Ringmer were desperately unlucky not to come away from Nyetimber Lane with 3 points, after Pagham scored two late goals to salvage a point in this County League Division One encounter, after Ringmer took a two goal first half lead.
It did not look as though Ringmer would get anything out of the afternoon, with the squad down to its bear 11 and midfield supremo Jordan Stubbings, deputising in goal for regular keeper Josh James, who was out through injury Young defender Ben Thompsett, was pushed in to play left side of midfield and Seb Saunders was up front as a lone striker. However, Jamie Bunn (back after injury) teamed up with Steve Stracey to bolster the midfield.
Ringmer started off confidently and Jack McClean caused his usual threat to the Pagham back four. Ringmer should have taken an early lead after 12 minutes when after a poor back pass, Seb Saunders pounced on to the ball and with only Pagham keeper to beat had his shot superbly saved and the ball was scrambled away.
Ringmer had the majority of the play, which was surprising as the wind was against them, but it made Ringmer play the ball on the ground. This suits their style of play and Seb Saunders continually battled upfront and again had the opportunity to put Ringmer in the lead, but shot wide. After 28 minutes Ringmer finally took the lead, when Dan Bolwell’s cross was seized upon by Jamie Bunn and his scrambled effort crossed over the line into the net.
Efforts from McClean and Saunders were thwarted by the Pagham keeper and Pagham showed very little in attack The Ringmer stand in keeper Stubbings, was pleased that he was not a busy man and he was doubly pleased when Ringmer increased their lead after a superb effort from Seb Saunders. After picking up the ball 25 yards out he saw Pagham keeper off his line and coolly lobbed the ball over his head and into the back of the net.
Manager Jason Hopkinson was highly delighted with his team’s first half effort, even though he was feeling the effects of his previous night out, but his message still got through - to continue the 2nd half in the same way as the first.
With no substitutes on the bench, it was going to prove difficult to keep Pagham at bay. Ringmer were losing the battle in midfield as Pagham raised their game. Young Thompsett was feeling the pace after a hectic fixture schedule and having played games for both the first and reserve teams, but with the lack of replacements available the manager could not replace any players. Central defenders Sherriff and Lee kept Pagham at bay and Seb Saunders had another great effort saved by Pagham keeper. Pagham kept plugging away and after 89 minutes Michael Frangou pulled one back, which Ringmer hoped was a consolation goal, but deep into an unbelievable 5 minutes of injury time, Matt Wood scrambled in the equaliser, after his first effort was saved by Stubbings and both teams shared the points. With only a brief stoppage for an injury to Bunn in the second half and a couple of substitutions for Pagham, the away supporters seemed justified in questioning the referee’s timekeeping skills at the final whistle. Jason Hopkinson must have been pleased with his players performance and would have taken the result at the start of the match.
Team: Stubbings, Lee, Bolwell, Stracey, Sherriff, Rogers, McClean, Mikolay, Saunders, Bunn, Thompsett
Ringmer entertain East Grinstead on Saturday 3rd May, KO 3PM in their final league fixture of the season