How a side can dominate the first half of a game so much and then just not compete after the interval is very difficult to figure, but that’s what happened when Pagham welcomed Crawley Down Gatwick to Nyetimber Lane.
Pagham had so much of the play and so many chances to score in the first 45 minutes of the SCFL premier division clash it was amazing. Playing by far their best football of the season it looked like it was going to be their best win to date, but as has happened so many times this season already, it just didn’t happen.
Jack Barnes had a dipping 30-yard shot just grabbed on the line in the 6th minute, and four minutes later an excellent cross into the box by Dave Beaney was just in front of Dan O’Brien, unmarked at the far post. In the 13th minute at the other end, goalie Lewis Boughton had to produce a fine low save to deny the Anvils. It was just about the only work the keeper had to do in the first 45 minutes.
In the 29th minute, CDG keeper Tony Jenner made possibly the save of the season to somehow push over a close-range header by Joe Clarke, quickly followed by a Lewis Jenkins header that skimmed the bar. The Lions finally had the ball in the net after 39 minutes, but Clarke’s tap-in was ruled offside.
To close out the half, disaster struck the home side when a fierce cross from the right squeezed through to Nick Sullivan and he made no mistake from about a yard out.
Pagham started the second half with Scott Rafferty replacing Dave Beaney down the left-hand side, but it was the Anvils that were pushing forward with more purpose now. Although the Lions were keeping the away side out quite comfortably at one end, they were unable to launch much in the way of attacks at the other. Striker Dan O’Brien went down with a knee injury after 63 minutes and although he bravely carried on, Pagham’s task suddenly looked like a mountain to climb.
That mountain increased in size in the 75th minute when Crawley added a second through Michael Wood. The Lions made a couple of late substitutions, Harrison Mott and Jake Heryet replacing Clarke and Harry Prisk, but Pagham failed to create any more chances and it was the away fans cheering at the end of the game.
Pagham: Boughton, da Costa, Beaney (Rafferty), Clark, Lyne, Jelley, Jenkins, Barnes, O’Brien, Prisk (Heryet), Clarke (Mott). Subs not used: Chalaye, Crook.