Pagham claim surprise friendly win over Worthing
In the worst conditions imaginable Pagham claimed a morale-boosting win against higher-level opponents Worthing thanks to a late penalty.
On an afternoon more suitable for winter sports rather than football, the large crowd were not so much given a taste of the beautiful game, more a lesson in survival. What started as a freezing cold, windy day with the odd icy shower, deteriorated into a monsoon in the second half that left just about everyone in the ground soaked to the skin and frozen stiff.
The first half had very little to commend it. Worthing, despite three-quarters of the play, were unable to cause Conor Kelly in the Pagham net too much trouble, mainly because of some superb defending by a solid defence led by Ben Clark-Eden who seemed to be just about everywhere at once.
The Lions only mustered a couple of shots in the period - Ash Hawkes' effort took a deflection straight into the Mackerel Men’s keeper’s hands and Jared Rance shot from long distance to no avail.
The second half started in much the same way as the first half ended, but, with eight changes to the Pagham team, things were to change dramatically.
Ryan Hallett was forced to clear off his own line and Worthing did hit the post, but other that the Lions were creeping into the game.
In the 74th minute Pagham were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the Worthing box that could well have been given as a penalty. Nothing came of it but two minutes later they were indeed awarded a spot kick when Dylan Jelley was dragged down from behind.
Rance smashed it home for what turned out to be the only goal of the game. With a little luck Dave Crouch could twice have extended the lead, but it just wasn’t to be. Still, this was an excellent performance in diabolical conditions and a good win!
Pagham, first half: Conor Kelly, Tom Atkinson, Jack Barnes, George Bingham, Conor Geoghegan, Ben Clark-Eden, Ash Hawkes, Ollie Hambleton, Grant Radmore, Sam Connolly, Joe Bennett. Second half: Conor Kelly, Tom Atkinson, Ryan Hallett, Joe Clarke, Dylan Jelly, Jack Williamson, Jared Rance, Jamie Carroll, Dave Crouch, Sam Connolly, Jake Heryet.