The Magpies welcomed the Lions of Pagham to The Nest on Saturday for their second visit inside 4 weeks and the hosts were conscious of the quality their visitors held after being on the wrong end of a high-quality fightback in the league last time out. Rather than points being on the line on this occasion it was passage into the last 16 of the League Cup and after going out of the RUR Cup in the week at Haywards Heath, the Magpies were keen to ensure this campaign kept going. There were only two changes to the starting line-up with Harry Bachelor and Jordan Warren coming in for Adrian Todd and Dave Neathey.
The hosts could have found themselves in the lead as early as the first minute when Ollie Moore clipped Tiago Andrade in behind the back line but the striker couldn't keep his left-footed volley on target with only James Binfield to beat in the Pagham goal. They had another clear sight of goal 4 minutes later when a recycled corner found Eddie French inside the far post but his header was tamely straight into Binfield's grateful arms.
After that the Lions arrested the flow of play and gained a foothold in the game. They could have taken the lead themselves when Liam Rowlett rose unmarked to meet an in-swinging free-kick but his header flew past the post with Sam Smith (above) well beaten. Moments later Callum Overton had Pagham's next chance when he wriggled through on goal but Smith stood his ground well and blocked the effort before bravely seizing the rebound at the striker's feet. Smith denied Overton again 10 minutes later when he guided the ball goal-wards following a cross from the right, but the 'keeper gratefully collected the ball.
After the break, the visitors imposed similar pressure to their last second half showing here and we dismayed to see Smith at his best to tip a fierce Jake Kilhams drive onto the post in the 55th minute and the ball flew back across goal, but thankfully to safety. Just after the hour mark it was the hosts' turn to impose pressure. A half-cleared corner came out to Ross Swaine on the edge of the area and his volley looked to be heading for the bottom corner but Eddie French inadvertently got in the way and deflected the ball wide for a goal kick. 4 minutes later it was Moore's turn to shoot at goal but Binfield was equal to it, parrying the ball wide and away.
With extra time beckoning and with both sides appearing to be resigned to it, out of nowhere Andrade momentarily broke clear of the defence and before he could be caught he unleashed a dipping drive from 20 yards that Binfield did exceptionally well to get finger tips to, which ensured the ball bounced the safe side of the line after it cannoned off the underside of the crossbar.
There were countless tired legs on both sides during the extra period and as such there was little in the way of goalmouth action in the first half apart from a quick sight of goal for Overton but he could only shoot wide. It was a similar tale in the second half, until Andrade popped up again moments before the final whistle. He calmly delayed his shot seeing Binfield go to ground but somehow the 'keeper managed to extend his trailing left leg to block the striker's effort and with that near miss came penalties.
Pagham calmly slotted away their first and took the early advantage when Moore's penalty was comfortably saved by Binfield in reply. Smith restored parity when he blocked the visitor's third kick, but Byron Napper struck the crossbar with the Magpies' 4th and thereby gave substitute Scott Murfin the opportunity to win the game with the Lions' 5th, which he duly took sending Smith the wrong way and the Magpies out of the competition.
The hosts are now only left with the Sussex County FA Senior Cup to fight for in the knock-out department, in which they travel to Saltdean on 3rd October, but they now turn their attentions quickly back to the league where they travel to East Preston on Tuesday night.