Rocks make it a grey day for Grays

Ollie pearce earned the spot kick from which the Rocks took the lead at Grays / Picture by Chris Hatton
Ollie pearce earned the spot kick from which the Rocks took the lead at Grays / Picture by Chris Hatton

Bognor made it five wins in six games with an excellent 2-0 victory away to leaders Grays.

The rocks have a good recent record against Athletic but on a pitch that resmbled a Sunday League playing surface it was obvious a flowing pass and movement game was unlikely.

Bognor set up a midfield three of Craig Robson, Dan Beck and Snorre Nilsen. This proved to be the right decision by the management as the trio took the game away from Grays and were the backbone of the team.

Grays came out of the traps fast and Carlos and Ferguson linked well down the Bognor right to force an early corner which was well dealt with by the Bognor defence.

As Bognor got into the game Beck put Ollie Pearce through on goal and he went down under pressure in the box, but no penalty was given.

Grays’ response was instant and Dumebi GB-Duumaka had a shot from long distance with Grant Smith, off his line, happy to see it land on the top of the net.

Bognor set up a midfield three of Craig Robson, Dan Beck and Snorre Nilsen. This proved to be the right decision by the management as the trio took the game away from Grays and were the backbone of the team.

Bognor started to take control of the game. The midfield asserted themselves, and with Harvey Whyte and James Crane overlapping the initiative was definitely going Bognor’s way.

On 21 minutes Nilsen capitised on a error by Sivapathansundaraan and his shot beat Johnson in the goal, only for Cronin to clear off the line.

Minutes later Pearce held off a challenge and curled the ball just over with Johnson well beaten.

The Bognor pressure continued – on 36 minutes Alfie Rutherford had a shot beaten away for a corner, and minutes later an inch-perfect cross from Beck to Rutherford again saw Ferguson deny the young Bognor forward a goal.

With half-time Nilsen headed on a Robson cross to Pearce, who was taken out in the box by Jay Leader, the last defender, for a penalty and a straight red card despite the protests of the Grays management and the player.

Once the protests settled down up stepped Jason Prior to smash the ball into the roof of the net and give Bognor a deserved lead.

Grays came out flying for the second half, and as Bognor sat back allowing the hosts time and space Fortnam-Tomlinson demonstrated excellent skill to volley just wide.

This gave Bognor the wake-up call they needed, and on 54 minutes a good run by Pearce following another good pass by Beck saw a Nilsen header deflected away at the last minute.

Indecision in the Bognor defence by Smith and Whyte allowed Ferguson and Grays their best chance of the day, but Smith redeemed himself with an excellent save.

On 73 minutes Prior chased down a back pass, Johnson in the home goal rushed his clearance which went to Beck, and his perfect cross to Rutherford allowed the young forward to put Bognor two up.

Bognor should have scored a third minutes later when a superb cross by Pearce found Prior inside the penalty box, but his header beat the keeper only to hit the far post and bounce out.

Grays could well have been down to nine men in the 81st minute when Cronin took out Sami El-Abd off the ball, but he got only a yellow card.

Grays had the ball in the net on 88 minutes much to the delight of the home crowd, but it was disallowed for offside.

The concensus of opinion among the travelling fans was that Beck was Bognor’s man of the match, but any of the midfield trio could have won the accolade.

Now the Rocks turn their attentions to midweek action - they host another form team, Kingstonian, at the Lane on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

ROCKS: Smith, Whyte, Field, El-Abd, Crane, Beck, Nilsen, Robson, Rutherford, (Parsons 82), Prior, Pearce. Subs unused: Green, Charman, Wollers.

Report by DAVE ROBINSON

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