Ten-man Bognor slipped out of the FA Trophy, ending hopes they would have anything like the glorious run to the semi-finals that illuminated last season.
Away to Slough Town at their impressive new stadium and facilities at Arbour Park, the injury-hit Rocks found the hosts, who are flying high in the Southern League premier division, had too much for them..
Bognor started with Italian midfielder Lorenzo Dolcetti, who got his first start of the season. Calvin Davies was missing after picking up a knock but James Fraser returned to midfield, with Jimmy Wild returning to the bench following injury.
It was also good to see utility man Harvey Whyte training before kick-off, and it seems only a matter of time before he is playing again.
Slough fielded Elijah Adebayo, who signed on loan from Fulham on a month’s deal hours before kick-off.
Ollie Pearce won a free-kick early on for Bognor. It dropped for Sami El-Abd, who won a corner. Pearce’s corner picked out the diving El-Abd who powered a header at goal which was well stopped by Mark Scott in the Rebels goal.
Pearce won a corner after good work from James Crane on the right but it came to nothing.
A free-kick on the left from the hosts saw Adebayo divert it towards goal but Dan Lincoln’s fingertip save kept it goalless.
Lee Togwell cut the ball back towards goal following a cross to the back post but Lincoln was quick to deny him.
On 12 minutes Bognor went behind. A corner fell to Adebayo, who controlled it before slamming the ball low beyond Lincoln from the edge of the box.
Lincoln was called into action again when Warren Harris shot low at goal. It took a deflection off a Bognor defender before Lincoln saved.
Slough appealed for a handball in the box as Fraser slid in to block Togwell’s shot and the same player missed from the rebound.
A long ball forward by Chad Field was knocked forward to Dolcetti but it bounced through to Scott and the linesman had his flag up for offside.
James Dobson’s free-kick into the area was pounced on by Adebayo who flicked a header into the air, but Lincoln stayed strong to block him.
Thomas Byrne’s inviting cross almost found Dolcetti, who slid in but coulsn’t convert.
But Slough went further ahead as Darren Budd was caught in possession on 22 minutes. Dobson made headway into the box before shooting low into the bottom corner.
Dobson’s powerful effort outside the box forced Lincoln into a fine save on 24 minutes.
Fraser was enjoying good possession down the right for the Rebels. His chipped pass found Adebayo in the box and he turned and shot but he was blocked by a defender.
Pearce won a penalty on 32 minutes after going to ground in the area. He stepped up to slot the spot-kick low into the bottom corner.
Dobson was booked on 33 minutes for appearing to argue with the referee.
Pearce’s cross was aimed at Fraser and Byrne in the area but was missed by everyone.
El-Abd’s long ball into the box saw Fraser leap but Scott reached it first.
Nathan Webb brought Fraser down on the left, giving a free-kick to Bognor. Pearce’s kick bounced towards Crane but he was blocked.
On 44 minutes Budd went into a sliding challenge with Togwell as Adebayo put the ball in the net. He was offside and the referee had pulled it back for the foul by Budd, who was shown a straight red card. El-Abd was booked for complaining.
It got worse for Bognor as Adebayo scored again, striking it beyond Lincoln following a right-sided cross in first-half stoppage time.
guy Hollis’ long throw was knocked on by Adebayo but it flew over the bar on 47 minutes.
Pearce received a yellow card for disputing an offside decision.
Dobson’s free-kick found Moone but his header was blocked on 50 minutes.
Jamesv Crane’s long throw into the box was knocked on by El-Abd but neither Fraser nor Byrne could take advantage.
Dobson hit Bognor on the break with his pace and shot powerfully, forcing Lincoln into yet another save.
Pearce’s free-kick had to be palmed out one-handed by Scott.
Bognor lost possession and Dobson went through again. His shot from 20 yards bounced wide of the post.
On the hour, Adebayo ran square across the defence but was closed down.
Slough had the ball in the net again on 64 minutes. The first attempt by Togwell deflected off Doug Tuck and into the path of Moone, who put it away. But the linesman had his flag up for offside.
Dobson slammed another attempt off the upright on 66 minutes as the hosts looked for more.
On 67 minutes Dolcetti was replaced by Ed Sanders – before Lincoln had to push away a Dobson corner.
Josh Jackman’s cross was almost into the path of Moone at the near post but, under pressure from the defenders, his attempt rolled harmlessly wide.
Jimmy Muitt replaced young Brighton full-back Tom Cadman on 72 minutes.
Muitt was causing all sorts of problems and won a corner that was taken by Pearce and found Field, who spun a header narrowly over.
Sanders worked the ball forward to Muitt and he found Fraser. Fraser flicked the ball over his marker and on the volley struck it over the bar.
On 80 minutes Will Robinson replaced the tiring Byrne.
Muitt went to ground before finding Pearce and his shot on the follow-up was only just wide.
Bognor should have scored on 84 minutes. Pearce’s low cross was met by Fraser, who forced a good save by Scott – then the ball rolled out to the onrushing Crane, who smashed his shot off the bar.
Pearce blasted over rather wastefully on 86 minutes from around 25 yards while at the other end Dobson’s corner fell kindly for Moone, who headed it wide.
Then Fraser set up Muitt, who spooned his shot well over.
Dobson made his way past El-Abd before shooting low and fast, forcing Lincoln into another save down to his left. The resulting corner by Dobson found Moone on the back post but his header was easily saved.
It was 4-1 when Togwell’s pass, after good work by Moone, saw him find the impressive Adebayo ,who moved away from his marker before completing his hat-trick.
The Rocks now turn their attention to the Sussex Senior Cup, in which they host SCFL side Southwick on Tuesday. Then it’s time to refocus on the Ryman premier, with Wingate and Finchley visiting Nyewood Lane next Saturday.
Rocks: Lincoln, Crane, Cadman (Muitt 72), Tuck, El-Abd, Field, Fraser, Budd, Byrne (Robinson 80), Pearce, Dolcetti (Sanders 67). Unused sub: Wild.
Attendance - 543
Report by Liam Goodley
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst 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.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!