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Mud, guts ‘n’ Pagham glory

Kerry Hardwell saluted mud, guts and glory as Pagham beat Peacehaven 1-0 to climb further away from trouble.


A twice-taken penalty by Lukas Franzen-Jones saw the Lions dig out victory on an old-fashioned mud-bath of a pitch against a strong Peacehaven side.


In the only game played on grass in West Sussex, Pagham skidded, slipped and battled to victory to climb up to 15th in the Southern Combination League premier division.


Boss Hardwell said: “Back to back home wins in the last week, with two clean sheets to go with it, is a great week’s work for the club, especially as we stopped Peacehaven scoring for their first time this season.


“It wasn’t a day for great football to be played with the conditions, it was a day to just battle as hard as we can.


“One thing we have with this squad is lads who want to work as hard as possible and they got their rewards with three massive points for the club.


“The back four were immense with Jordan Matthews making some good saves also.


“That’s now four wins from the last five games, which has helped us massively, but we must keep building from now until the end of the season.”


The game was only given the go-ahead after several pitch inspections.


Only the most optimistic of the huge crowd believed the match would actually finish but although conditions deteriorated throughout the game, at no time was there any lying water on the pitch and it was good old-fashioned fun in the mud.


The crowd was swelled by the hundreds who turned out to celebrate the life of Pagham’s most successful ever manager Dave Kew, who had recently passed away.


As expected, the first half did not display too much in the way of quality football, with the players struggling to adapt to the treacherous conditions, but it was highlighted by some excellent saves by both goalkeepers.


Pagham’s Matthews made one absolutely superb save, while there were two from Alieu Secka in the Tye goal, one equal to Matthews from Lukas Franzen-Jones.


The second half started much livelier than the first, Matthews making a couple of great saves.


The defining moment of the game came in the 70th minute when the Lions were awarded a penalty, after a foul on Joe Clarke following excellent work by the hard-working Callum Chalmers.


Although Secka saved the first attempt by Franzen-Jones, it was ordered to be re-taken as Secka had come well off his line and Franzen-Jones did not waste the second chance.


The Lions held on for the last 20 minutes as Peacehaven threw everything at them.


They survived, helped by a goal-saving tackle by Conor Geoghegan.


In the end only another great save by Secka kept the score at 1-0 after Jake Heryet had his low, hard shot pushed around a post.


The win was testament to the club’s hard working groundstaff and sensible officials.


Pagham are at Eastbourne United tomorrow (3pm KO).

Posted in Sport.