Goals from Lloyd Rowlatt and Dan Simmonds earned Pagham a mouth-watering cup final showdown with neighbours Chichester City thanks to a 2-0 win over Newhaven.
The victory at Nyetimber Lane in the RUR Charity Cup semi-final sets up the Lions, bossed by duo Richie Hellen and Tom Simmonds, to battle Miles Rutherford’s men in the final to be played at Lancing’s Culver Road at a date to be announced.
It took a while for Pagham to get into their stride and for the first half-hour they were indebted to goalkeeper James Binfield, who made a series of fine saves to keep the scores level.
It wasn’t all Newhaven, Pagham did have their moments. Dan Simmonds brought a wonderful save from Dockers keeper, Jake Buss, in the 17th minute and just before half-time the same player seemed to be brought down in the box, but no decision was forthcoming.
Callum Overton also had a stinging shot, after a great run by James Thurgar, pushed wide by Buss, having been previously booked for apparent persistent fouling following continual complaining by the Newhaven bench and fans.
Joe Booker had to be substituted by Ryan Davidson before half-time having suffered a dead-leg.
The second half started much brighter for the home side who were on the front foot straight from the whistle. Simmonds had an early free-kick scrambled off the line and a few minutes later Thurgar saw a shot curl just passed the far post.
Still the Lions kept plugging away and keeper Buss was soon in action again to keep out a low shot from Andy Chick; and Simmonds was at it again with a 30-yard drive that was saved. But the pressure finally paid off in the 78th minute when Lloyd Rowlatt teed up a 25-yard drive that, following a slight deflection, flew into the bottom corner of the net to give Pagham a 1-0 lead.
The Lions were in no mood to let the lead slip and despite some serious pressure from the away side the defence held firm and even with two late substitutions from the Dockers, they could not force a shot on target. Jamie Horncastle was replaced by George Bingham to put some fresh legs on the pitch for the last few minutes.
The triumph was assured on 91 minutes when Simmonds raced through the defence and buried his shot passed a helpless Buss for a goal his effort on the night deserved.
Pagham: James Binfield, Joe Kilhams, Ryan Cox, Joe Booker (Ryan Davidson), Daryl Wollers, Jamie Horncastle (George Bingham), James Thurgar, Andy Chick, Dan Simmonds, Lloyd Rowlatt and Callum Overton. Subs not used: Johan van Driel, Terrell Lewis and Jack Parkinson.
With thanks for words and images to PAUL DAVIDSON.