Bognor back in top five after win at Corinthian Casuals - picture special and post-match interview
Jimmy Muitt reckons Bognor can push on and snatch promotion from the Bostik premier division. And as if to underline his belief in that conviction the in-form frontman bagged a double as the Rocks came from behind to grab a 3-1 win at Corinthian Casuals.
Muitt’s double took his tally to 27 goals in all competitions so far this campaign and if he can maintain his sizzling form he could well go on to provide the firepower that earns the Nyewood Lane outfit a very real chance of going up through the play-offs.
Bognor, bossed by Robbie Blake at the King George’s Arena with manager Jack Pearce missing the match because of illness, put a largely lethargic first-half display behind them to deliver a gutsy performance after the break that earned a victory to propel them to fifth place in the league table.
Whatever Blake said to his charges during the interval worked. They had gone in at half-time 1-0 down after Dan Lincoln failed to save a speculative shot from Hamilton Antonio on ten minutes, and struggled to get a foothold thereafter.
But the visitors almost immediately freed themselves from the shackles of mediocrity and began the second period with renewed purpose. They were able to demonstrate a tangible uplift in desire and it wasn’t long before they were rewarded for their endeavour.
The lively Tommy Scutt, on for a leggy Josh McCormack, struck to make it 1-1 on 55 minutes thanks to a shot that keeper Daniel Bracken seemed to help into the back of the next in limp-wristed fashion.
Then just five minutes later, Muitt gave the Rocks the lead from the penalty spot after he was upended crudely by Jack Strange - and the red-hot attacker buried his shot past a despairing Bracken.
Led by inspiring skipper Harvey Whyte, the Rocks looked comfortable for the win and the task ahead was only to see out the last ten minutes. Then home sub Max Oldham sustained a nasty head injury in a calamitous clash with the excellent Joe Tomlinson, who was faultless in his actions and came out of the collision seemingly unaffected.
Play was suspended and the teams left the field for around 15 minutes but after treatment from paramedics on the pitch Oldham was able to walk off and the teams took to the pitch to resume play for last ten minutes or so.
But it was far from a cakewalk for Bognor as the clock ran down, with the Casuals bombarding their goal only to find the Rocks rearguard in resolute mood to repel. Ed Sanders, Harvey Read and Chad Field, the back three of a five-man defence, stood strong and with Lincoln more than making up for his first-half error, the home side were thwarted time and time again.
It was left for Muitt to give the scoreline a more emphatic feel when he tucked away a last-gasp goal which owed a lot to the sheer resolve of Jimmy Wild in winning and holding the ball before allowing pass-master Doug Tuck to thread the ball invitingly to Muitt and he made no mistake from close range.
An unsightly melee at the final whistle couldn't detract from a superb triumph on the road -- one which will no doubt play a part in aiding boss Pearce's recovery from the sickness which kept him away.
The jubilant Rocks celebrated with the good-sized travelling contingent in the 434 in attendance; enjoying the win but already turning their attention to that play-off target and the next hurdle -- Tonbridge Angels at home next Saturday.
Rocks: Lincoln, McCormick (Scutt 46), Tomlinson, Tuck, Field, Read, Whyte, Sanders, Wild, Muitt, Gilot. Subs, not used: Heath, Osbourne, Kardos.