-1.
Pagham kept their foot on the gas and went close another couple of times, but Arundel broke away in the 81st minute to pull it back to 3-2 despite the best efforts of young substitute goalie Owen Andrews making his first team debut.
Despite a couple of scares, the home side rode out the last few minutes to claim the win. Welcome back boys, it’s been a long time!
Pagham: Conor Kelly (Owen Andrews), Nathan Da Costa (Tom Atkinson), Ryan Hallett, George Bingham (Ollie Hambleton), Conor Geoghegan, Ben Clark-Eden (Dylan Jelley), Ashley Hawkes, Joe Clarke, Grant Radmore (David Crouch), Jamie Carroll, Joe Bennett (Jared Rance).
Lion Cubs win in Shield
Pagham’s under-18 squad opened the club’s Supplementary Shield campaign at Rustington FC and came away with a 3-1 victory.
Despite the Blues looking the better side for the opening few minutes, it was the Lions that took the lead through a Morgan Mockford-Allott penalty after Dillon Birch had been blatantly tripped by the keeper in the 12th minute.
The score became 2-0 on 27 minutes when Enrique Andrade-Paris scored an excellent goal as he flicked home a quality free-kick by Christian Bellamy. The goal of the game and possibly the season followed eight minutes later when striker Dillon Birch turned and smashed the ball home from 20 yards.
The second half was played at a much less intensive pace and despite several chances for Pagham the score stayed the same until Rustington pulled a surprise goal back with the last kick of the game. 3-1 then, a good start but harder matches will follow!
Pagham U18s: Owen Andrews, Ben Fox (Barnaby Griffiths), Mitchell Smith, Ronnie Lee-Jones, Wiktor Nowak (Edward Raven), Christian Bellamy, Jonah Thornley, Enrique Andrade-Paris, Dillon Birch (George Appleton), Morgan Mockford-Allott (Harry Westwood), Joe Middleton (Kieron Jones).