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Hardwell challenges his Lions to roar back after defeat to title chasers

Kerry Hardwell has challenged Pagham to respond to their frustrating 3-0 defeat to Eastbourne Town.


The Lions were well beaten by promotion chasing Eastbourne Town at Nyetimber Lane after a first-half hat-trick by well-travelled striker Zac Attwood.


The first half started with an onslaught by the visitors which continued for most of the period.


The Lions managed a decent attempt at goal in the ninth minute when Toby Funnell smashed a shot just wide of the near post, but it was a rare threat to the Eastbourne goal.


Pagham keeper Jordan Matthews was forced into an excellent 24th-minute save, punching a vicious shot over the bar, but three minutes later an Attwood shot deflected over Matthews’ head.


It was 2-0 in the 41st minute when Attwood crashed home his second from the penalty spot when a rough challenge on the edge of the box was deemed to be inside the area.


Attwood completed his hat-trick two minutes later after he shot through a static Lions defence.


Matthews was sent to the sin-bin to cause the home team even more problems and the second half started with Pagham down to ten men and Joe Clarke in goal.


He coped well, though, producing one good save, as did the rest of the defence.


the Lions slowly started to cause Town a few more problems, although they could not force keeper Chris Winterton into a save.


Lindon Miller worked like a Trojan up front but received no support and it was not a surprise when he was replaced by Callum Chalmers.


Kieron Howard also came on for Lukas Franzen-Jones and immediately the fresh legs caused Town a few more problems, though again, no shots on target developed.


Jack Barnes came closest with a 25-yard free-kick which flew wide, and Barnes was involved again in the 78th minute, when he was sent off, alongside Eastbourne sub Tom Vickers, following a scuffle on the half-way line.


Hardwell said: “It was a disappointing afternoon’s work from the boys.


“After the midweek win away at Lingfield, I said our first-half performance was one of the best I’d seen since being at the club. However, Saturday’s first-half performance was no doubt the worst I had seen.


“That is so frustrating as we told the lads pre-match there is no room for complacency at Pagham as we are looking to finish as high as possible but we lacked the hard work passion and desire we’ve shown in recent months.


“Our shape was all over the place and we conceded two really soft goals, something I hope Jordan Matthews won’t be happy about.


“We asked for a reaction at half-time and we certainly got that with the majority of the second half being played in Eastbourne’s half without really creating too much but the damage was done in the first half.


“We must bounce back on Saturday at home to Little Common.”

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