An extraordinary Dave Kew Memorial Cup Final saw what looked like a comfortable five-nil half-time lead for Worthing turn into a six-four edge-of-your-seats drama!
It could have been quite different though, in the very first minute, when Toby Funnell nutmegged Cam Tutt and broke away down the right but his cross to Joe Bennett ended up comfortably in the arms of Rui Buckland.
Soon after that and Connor Kelly, in the Pagham goal, stuck out a decisive boot to stop Ollie Pearce capitalising on Ahmed Kamil-Hassan’s delivery.
A quick counter-attack led to the deadlock-breaker on eleven minutes as a delightful touch from Mo Jannah led to Pearce releasing Kieron Pamment through the inside-right channel and he drilled his shot low, across the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner.
The lead was soon doubled when Tutt’s chipped pass to Pearce resulted in him being brought down in the area by one time Worthing player, Jack WIlliamson. Ollie got up and sent Kelly the wrong way from the spot.
Grant Radmore drove a twenty yard effort the wrong side of the post but the rampant visitors rapidly made it three, when roles were reversed and Pearce this time put Jannah in the clear and he did the rest to open his account for the club.
Pamment got down the right to tee-up Pearce for a potential fourth, only for Kelly to deny him.
Not long past the half-hour mark and it was Pamment himself who doubled his personal tally for the afternoon, with Ricky Aguiar slipping him in and allowing him to find the same bottom corner that he had for his first.
A slip at the back by the hosts saw the ball break for Pearce and he nudged onto Jannah but Kelly was there to keep the score down again by the near upright, with The Reds showing no signs of letting up.
An improvised backheel flick by Ollie nearly saw him convert Pamment’s right-sided cross at the front stick before a defensive howler gift wrapped our number sixteen a fifth – and his second – to leave him with a delicate dink into an unguarded net.
Early in the second forty-five and an Aguiar charge through the inside right resulted in Pamment being kept out impressively by Kelly.
A flurry of substitutions around the hour turned the game on it’s head and The Lions were soon threatening the Worthing goal.
Former Red, Joe Clarke forced a fine stop from Buckland, following a byline pullback before former U18 topscorer, Callum Chalmers started to run riot. The pacy and powerful striker got the better of a now new look visiting rearguard to draw a save out of Buckland.
His next foray forward commenced an incredible burst of five goals in just eight minutes !
Firstly, despite seeing his initial attempt beaten away by Buckland, he regained possession on the right and centred for fellow replacement and ex-Red, Jake Heryet to sweep home.
The away team awoke and Aguiar played a cracking ball into Jasper Pattenden who in turn guided it into trialist, Stevan Jovanovic. He tussled with Williamson but the White’s midfielder couldn’t prevent the net from bulging once more.
With a commanding six-one advantage, the red ribbons were tied tightly onto the cup. Well, not very tightly, apparently.
The goals kept coming, and all of them for Pagham!
Jamie Carroll powered towards the target and smacked the post but Dave Crouch – one of that flurry of changes we’d had not long after the sixty-minute mark – was on hand to bury the rebound.
Then, Home Officials looked frantically for the white and black ribbons, as Chalmers nipped in ahead of both Ty Mthunzi and Rui to create havoc at the back for a stunned away side. The end result being a beautifully-judged curling lob by Captain, Jack Barnes that looped up into the top corner.
Skipper, Barnes came close to completing his brace five minutes from time; Buckland holding onto his low fizzer.
It took a matter of seconds for Pagham’s fourth to finally arrive when Buckland got a clenched fist to George Bingham’s header and Heryet put his name on the scoresheet for a second occasion; emphatically firing home to make the final outcome anyone’s guess!
In the end, the two completing clubs settled for just the ten goals and Worthing proudly lifted The Dave Kew Memorial Cup it what was a more than fitting tribute to the late, great Mr. Kew.
Match Report: Gareth Nicholas