AFTER a winter of discontent the arrival of spring has seen Peacehaven showing the green shoots of recovery.
Their fourth successive win, and sixth in their last seven matches, was the clearest sign of their improvement, and the first in that run to come against a team from the top half of the table.
Peacehaven were far too strong for a fast-fading Pagham side, who have also failed to live up to expectations this season, and could have won by more.
Sean Saunders has struggled with a debilitating incidence of injuries since taking over but at last he is beginning to get a settled team, and with that a sense of rhythm and cohesion is beginning to return. There are far fewer square pegs in the last few matches, and the results are reflecting that fact.
Whilst Peacehaven’s previous two victories against the Lions this season have been nerve-wracking, this was as comfortable a victory as could have been imagined. Three-nil up by half time, Peacehaven cruised to victory despite a spirited second half effort from the visitors.
Craig Hall returned to the starting line-up, and new signing Connor Wilkins was on the bench.
Haven had made a positive start, and took the lead when two Pagham defenders collided with each other, allowing Ryan Bradley a free run on goal. The striker showed good composure to round the keeper and slide the ball home to put his side in front.
Pagham rely heavily on Scott Murfin, but with the striker having only found the net once since Christmas, their attack has been severely blunted. Indeed Murfin has consistently struggled againsHaven, and that was proving to be the case again here.
He was cutting a frustrated figure up front, and his mood didn’t improve when another Pagham mistake led to Peacehaven’s second goal. Possession was lost upfield and Haven broke quickly, with Bradley this time turning provider, playing in Rob O’Toole for his first goal of the new year.
Pagham were falling apart in defence, and their misery was complete when their hosts went three up, Bradley scoring from a full one foot out after good work from O’Toole.
The second half was a non-event, with the result almost beyond doubt, and although Pagham improved they were never in a position to threaten their hosts. The most notable event was the reappearance, after nearly three months out injured, of Ashley Rees.
Peacehaven now have a fortnight without a match before facing title-chasing Worthing in a match which will tell us just how much progress they have made.
TYE: Adams, Hall, Hill, Murray, Millis, Kneller, O’Toole (Rees), Dunk, Bradley, Levitt, Dudson.