Bognor's winning run halted at Harlow
Harlow proved too strong for Bognor as they fell to their second defeat of the season, with Alex Read netting two for the hosts.
It was the Rocks’ first defeat since the opening day of the season a month ago and saw them drop out of the top five.
The Harlow Arena was rain-hit as the Rocks arrived looking to build on their recent good run.
Thomas Byrne returned from international duty for the Rocks up front while Walter Figueira maintained his starting position.
Darren Budd got a start following his impressive performance against Guildford but Doug Tuck was missing through injury.
Lawrence Yiga blasted the ball over following a low cross into the Bognor box by Joe Benjamin on two minutes.
Fabian Simms played in Read, whose shot was saved fairly comfortably by Billy Granger.
When Bognor did get the ball in the early stages, it was stop-start as fouls were committed which broke up play. One of Ollie Pearce’s free-kicks was headed away on nine minutes.
Following good work by Benjamin on the left, the cross was too strong for Jared Small, but Mario Noto latched on to it before curling a shot at goal. Granger was well placed to save it.
James Fraser sped down the right before crossing low into the box but David Hughes managed to gather it.
Harlow won a free-kick in a dangerous position on 13 minutes. Billy Jones’s effort curled and dipped but again Granger was equal to it.
Figueira won a corner on the right on 16 minutes. Pearce’s kick bounced harmlessly out for a goal-kick.
On 19 minutes Benjamin went to ground and required treatment. Kieran Bishop replaced him.
Small lost the ball in his own half, allowing Figueira a run at goal, but his strike from outside the box bounced wide.
Yiga combined with Read and he cut inside the box on the left and spun a shot over the crossbar on 22 minutes.
Noto found Simms and his fierce cross was well stopped by Granger, who got low down to stop it.
Gary Charman appeared to be struggling and on came the physio to treat him on 24 minutes. Charman was limping slightly but he was okay to carry on.
Harlow took the lead on 26 minutes. Small cut inside the box before letting fly with a curling shot right into the top corner.
Then Noto’s free-kick spun high up towards the back post and Yiga got something on it but Granger got there to distract him and win a goal-kick.
Syrus Gordon tried his luck with another shot from long range on 32 minutes but Granger caught it.
A long ball up-field found Read and his quick turn allowed him to get a powerful low shot away, again calling Granger into action.
Byrne had a shot blocked before Figueira powered the ball low into the box and it fell to Pearce but he smashed it wide of the near post on 36 minutes. Pearce complained of a foul but he his claims were ignored.
A counter-attacking move from the Rocks saw Pearce play the ball forward to Figueira and his through ball was just too much for Byrne on 43 minutes.
Noto’s corner found the tall Ibrahima Sonko on 44 minutes and his header forced Granger into another save.
Sami El-Abd replaced Byrne at half-time for Bognor.
Charman blocked a Small chance and then Yiga forced Granger into a save.
Dylan Barnett fed Fraser in the box on 48 minutes but his low shot inside the box was well stopped by Hughes.
A Crane throw fell to Pearce but his strike was ambitious and easily saved by Hughes.
Pearce and Barnett combined well but the cross led to the offside flag being raised.
Crane went down under a challenge in the box on 62 minutes but the referee ignored the claims.
Jimmy Wild replaced Figueira on 66 minutes.
Small had a cross punched away by Granger and then Noto followed it up by blasting the ball narrowly over the bar from the corner of the box.
Following a long throw, a header out bounced to Gordon who struck it well over the bar.
Bognor went further behind when El-Abd passed it back to Granger, who ran out of his goal with the ball. He managed to track back when Bishop got it on the right before firing it into the box and Read hit the ball first time low into the net.
Soon Small found the ball on the left. His cross picked out Read and he was behind his marker to glance home Harlow’s third of the day on 76 minutes.
The Rocks brought on Alex Parsons for Budd.
Fraser teed up Parsons who sped through before shooting under Hughes and into the net on 80 minutes to give the travelling support something to cheer about.
Parsons swung in a neat cross for Wild, who rose well to head it but he directed his header wide.
Then Parsons won a corner with a deflected shot. Pearce’s corner kick found El-Abd but was saved by Hughes.
Bognor will hope for an improvement at Billericay Town in th FA Cup next Saturday (3pm).
Rocks: Granger, Crane, Barnett, Budd (Parsons 77), Charman, Sanders, Fraser, Beck (c), Byrne (El-Abd 45), Pearce, Figueira (Wild 66). Unused subs: Muitt, Robinson.
by Liam Goodley
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!