Rocks and Rocks take a point apiece

Ollie Pearce was on the scoresheet at East Thurrock  Picture by Chris Hatton
Ollie Pearce was on the scoresheet at East Thurrock Picture by Chris Hatton

BOGNOR were happy to come home from East Thurrock with a 1-1 draw despite letting slip a 1-0 lead less than 20 minutes from time.

The hosts, also known as the Rocks, had the better of the play and had numerous chances to score while it was still goalless and again when they were behind.

The draw extended Bognor’s unbeaten run to eight games and moved them up to ninth in the table, just two points off a play-off spot.

In the first minute East Thurrock striker Sam Higgins burst through a static defence and sent a shot narrowly wide.

Bognor had to withstand an early ET onslaught and Mitchell Gilbey was next to go close, but his effort was saved by Chris Winterton. Then the Rocks keeper came to their rescue again by keeping out an Ellis Brown strike.

The Rocks took a 13th-minute lead with their first attack. Callum Overton rode Ryan Sammons’ tackle to run to the edge of the box and when his shot was saved by David Hughes, the rebound fell to Ollie Pearce, who poked in from close range.

The rest of the half belonged to the home side and Bognor looked dangerous only on rare occasions.

Higgins blazed one over Winterton’s bar before Pearce did the same at the other end after Overton set him on his way.

Gilbey’s shot whistled past the post and when ET were awarded a soft penalty for James Crane’s 50-50 challenge on Gilbey, Higgins his the post and followed Lionel Messi’s Manchester footsteps by putting an easy follow-up wide.

Bognor would have been glad to reach the interval ahead and they were under pressure again after the break as Higgins missed another two golden chances.

Alex Parsons outpaced the home defence but an alert Hughes thwarted him, and with 20 minutes left Doug Tuck pulled up with what looked like a groin injury and was replaced by Charlie Oatway.

Two minutes later, East Thurrock were level. Higgins should have scored but was denied by Winterton but the loose ball was converted by Gilbey. The Rocks defenders pointed out a linesman’s flag had been raised but it transpired this was for a foul by a defender, rather than offside.

East Thurrock went for the winner but it was almost Bognor who got it when Jason Prior - who for most of the latter stages dropped back to help out his defence - headed a Bognor corner against the bar.

Defeat would have been harsh on the hosts and Bognor came happy reflecting on four points in four days that had strengthened their play-off push. They’re next in action on Saturday when they visit 16th-placed Tonbridge.

Rocks: Winterton, Whyte, Crane, Tuck (Oatway), Sackman, Robson, Oatway, Thomson, Prior, Pearce, Parsons. Subs not used: Lawson, Cody, Warren.

SIMON COOK