The curtain came down on a fantastic season in remarkable fashion as champions Horsham edged out Pagham to sign off from the Southern Combination League with a victory.
There was a party atmosphere at Nyetimber Lane as Horsham supported donned their usual final-day fancy dress which took an English theme to tie in with St George’s Day.
A solitary first-half goal from Darren Boswell wrapped up the points on the pitch for the Hornets as they clinched their 31st win of the season.
With Horsham supporters arrived dressed as all-things English, with knights, Mr Bean, Bobby Moore, Big Ben and the Queen amongst their ranks having arrived on an open-top bus, there was no parking of the bus on the pitch in an open game.
The hosts having formed a guard of honour for the newly-crowned champions, had goalkeeper James Binfiend to congratulate at half-time after a string of saves.
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola said: “We did not play brilliantly and we were struggling for numbers to be honest
“But we got the win and beat the point total we won it with at East Preston by a point, so I was pleased with that.
“It was really, really good fun day. It was a case of After the Lord Mayor’s Show after last Saturday, when everyone was buzzing to pick up the trophy.
“Having said that, we wanted to win for all the supporters that had come down in their numbers.
“We played quite well in the first half and could have been four or five up, but we did not do anything after the break and neither did they really.”
Kieron Pamment went on a searching run and after beating his man, he created space and laid the ball off to an unmarked Terry Dodd, but his curling effort was well saved by Binfield’s leg.
On 15 minutes, Dodd showed great strength to hold off his marker and unleash a powerful shot just at the edge of the box that Binfield parried.
The stopper was called into action again as he continued to thwart Dodd by holding a close range volley.
The visitors were awarded a spot kick on 20 minutes as Ash Jones’ header was cleared off the line, but referee Steve Hughes has spotted a hand-ball in the build up.
Joe Shelley was denied by the frame of the goal as his penalty came back off the base of the post.
The title winners did take the ten minutes later as Brad Lewis put a ball over the top for Boswell, who beat Binfield to the ball and prodded over him into the net.
In a fairly subdued second half, Pagham came closest to their opening as they looked the clinch third place as James Thurgar fired wide.
The impressive Binfield made another routine stop, before, with 15 minutes remaining, Ryan Storrie’s cross was cleared for a corner, which Shelley headed over.
Pamment then took an extra touch in the box and was blocked out, while Dodd broke free and fired just wide when he should have scored.
Horsham: Shaw, Duncan, Farmer, Jones, Knee, Storrie, Lewis, Shelley, Boswell, Pamment, Dodd. Subs: Chadwick, Atkinson, Keehan, Clark.
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