Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland lamented a ‘minute of madness’ as two quickfire Kieron Pamment goals saw off Horsham YMCA at Nyetimber Lane.
The former Horsham winger crashed in a brace during first-half injury-time to put the hosts in the box seat.
Ashley Dugdale pulled a goal back in the second half with the YM camp thinking they could force a draw, before a screamer from George Cody sealed the Lions the points.
Buckland, however, felt his side more than got their own claws into their opponents, but did not get the rub of the green at the key moments.
He said: “It was an okay performance, but as ever with these things, when you find yourselves in the footballing wilderness as it were, when you are struggling and questioning the team and yourself, things go against you sometimes.
“We set out a game plan against Pagham, who are a very good side, especially at home, and it was going hunky-dory.
“We actually had two very good opportunities in the first half, but then there was a minute of madness befoe half-time that killed the game.
“It’s not sour grapes, but the first goal was five yards offside, I did not blow my stack, I just asked the linesman what was up with it and he replied that the sun was in his eyes and he couldn’t see! What can you say to that?
“The second came from a throw when Dean Carden and the backline stopped, the only one that didn’t was their forward, who smashed the ball home. It was quite surreal as I couldn’t criticise them for the first 45 minutes – and we came out second half and almost dominated the game. We got a deserved goal and I thought we would go on to draw 2-2.
“They then hit one which boomeranged into the top corner and you have to think it is one of those days. In the car afterwards I thought to myself; well the shape was okay. How many did not perform? Pretty much everyone did, so it was one of those.”
The hosts went close early on as Callum Overton was put through, only for the ball into the box to be charged down, while Liam Humphreys almost forced an own goal.
A YM free-kick was then cleared off the line, before the opening goal saw Overton carve space for Pamment to fire a wonder-strike past Mark Fox. A minute later, Fox was stranded as Pamment scored with a stinging shot to put the Lions 2-0 up at half-time.
As the hour approached, Phil Johnson and Dan Evans kept James Binfield on his toes and Dave Brown shot wide.
On 70 minutes, Overton’s free-kick was deflected wide, Guy Harding headed just over for the visitors from a corner, while Josh Irish repeated the feat at the other end.
Another corner late on saw Dugdale head home to give Horsham hope, but with five minutes added on, Cody made sure of all three points with a long-range shot.
YMCA: Fox, Wright, Harding, Gathern, Familton, Cooke, Evans, Dugdale, Johnson, Cave, Brown. Subs: Shipton, Buchanan, Kirkham, Hole, Curtis.