Shoreham Football Club manager Bryan O’Toole was pleased with a point at title rivals Pagham on Saturday but felt his side should have returned home with all three.
Mussels went ahead through Rob O’Toole’s penalty on 17 minutes but Pagham levelled when Scott Murfin’s wind-assisted corner flew into the far top corner eight minutes before half-time.
Shoreham had what Bryan O’Toole called a ‘stonewall penalty’ not given late on as they failed to win a SCFL Premier Division game for just the second time this season.
Haywards Heath closed the gap on leaders Mussels to just five points with a 3-0 win at Loxwood and the two sides meet in the league at Hanbury Park on Tuesday.
Reflecting on Saturday’s draw, Bryan O’Toole said: “We went there looking to win but we’re happy with a point.
“We turned up on the big occasion and that was something that pleased me. We had a stonewall penalty not given for a foul on Tom Burton with just a couple of minutes to go but we should have made more of our chances before that.
“They had that little bit of luck with their goal as the wind really got up for a five-minute spell. It picked up so much that we couldn’t clear our lines and they forced five or six corners and the ball moved so much for their goal that no keeper would have saved it.
“However apart from that five-minute spell of pressure in the first half and a shot late on, we forced them to go long and dealt with their threat.”
Shoreham started well on Saturday and Burton was denied by Pagham keeper James Binfield from close range, before Richard Greenfield shot over from a tight angle.
Mussels went ahead when Rob O’Toole was fouled by Dan Swain in the penalty area and O’Toole stepped up to score his 24th goal of the season.
Pagham equalised when Scott Murfin’s corner flew straight in eight minutes before half-time.
Joe Dryer almost put Shoreham back ahead when his blistering strike flew into the side netting, before Shoreham keeper Josh Heyburn was forced into a decent save.
Mussels then thought they should have had a penalty for a foul on Burton late on as they were forced to settle for a point.
Shoreham entertain SCFL Division 1 leaders Little Common in the Sussex Senior Cup tomorrow evening. Kev Keehan is back available after suspension.
SHOREHAM: Heyburn; Hartley, Storrie, Packer, Denyer, O’Hagan, Greenfield, J.Keehan, R.O’Toole, Burton, Dryer. Subs: Pearson (Greenfield 60), Goldson (Denyer 89), Cradock, Rowe-Hurst.
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