Pagham are Down in the dumps after Gatwick take off

Pagham put Crawley Down Gatwick under the cosh / Picture by Roger Smith
Pagham put Crawley Down Gatwick under the cosh / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham’s run of draws in the league came to an end against well-drilled Crawley Down Gatwick.

Down attacked from the off, Marc Pelling having a shot hacked off the Pagham line. Michael Belli, impressive all game for the away side, was next to try his luck, combining well with Michael Wood before James Binfield thwarted the attack.

At the other end Connor Baston saved the day when Howard Neighbour was played in on Down keeper Andy Greaves. A first booking for Pagham came Charlie Selby’s way after Nick Sullivan was bought down on his way to goal.

Alfie Davidson was looking lively for the Lions and a cross on the quarter-hour was only just taken from harm’s way by the visiting defence. Another superb Binfield save denied Wood as the away side looked more likely to open the scoring. A Neighbour header from a free-kick almost eluded Greaves.
Shots were coming in from all over the place for the visitors, Pelling and Baston just missing their mark, while Oli Leslie did have the ball in the net on 39 minutes. An offside flag robbed Down of a deserved opening goal.

Pagham’s defence was holding on, Daryl Wollers the pick of the bunch with a masterful display. Pagham found themselves down to ten men. Shay Wiggans felt the wrath of the referee and despite protests, he was shown a red card after a tussle near Pagham’s goal area.

The second half started with Alfie Davidson replaced by Josh Simmonds for the Lions. Binfield plucked the ball from thin air as a header whistled toward goal. He was becoming a thorn in the side for the visitors, time and again stopping them from taking a lead.

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At the other end Neighbour was keeping Greaves busy between the sticks. On 53 minutes Neighbour’s shot had Greaves spread-eagled to put the ball out for a corner. He was in action again, punching out as the Lions lurked.

Goal number one for Crawley came just before the hour, a goalmouth scramble from a corner seeing the ball smashed past a blameless Binfield by Sam Packham. Tails up, the visitors flew toward Pagham’s goal time and again, Spence and Sullivan testing Binfield. Off went Scott Murfin for the Lions, replaced by George Cody as the management looked for a way through.

Belli’s shot across Pagham’s goal was close before Cody tried his luck from long range, shooting over for Pagham. For the visitors Michael Spence was making a nuisance of himself in front of goal.

It wasn’t until about ten minutes before the end that they got their second. A cross from Wood was headed in by substitute Ollie Broad to as the Anvils hammered home their advantage. On came Harry Hendrick for the Lions, Johann Van Driel coming off. A tremendous shot form Broad was well saved by Binfield, who performed well along with his defence, despite the defeat.

The Magpies of Loxwood fly into the Lions’ Den on Saturday.

Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Williamson, Selby, Wollers, Horncastle, Van Driel (Hendrick 80), Chick, Neighbour, Murfin (Cody 66), Davidson (Simmonds 45). Sub: Prisk
Crawley Down Gatwick: Greaves, Barton, Baston, Brown, Packman, Pelling, Spence, Belli, Sullivan, Leslie, Wood. Subs: Malton, Broad, Wright, Cooney, Cane.