Mercurial goalscorer Dan Simmonds scored yet another hat-trick, his seventh of the season for Pagham, and James Thurgar scored for the third game running to see off Broadbridge Heath 4-0 and leave Pagham a point behind the leaders with just four games to play.
It came just three days after they’d beaten Saltdean 3-0.
Broadbridge Heath made all the early running in the midweek SCFL premier clash and Lions keeper James Binfield had to be at his best three times in the first ten minutes to keep the visitors from going in front.
Simmonds put the Lions ahead in the 27th minute, driving home from 15 yards following up his own shot that had been saved by the Bears keeper Conor Evento.
In the 32nd minute, a fracas broke out deep in the Pagham half that resulted in the referee sending off two Broadbridge players with straight reds and the Lions’ Ryan Davidson for his second yellow, following an earlier incident.
Simmonds had two half-chances to increase the lead before half-time, both flying just wide from long distance, and Callum Overton had a shot saved at the foot of a post by the keeper.
Pagham flew out of the traps in the second half and Thurgar thundered a shot home at the far post, converting a great cross from Overton after 48 minutes.
Eight minutes later Simmonds put the game away, stroking the ball home from the edge of the box after Shay Wiggans’ intelligent long through ball had split the defence in two.
Simmonds almost claimed his hat-trick in the 58th minute when his 30-yard screamer flew just over the bar.
Broadbridge tried desperately to get back into the game and Scott Weller saw his long-range shot smash into the bar before Binfield pulled off an excellent save from the rebound. But it was not long before Simmonds claimed the matchball with a carbon copy of his second, this time with the defence-splitting ball being supplied by Lloyd Rowlatt after 70 minutes.
Pagham made several changes to save legs ready for Saturday’s huge top-of-the-table game at Haywards Heath, but there was still time for skipper Jamie Horncastle to pick up a booking and for Simmonds to have a go for his fourth, but the shot went high.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans, Wollers, Davidson, Booker, Horncastle, Thurgar (Lewis), Chick (Bingham), Simmonds, Rowlatt (van Driel), Overton. Subs not used: Cox, Kilhams.