FOOTBALL: Arundel make unbeaten start

ARUNDEL Football Club have kicked off the new County League campaign at Mill Road with a win and a draw as they hope to better their second-place finish from last season.

They started with a 2-0 win at home to Mile Oak on Friday, before a second-half wonder strike from David Walker earned them a point in a fiercely-contested 1-1 draw with Pagham on Tuesday.

Walker volleyed home into the top right hand corner from 25 yards after 60 minutes to cancel out Ryan Cox's opener for Pagham in the first half.

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Both sides had chances to win it late on. Mullets keeper Ben O'Connor palmed substitute Dan Reynolds' header off the line in the 88th minute and, despite appeals from some Pagham players that the ball had crossed the line, referee Ryan Ellis correctly waved play on.

Scott Tipper then had a glorious chance to claim all three points for Mullets deep into injury-time, but headed his effort onto the top of bar after meeting substitute Ashley Martin's cross.

Arundel assistant manager Simon Butler said: "We had an awful and very slow start, although we knew they would be busy at us.

"The first 30 they were much better and it wasn't until the last 15 when we started to play that they got their goal.

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"We had a few choice words with the lads at half-time and I thought we were much better after the break.

"We do need to learn to take our chances when we get them as we had enough to wrap it up, so it's really two points dropped at home."

Pagham started the better as Ryan Cox went close on a couple of occasions and Andy Cox caused problems down the right. Arundel's first real chance came on 36 minutes when Josh Biggs turned well and shot against Wes Hallet's legs.

Hardwell then had a long-range effort saved again by Hallet, before a last-gasp blocked denied Walker after a fine run from his own half.

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However, Pagham took the lead in the 44th minute after a short free kick fell to Cox, who buried his effort across goal into the bottom corner.

Tipper had the first chance after the break before captain Jason Wimbleton's thunderous effort was cleared off the line from a corner.

After the equaliser, both sides had chances to claim all three points but failed to find the net.

On Friday, Tipper, Walker and Hardwell all went close before Mullets went ahead in controversial circumstances on 60 minutes.

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A Biggs shot was deflected back to Oak keeper Mark Stuart by Jamie Ash, but it was deemed a backpass, and Lewis Hamilton netted from the resultant indirect free kick. Biggs added a second five minutes later when he turned in Martin's cross.

Butler said: "It was a really good performance and we deserved it. It's a good start because it's always tough playing newly promoted teams."

ARUNDEL v Pagham: O'Connor; Sneller, Wimbleton, D.Walker, Hall; Hardwell, Biggs, Towers, Harewood; Hamilton, Towers. Subs: Martin (Hall 70), Axell (Hamilton 79), Pickford, Foster.

v Oak: O'Connor; D.Walker, Sneller, Wimbleton, Hall; Hamilton, Harwood, Silvester, Biggs; Tipper, Hardwell. Subs: Martin, Towers (Hardwell, Silvestre 64), Pickford (Biggs 75), Axell, Harewood.


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