Pearce wondergoal rescues Rocks - but Suffolk replay is needed

Harvey Whyte went close a couple of times for the Rocks    Picture by Louise Adams
Harvey Whyte went close a couple of times for the Rocks Picture by Louise Adams

Bognor could probably consider themselves lucky to get a draw which sees them off to AFC Sudbury for a replay after a wonder goal from Ollie Pearce saved them from an early exit.

Ashley-Paul Robinson gave Bognor a first-half lead from the spot but they lost their way and needded Pearce’s late inspiration to earn another chance.

Ben Johnson appeared on the bench for the Rocks for the first time in over a month after injury, while James Crane and Craig Robson returned to the first XI after being rested in midweek.

Robson had to clear the ball from a Correy Davidson cross, heading it away for a corner on four minutes.

Harvey Whyte sped down the right on the counter attack but his cross was intercepted by Marcus Garnham in the Sudbury goal.

Davidson was deemed to have been brought down near the corner of the box by Josh Warren and the referee gave a free-kick and a yellow card to the defender. The free-kick was knocked clear by Robson.

Pearce’s cross was backheeled goalwards by Stuart Green but it was well saved by Garnham.

Pearce struck a low shot wide from the edge of the area.

Kris Newby’s deep cross from the right had to be headed out for a corner by Dan Sackman. Robinson’s counter attack fell through from the corner when he tried to pass to Green on the left but he hit the ball too hard.

A handball was called in the box and a penalty was awarded to Bognor on 25 minutes. Up stepped Robinson, who has a great record in taking penalties and made no mistake slotting low into the bottom corner.

Robinson’s cross from the right found Doug Tuck in the box but the midfielder’s header was well wide of the left post on 28 minutes.

A neat through ball was chased by Green who got a sharp shot away. Garnham was in the way to block the attempt and Whyte failed to follow up.

Pearce sent in a cross from the right and found Robinson, whose header bounced narrowly wide.

HT 1-0

Sudbury started well in the second half and scored an equaliser on 49 minutes when the dangerous Davidson pounced on the back post to slot in from point-blank range after a low cross from the right.

Winterton pulled off a good save seconds later to deny Newby.

A Pearce cross found Whyte, who back-heeled it towards goal, but goalkeeper Garnham tipped the ball over the crossbar.

Robinson knocked another attempt well over the bar from long distance on 52 minutes.

Ollie Berquez received a booking for sliding in two-footed on Jake Thomson on 60 minutes.

A double substitution for Bognor followed, with Thomson and Robinson replaced by Charlie Oatway and Alex Parsons on 63 minutes.

Whyte received a yellow card on 65 minutes for a late challenge on Sam Clarke.

AFC Sudbury took the lead on 67 minutes when danger-man Davidson had a shot that flicked off of Winterton’s fingertips and was wide of the goal but sub James Baker slid in on the right post to poke home.

Crane’s cross from the left was flicked on but couldn’t find Green, then Pearce’s shot whizzed just wide.

Johnson replaced Warren for Bognor on 73 minutes.

Ryan Henshaw was booked for tripping Pearce on 75 minutes. Johnson took the free-kick on the right and it fell to Tuck, who poked the ball into an open net on 76 minutes – but the linesman spoiled the party, raising his flag for offside.

Crane did well when a through ball found him. He forced a good save out of Garnham on 80 minutes when he cut inside past a defender.

Garnham had to punch clear a dangerous cross from Johnson on 86 minutes as Bognor attacked in numbers looking to force a replay.

Parsons headed back across goal but Yiga was there to head away.

But trying his luck from around 30 yards, Pearce let fly with a wonderful shot which beat Garnham and flew in on 91 minutes, meaning the Rocks head for a replay at AFC Sudbury on Tuesday (7.45pm).

ROCKS: Winterton, Warren (Johnson 73), Crane, Tuck, Sackman, Robson, Whyte, Thomson (Oatway 63), Green, Robinson (Parsons 63), Pearce. Unused subs: Lawson, Branford

LIAM GOODLEY