Rocks buzz Wasps out of FA Trophy

Sami El-Abd was one of the Rocks' scorers / Picture by Tim Hale
Sami El-Abd was one of the Rocks' scorers / Picture by Tim Hale

A comfortable victory saw Rocks overcome East Grinstead to progress into the next round of the FA Trophy with goals from Sami El-Abd, Harvey Whyte and Jason Prior.

After a comfortable victory in the league against Staines Town in the week, Bognor continued their winning form in this first qualifying round tie against the Ryman one south team from the other side of Sussex.

Early on, a chipped pass from Doug Tuck found Alex Parsons on the right. Parsons’ cross forced goalkeeper Michael Hunter to tip the ball over the bar.

Ade Joshua sent a long-range shot high and wide for the Wasps before an Ollie Pearce corner picked out Prior and his header nearly allowed El-Abd to tap in.

Bill Parkinson struck one wide after good build-up play by Ross Morley and Joshua.

Craig Robson smashed the ball over the bar two minutes later and on 14 minutes the Rocks took the lead when Pearce’s corner found El-Abd in the box and his low header into the bottom corner beat Hunter.

Alfie Rutherford tried his luck after a through-ball by Robson but his fierce strike was always rising over the bar.

Callum Emptage’s right-sided cross for EG was well-stopped by Grant Smith, who hadn’t had much to do by this stage..

On 29 minutes Pearce let fly with a fierce drive which rattled off the crossbar and came out to Parsons, whose bouncing shot into the net was disallowed for offside.

It seemed inevitable that Bognor would score again and they did just that on 30 minutes. Whyte’s run inside from the right saw him reach the edge of the box before firing into the net.

Joshua went close seconds later when he smashed an effort just over the bar.

On 40 minutes Rutherford forced Hunter into a save. The ball flew out to Prior but his instant header bounced wide of the post.

Rutherford smashed another shot over the bar from the edge of the area and just before the break, Tuck cut the ball across the box but Prior wasn’t quite quick enough to poke it in.

HT 2-0

On 49 minutes, a shot from Tuck dipped kindly for Hunter in a rather ambitious attempt.

For the visitors, Leo Mazzone’s corner fell to Joshua but his quick flick was instantly blocked.

Chad Field and Smith failed to deal with a ball down the left as Johnson slipped in a shot low towards the net, but with the goal wide open, it rolled wide of the right post, much to Bognor’s relief.

Bognor went further ahead on 64 minutes when Prior netted following a goalmouth scramble.

Prior was replaced a minute later by Snorre Nilsen.

On 70 minutes Tuck was replaced by James Crane – the management team having one eye on a possible league trip to Hampton and Richmond on Tuesday night. But they later found out that game would not go ahead as Lewes held Hampton to an FA Trophy draw and the replay will be on Tuesday.

Parsons hit a deflected shot wide on 75 minutes while Mazzone’s effort from around 30 yards forced a fingertip save from Smith on 79 minutes.

Morley struck the bar for the visitors on 81 minutes - the closest they had come.

Crane’s long cross had to be put out for a corner by Emptage under pressure from Rutherford.

Nilsen’s long-range flew wide on 90 minutes.

Sam Winch had a low shot saved by Smith but 3-0 it finished and Bognor are in the hat for Monday’s second round qualifying draw. The next round takes place on Saturday, November 14.

Rocks: Smith, Whyte, Wollers, Tuck (Crane 70), El-Abd, Robson, Parsons, Rutherford, Prior (c) (Nilsen 65), Pearce, Field. Unused subs: Beck, Green.


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