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Pearce backs FA decision on halting games

Selsey boss Daren Pearce believes the Football Association has made the right decision in halting grassroots football amid the coronavirus pandemic.


The Southern Combination Football League carried on with fixtures last weekend despite the professional game and the Isthmian League postponing their programmes.


But after Monday’s directive from FA chiefs, the SCFL suspended all football until April 4 at the earliest.


Selsey were 2-1 winners over Seaford but boss Pearce expected that game to be the final one for his club when he spoke to The Post just hours before the inevitable announcement.


Pearce said: “It’s a serious matter and it is not to be taken lightly.


“If they are going to do it for football, they need to do it the whole way down otherwise it provides grey areas.


“You do not need 500 people there to pass it on, it just needs one person.


“It is OK until one of your parents, grandparents or loved ones gets it and then it brings it all into perspective.


“Although it is great to have sport, this has to be taken seriously.”


Selsey had been in good form.


Max Davies levelled on 51 minutes after Seaford led 1-0 at the break.


And James Cowan buried a low shot for an 86th-minute winner before Ryan Morey saw red in the closing stages.


Pearce said: “We have done well in the last three games. We have beaten Bexhill, Oakwood and now Seaford.


“I was really pleased with the lads on Saturday as physicality-wise Seaford are one of the strongest sides, and also a good side, and our lads are very young.


“It was good to see my lads meet fire with fire when needed but also carry on doing what we do as well.


“They carried out the team specifics and stood up to them well and I was really pleased with them.”


The season came to a premature halt on a low point for Pagham boss Kerry Hardwell as his side were “embarrassed” in a 4-1 home defeat by Little Common.


The Lions were blown away by a flurry of late goals at Nyetimber Lane in the SCFL premier.


Boss Hardwell said: “This performance was the first time since I’ve been at the club I felt the players let themselves and the club down – the performance and attitude in general was not good enough and we got what we deserved by full-time.


“We came into the club with only five points on the board and I think in some players’ minds with the points and performances we’ve produced since my first game in November they think we are safe and the job is completed.


“As a club and as a group, we want to finish the season strong and finish as high as we can but with performances like that it won’t happen.


“Little Common started the game better but we found ourselves one up and if we had made the right choices in the final third in the first half it could have much different. However, we didn’t and Little Common embarrassed us in the second half by scoring three goals and deservedly picked up the three points.”


It all started promisingly for the Lions as they went one up through Callum Chalmers in the 22nd minute when he nodded into an open net after Lukas Franzen-Jones, showing great determination to chase a ball he had no right to get, went round the keeper and crossed into the middle.


There had already been some early Common pressure with Pagham keeper Tom Crook making two good saves either side of the Lions’ goal. Pagham’s Toby Funnell saw a shot hit a post from a 30-yard free-kick.


In the 33rd minute, Common levelled as Sam Cruttwell received the ball from a senselessly given away free-kick on the left and with everyone expecting a cross, he cleverly chipped the ball over Crook and into the net.


It was Pagham’s turn to press from the start of the second half, but despite good work up front by Chalmers and Franzen-Jones, they could not make any real chances.


Crook was once again in action, making two one on one saves and Nathan da Costa had to head off his line.


Despite having a goal disallowed for offside, the Lions kept giving the advantage to Little Common and were made to pay after 76 minutes when Cruttwell scored once again, this time from a scorching free-kick.


The Commoners were not finished and Jamie Crone rubbed salt into the wound with two late goals for the away side.


In division two, Bosham were 2-1 winners over Worthing Town thanks to an Alex Barnes double.

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