Pagham leave Varndeanians vanquished - then battle well at Bognor

Pagham, in red, in action at Bognor on Tuesday night / Picture: Trevor StaffPagham, in red, in action at Bognor on Tuesday night / Picture: Trevor Staff
Pagham, in red, in action at Bognor on Tuesday night / Picture: Trevor Staff
It's been another good week for Pagham - a 3-2 win away to AFC varndeanians kept up their excellent SCFL premier form, then they gave a good account of themselves in a 4-1 friendly loss at Bognor.

Pagham won a very scrappy game against Varndeanians, played at Brighton’s Withdean Stadium, but it was not anywhere near as easy as it probably should have been.

The Lions were on top right from the start, and it looked like the goals would soon flow. But they didn’t. Several chances came and went but none would find the back of the net. Varndeanians looked completely over-awed and very rarely crossed the half-way line, but still the goals wouldn’t come. That changed in the 26th minute when a low corner from the right squirmed across the box and was smashed home by Jack Williamson at the far post. The game continued in the same vein until two minutes from the break when a home forward found himself in possession on the left-hand side and managed to curl the ball home for a surprise equaliser.

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The second half started much as the first, with Pagham still having the Lion’s share of possession but struggling to get back their noses back in front. Then, out of the blue, Varndeanians forward Reece Gayler noticed Pagham keeper Lewis Boughton out of his area and managed to get the ball over his head into the net – from the half-way line! Whether he injured himself or had some sort of attack of shock is not known, but he collapsed straddling the centre line and was helped off to take no further part in the game. This seemed to kick-start the Pagham side, and they replied with two goals in a minute to re-take control. Jack Barnes scored with an excellent flicked header from a right wing cross and jack Langford notched the winner with a 20-yard drive under the keeper on 67 mins. Still the home side fancied their chances and they contrived to miss an absolute open goal two minutes from the end. Not the Lions best performance but three points is three points!

After the game Pagham manager Ryan Pharo had this to say: "I thought we played well. Controlled the game. 70% possession and 11 shots on goal. Created chances well and took 3 goals really well. A freak goal and a mistake against us made it 3 points away whilst others dropped point around us. What a day."

* Pagham could hold their heads high after putting up a sterling performance at Bognor on Tuesday night in a hastily arranged friendly.

Both teams put their strongest sides out and with the Rocks currently 5th in the Isthmian League, two levels above the Lions, it was always going to be tough, very tough. And so it was, with Bognor controlling things right from the start. However after having several scares at their own end it was Pagham that took a surprise lead on 20 minutes, a deflected through ball falling to Ryan Morey who skipped round the keeper to score.

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Most of the rest of the half resembled the Alamo as Bognor piled forward in search of an equaliser but Pagham almost made it two on the break, as Rocks keeper Tangara made a stunning save from a chip by Joe Clarke. The score was tied on 30 minutes when a lucky bounce set up Odokonyero who took his chance very well. And 2-1 became 3-1 nine minutes later after a bit of quality passing by from the Rocks forwards let Bell side-foot home. Lion’s keeper Lewis Boughton had a tremendous half, helped by his defence, keeping almost everything Bognor threw at him out.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first with Bognor piling forward and Pagham occasionally breaking out dangerously. Bognor went further ahead on 80 minutes with that man Odokonyero netting again. An amusing burst of handbags left everyone in the ground rather bemused as what happened and Pagham almost grabbed a second late on as Grant Radmore’ great chip floated just wide. And that was that. A splendid all-round game and an excellent performance from the Lions.

* Pagham host Snodland Town in the FA Vase on Saturday. Bognor fans not making the trip to Bowers and Pitsea will be made very welcome.

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