Pagham were undone 4-3 by their opponents from two divisions above them in the pyramid, Whitehawk, in their final pre-season game, but did not disgrace themselves, putting up a brave performance that on another day could have brought them a result.
It was the Lions who started the brighter of the two but despite some early pressure were unable to get the ball in the net. And then on 31 minutes, the inevitable happened when Whitehawk took the lead. What made it worse for the home side was that it was very much down to a glaring defensive error.
It didn’t take too long for Pagham to get back level, as after 42 minutes Johan van Driel stole the ball in midfield and fed George Gaskin on the right. His low cross was converted inside the six-yard box by Dan Simmonds, his first goal of pre-season.
That the Hawks didn’t immediately re-take the lead was completely down to their forwards who created, and badly missed, an excellent chance from close in.
Two minutes in to the second half, it was Pagham who hit the front with a strange strike from George Gaskin who got his head to a van Driel free-kick only to nod the ball straight up into the air. Much to everyone’s surprise, the ball looped over everybody, including Whitehawk’s keeper and dropped gently into the back of the net.
Five minutes later and the Hawks equalised from a ball through the middle of the defence allowing the Hawks striker to tuck the ball into the corner of the goal. Pagham could have snatched the lead back a couple of times before the away side went back in front with a diving header.
It was 4-2 to Whitehawk a few minutes later with a simple goal, touched in at the near post from a good cross from the right. But it was Pagham that rounded off the scoring in the 78th minute, Tom Jefkins poked the ball home after Linden Miller had crowned a fine run down the line with an excellent low cross.
Pagham: Binfield, Wiggans (Cox), Hand, Davidson, Wollers (Hendrick), Bingham (Jefkins), van Driel (Barratt), Neighbour (Murfin), Simmonds (Miller), Thurgar, Gaskin.