Rampant Rocks floor Farnborough
TWO goals by Alfie Rutherford helped Bognor to an easy win over Farnborough - and third place in the Ryman premier.
The teenage striker scored either side of half-time and his strikes, plus goals from Snorre Nilsen and sub Alex Parsons, wrapped up a comfortable victory.
It didn’t have the euphoric atmosphere of Saturday’s FA Cup triumph over Oxford City but it was a job well done by the Rocks.
The game represented a quick chance of revenge for the Rocks, whose only defeat in the past seven weeks came a fortnight ago at Farnborough, where they lost 2-1.
The hosts came into tonight’s game on a high after Saturday’s FA Cup heroics, which saw them come from 2-1 down to knock out National League South high-flyers Oxford City 4-2 and reach the fourth qualifying round for the first time in 11 seasons.
Satuday’s supersub hero Parsons again had to be content with a place on the bench, with Daryl Wollers the only man to come into the side in place of Harvey Whyte at full-back.
Bognor began the night in seventh place but just three points off second, while Farnborough knew even a victory would not lift them out of the relegation zone after a tough start to the season.
Farnborough had an immediate chance to press when Bogonr gave the ball away inside their own half but the attack came to nothing.
The first decent Rocks chance came in the fifth minute when Nilsen’s cross was hooked only just over his own bar by a defender with Jason Prior lurking.
Farnborough’s Glen Southam almost caught out Grant Smith with a powerful shot from 25 yards in the seventh minute but the keeper parried it to safety - this after Bognor had gifted them possession in a dangerous area for the third time in the opening exchanges.
A Bognor attack ended with Ollie Pearce having a shot blocked and Doug Tuck’s follow-up drfiting well wide.
Bognor took a tenth-minute lead with a simple goal. As Farnborough tried to launch a counter-attack James Crane got to a loose ball first and his curling ball into the box found Rutherford unmarked. He took a touch to control it and slid it beneath keeper Joe Tupper.
It should have been 2-0 two minutes later as Rutherford broke and squared nicely for Prior but a desperate block by a defender denied the skipper and top scorer.
Freddie Grant sent a long-range effort curling just wide of the post from an angle on 16 minutes.
Crane had a close-range drive blocked almost on the line when a corner led to a scramble.
All the Rocks’ best work was coming down the right and a Pearce cross was cut out by a defender’s leg.
Borough were certainly not afraid to shoot - Southam not too far off the target with a sweetly-hit volley from well outside the box. Straight away, Rutherford should have doubled his tally when Pearce found him with a square ball into the box but he wanted too long.
Then Prior’s direct run into the box was stopped by a well-timed tackle just as he was about to shoot.
Pearce continued to torment Farnborough down their left and almost put Rutherford in on the keeper but the pass had just a little too much weight.
The same side of the pitch produced the second on 29 minutes as Nilsen was played into space, drew the keeper after running into the box, rounded him and fired into the empty net from a tight angle - a finish any seasoned striker would have been proud of.
Yet another Pearce delivery from wide right found Prior beyond the far post but his attempt to find a team-mate with a header back into the danger zone didn’t quite come off.
Ex-Rock Perry Ryan’s shot was comfortably held by Smith after Farnborough found themselves three on two.
Rocks players were queueing up to score in a 37th-minute game of pinball in the penalty area but no-one could force it in.
Rutherford was almost in again but a high ball was gathered on the edge of his box by Tupper.
Ironic cheers came from the home crowd when the ref - having missed a number of obvious fouls - blew up for a cynical challenge that stopped Beck advancing.
Gary Charman replaced Tuck for the start of the second half.
Farnborough almost profited from another poor decision by the ref when he ruled that Prior was the offender not the victim as he went to ground in trying to chase a through-ball. Boro broke and Keith Emmerson’s glancing header wasn’t far wide of Smith’s post.
Rutherford was on the rampage again on 56 minutes, bearing down on the visiting defence. But this time he took the ball too wide before his cross-shot ended on the roof of the net.
After a lull, caused largely by a head injury suffered by Farnborough’s Ed Sanders, the Rocks went three up when sub Charman led an attack with a run through the middle and released Rutherford to his left. The teenager cut inside his defender and curled a lovely shot beyond Tupper and into the bottom corner.
Sanders had to give into his injury and was replaced by Lewis Collins.
From nowhere, Farnborough found a lifeline as Harry Williams finished well past the advancing Smith after a long ball caught out the home defence.
Martin Dynan replaced Marc Ethleston for Farnborough.
As the Rocks tried to regain the initiative, Prior was unbelievably booked after being barged off the ball as he chased a long ball - another of several decisions by the referee that had left most in the ground stunned.
The goal hero of the night, Rutherford, was replaced by Parsons on 73 minutes.
Nilsen was close to his second with a lovely bit of control from a corner and a volley which came back off the bar.
Boro skipper CJ Fearn was booked for a late tackle on Pearce. Then Prior looked set to head in No4 at the far post but his header from Parsons’ cross was well-saved.
Another Boro change saw Jack Barton come on for Tommy Wright.
Parsons rounded off the scoring with a low shot after Prior ran into the box and flicked the ball into the sub’s path.
A final change for Bognor saw Jamie Horncastle come on for Prior.
Rocks: Smith, Crane, Wollers, Tuck, El-Abd, Field. Rutherford, Beck, Prior, Pearce, Nilsen. Subs: Parsons, Charman, Horncastle, Whyte, Boughton.
Farnboro: Tupper, Ethleston, Fearn, Ryan, Sanders, Bevan, Grant, Southam, Wright, Williams, Emmerson. Subs: Barton, Dynan, Collins, Whittingham.
Ref: Anthony Foster
- STEVE BONE
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