There was no shortage of drama as Peacehaven’s season kicked off on Saturday writes Alex Panton.
A seesaw game in which at various points they were leading, in danger of being on the end of a hammering and finally close to making an improperable comeback suggested that this could be a turbulent start to the campaign.
For various reasons there were only four players who featured in the starting line up for the final game of last season began this match for Peacehaven, with three debutants in Matt Cheeseman, Callum Hart and Jake Brocklebank, two returnees in Jack Phillips and Marcus Richmond and a first start in nearly two years in goal for Alieu Secka.
The game got off to a remarkably quick start considering the conditions, and it didn’t take long for Pagham’s forwards George Gaskin and James Thurgar, both of whom started last season in the Ryman League with Horsham, to start causing problems.
Secka pulled off a couple of saves and was at times almost playing as a sweeper to keep the Lions at bay, despite kit clashes forcing him into three changes of top within the first half hour!
Following a brief water break Peacehaven took a surprise lead. A corner wasn’t dealt with and Phillips stole in at the back post to put his side in front.
Pagham responded quickly when Dan Simmonds was allowed too much time and space on the right to curl in a shot which rebounded off the bar into the path of Gaskin who couldn’t and didn’t miss.
Another set piece saw the visitors go ahead when Ryan Davidson stole in at the near post from a corner just before half time.
Peacehaven rallied in the second half, but were continually vulnerable on the break and despite Secka continuing to produce a string of fine saves were picked off when Andy Chick played in Simmonds.
That looked to have put the result beyond doubt, and it certainly would have been had Secka not made a spectacular stop from Gaskin shortly afterwards, but Peacehaven gave themselves hope when Brandon Kilula headed home with minutes left.
They continued to push forward but couldn’t carve out a clear chance and Pagham held on to claim the points.
There were positives for Peacehaven, particularly the form of Secka and an all action performance by Sid Adams, but clearly there is work to be done to reach the levels of last season with a reshaped squad.
Peacehaven & Telscombe: Secka, Kilula, Adams, Cheeseman, Muller, Phillips, Le Grange, Richmond, Brocklebank (Burton), Hart
Updated 13:06 - 5 Aug 2018 by Pitchside View
SUBS NOT USED: Jones, Tait, Langan, Martin