Goalie misses first 35 minutes after thinking game was away when it was at home

Recent wet and windy scenes at Pagham - and they experienced similar at Saltdean on Saturday / Picture by Roger Smith
Recent wet and windy scenes at Pagham - and they experienced similar at Saltdean on Saturday / Picture by Roger Smith

Pagham were beaten a wet and windy Saltdean - despite the home team's keeper missing the first 35 minutes because he thought it was an away game and heeded to Pagham.

The game started 20 minutes late in farcical conditions, when it was discovered the Saltdean goalkeeper had gone to Pagham believing that's where his team were playing.

Arguments started as to who could or could not play in place of him and the game eventually started with central defender Ash Jones between the Saltdean sticks as the named goalie, Nathan Stroomberg, hurried back to the correct ground.

The game started in a gale which both teams struggled to get to grips with and despite the Tigers having an outfielder in goal, Pagham could not muster a shot until the 16th minute, when Dan Simmonds shot well over from a George Gaskin pass.

On 30 minutes Ryan Davidson was booked on the edge of the Lions penalty area for a poor foul. The free kick came to nothing but did coincide with the arrival of keeper Stroomberg. A further farce followed as there was confusion as to when, where and how Jones could change his shirt back to his No5 and allow Stroomberg on to the pitch.

Pagham had one more attempt at goal in the first half, by Jack Rowe-Hurst, but it was saved by Stroomberg.

The second half started badly for Pagham as Saltdean started to assert their authority and were giving at least as good as they got. Simmonds came close on 56 minutes and ten minutes later Rowe-Hurst shot just wide after a lovely run down the wing.

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Skipper Jamie Horncastle was next to try his luck, forcing Stroomberg to a good low save, but then the roof fell in on Pagham as Saltdean scored the only goal of the game when Will Berry thumped home a stunning header from a 25-yard free-kick.

The Lions made their one substitution of the game on 80 minutes as Scott Murfin was replaced by Joe Ashmore, but things went from bad to worse soon after when, first, Gaskin was sent off for a nasty challenge some 30 yards from where the ball was. This started the first 20-man fracas of the afternoon.

Then Simmonds started another melee on the touchline, this time involving the crowd and the players, when he also put in a very poor challenge and was very fortunate not to see red as well.

Pagham keeper James Binfield had just enough time to pull out the save of the game, keeping out a 30-yard piledriver, before the final whistle blew on a thoroughly miserable afternoon in so many ways.

Pagham: Binfield, Williamson, R Davidson, Wollers, Horncastle, Chick, Neighbour, Gaskin, Murfin (Ashmore), Simmonds, Rowe-Hurst. Subs not used: Brazil, A Davidson.