A nine-man Broadbridge Heath saw red on Tuesday night as they suffered a 4-0 defeat at the hands Pagham and their illustrious hit man Dan Simmonds.
Heath, who had started well, trailed 1-0 when ten minutes before half-time both Tim Martin and captain Tom Bold were both shown straight reds and Pagham’s Ryan Davidson a second yellow for their part in a fracas.
That gave the Lions a huge advantage and although the scoreline remained 1-0 at the break, Simmonds went on to net a hat-trick to leave promotion-chasing Pagham second in the Premier Division.
The game started with the visitors making all the early running and Lions ‘keeper James Binfield had to be at his best three times in the first ten minutes to keep the visitors from going in front.
Simmonds, however, put the Lions ahead in the 27th minute, driving home from 15 yards following up his own shot that had been saved by the Bears ‘keeper Conor Evento.
A strange incident followed in the 32nd minute, when a fracas broke out deep in the Pagham half, that resulted in the referee sending off two Broadbridge players - Martin and Bold - with straight reds and Davidson his second yellow card.
Simmonds had two half-chances to increase the lead before half-time, both flying just wide from distance, and Callum Overton had a shot saved at the foot of a post by the ‘keeper.
Three minutes into the second half, James Thurgar thundered a shot home at the far post and eight minutes later Simmonds put the game away, stroking the ball home from the edge of the box after Shay Wiggans’ long through ball.
Heath tried desperately to get back into the game and Scott Weller saw his long-shot smash into the bar, before Binfield pulled off an excellent save from the rebound.
But it was not long before Simmonds claimed the match-ball with a carbon copy of his second, this time with the defence-splitting ball being supplied by Lloyd Rowlatt after 70 minutes.
Heath: Evento, Martin, Balfour, Parsons, Robinson, Weller, Bold, D.Riecker, Iordache, Cousins, Fender. Subs: Connolly, LRiecker.
n Horsham YMCA fell further behind in the title race as their Premier Division clash away to Crawley Down Gatwick was postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch.
A 2-0 win for Haywards Heath at Arundel, narrow win for Three Bridges at home to Newhaven and Pagham’s success, means they slipped to fourth in the Premier Division standings.
Heath top the table with 68 points, one ahead of second-place Pagham.
Bridges, who have two games in hand on everyone, are third with 66 points, while YM are fourth with 64 points.
Loxwood’s home clash with Eastbourne Town was also postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch on Tuesday night.
This weekend, YM travel to AFC Uckfield, Heath welcome Newhaven and the Magpies host Peacehaven.