Three Bridges 2 Pagham 2: Four sent-off as thrilling game ends in uproar
A huge second half-melee that led to four red cards – three of them for Three Bridges – overshadowed a game from which Pagham took a deserved point.
They led after just 90 seconds through a superb goal by Callum Overton from 40 yards out.
Dan Simmonds chased a long punt up the field and put their ‘keeper off. His clearance fell to Overton, who kicked it up into the night sky, over the stranded keeper and gently into the net.
The Lions should have doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Overton was brought down as he rounded the keeper, only for Simmonds to mishit his spot-kick, allowing Kieron Thorpe in the Bridges goal to save.
The home side started to make in-roads into Pagham territory. They could have had three or four but atrocious finishing and some good saves from Lions’ goalie James Binfield denied them.
In the first minute of added-time James Thurgar went on a lovely run down the left and fed Simmonds, who made no mistake and drilled home from the edge of the box.
A couple of minutes into the second half, Bridges pulled one back through George Gaskin with a wonderful shot from 25 yards which left Binfield stranded.
Three Bridges levelled it at 2-2 on 51 minutes when captain Jamie Crellin got his head to a set-piece that went up and over everybody and dropped in.
They could have made it 3-2 minutes later when a shot across goal by Lee Hall struck the inside of the post and came out.
On 58 minutes there was a huge melee after a heavy foul by Simmonds caused a fight involving of the players and both benches and ended up 12 minutes later with three Three Bridges players and Simmonds being shown straight red cards.
It looked at one stage like the referee, who seemed to handle the situation very well, would abandon the game.
That he didn’t was to his credit and after several substitutions by both sides, the game petered out into a 2-2 draw which was probably just about right.