The Rocks salvaged a draw with a late Dylan Barnett free-kick on a night when they played the whole game with a defender in goal.
In the end they’d have been content with point as they trailed with five minutes left - that after a rather lacklustre first-half performance by the hosts put Ian Chapman’s visitors in charge.
The Rocks had to use Gary Charman in goal as Billy Granger was ruled out with a sickness bug and they have no reserve goalie in the squad. Dan Beck returned to the subs’ bench after an injury.
The Rocks went behind after only two minutes when Leon Redwood’s free-kick swung in nicely for Lee Harding, who guided the ball with his head.
Ollie Pearce was close to a reply for Bognor but Cheick Toure blocked his attempt inside the box.
Pat Harding turned and shot from outside the box but Charman gathered it.
Chad Field’s long ball was run on to by Jimmy Wild but the ball bounced back to James Crane who blasted over with his first touch.
Pearce won a corner for Bognor which was headed out to Darren Budd but it came to nothing.
The Hillians won a corner which was only just gathered by Charman in the air.
Redwood received a yellow card for a late challenge on Alex Parsons down the right on 19 minutes. Pearce’s free-kick was directed towards goal by James Fraser but it was easily saved.
Jack Brivio was given a yellow on 26 minutes after a late challenge on Budd just inside the visitors’ half.
Soon Joey Taylor’s nasty inswinging cross from the right was well stopped by Charman.
Brivio cut across defence before running with pace and letting fly with a 25 yard effort. He forced Charman into a fingertip save to divert the ball narrowly wide of the goal.
A good turn by Wild saw him surge in towards the box but the referee pulled him up for a foul on one of the defenders.
Tyrell Richardson-Brown sped down the left for Hill before shooting wide when he had beaten everyone with his pace on 34 minutes.
Wild’s cross into the box after a neat backheel rolled all the way across the area and was out of the reach of Fraser.
Richardson-Brown latched onto a rather bizarre backward free-kick by Pearce but his shot was was deflected wide on 38 minutes.
Budd hit one over the bar following a throw-in. It took a deflection, meaning yet another corner. Pearce’s kick found Sami El-Abd but he glanced his header well wide on 42 minutes.
The visitors brought on Curtis Gayler for the booked Brivio at half time.
Richardson-Brown’s low attempt struck El-Abd before running through to Charman on 48 minutes.
The Rocks clearly needed a change and Field was replaced by Calvin Davies on 54 minutes.
Pearce’s run saw him shoot wide with Huxter diving for it but on the rebound Wild was tripped – meaning a penalty for Bognor on 56 minutes. Crane stepped up and blasted it straight and Huxter saved with his legs.
Parsons blasted wide from a corner moments later while Crane’s shot was stopped and then the same player was denied moments later again by a fine save by Huxter.
Richardson-Brown was replaced by Chris Smith on 65 minutes for the visitors.
Pat Harding shot wide following a cross. From a subsequent corner, Sam Fisk was blocked off with his attempt.
Jimmy Muitt replaced Parsons on 75 minutes before Pat Harding set up Lee Harding. He got into the box before firing low at goal and forcing Charman into a save.
Redwood blasted over again from outside the area, trying to test Charman.
Crane’s cross fell to Fraser who blasted well wide of the goal and it seemed it just wasn’t going to be Bognor’s night.
Wild’s cross found El-Abd on the back post but his effort was easily stopped by the goalkeeper on 84 minutes.
Fraser won a free-kick in a dangerous position with four minutes left. Barnett stepped up to take it and from outside the area his curling and bouncing shot went low into the bottom right corner to send Rocks fans crazy.
Soon after, Barnett’s cross was too hard for anyone in the box. Then Smith hit a low shot at Charman’s goal but his attempt was cleared off the line by Ed Sanders.
El-Abd received a booking and Will Robinson replaced Fraser deep into stoppage time.
Barnett went into the book late on. The resultant freekick was well saved by Charman much to everyone’s relief.
The final whistle went and Bognor had salvaged a point. A
They have a break now until Saturday, October 8, when they go to Dulwich Hamlet, while the Hillians host Cadbury Heath this Saturday in the FA Cup third qualifying round.
Rocks: Charman, Sanders, Barnett, Crane (c), El-Abd, Field (Davies 54), Fraser (Robinson 90 +2), Budd, Wild, Pearce, Parsons (Muitt 75). Unused subs: Beck.
Hillians: Huxter,Taylor, Redwood, Pearse, Toure, Fisk, L Harding, Izuchukwu, P Harding, Brivio, Richardson Brown. Subs: Gayler,
Smith, Richmond, Bolton, Tuck.
Report by LIAM GOODLEY
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