Two new faces helped the Rocks to their sixth away league win of the season, which cemented their place in the play-off zone even if other results did see them slip from fourth to fifth.
James Crane scored the only goal on the club’s first visit to Enfield’s impressive Queen Elizabeth II Stadium on a day when goalkeeper Nick Jordan and striker Dan Thompson became the latest players to make their Rocks bows.
The club were able to sign Jordan on Friday evening as a replacement for the injured Craig Stoner. Jordan signed for Eastbourne Borough at the beginning of the
season and has played a handful of first-team games although has generally been on the bench.
He lives in Portsmouth has also played for Pompey, Exeter City, Torquay United, Crawley Town, Dorchester Town and Weymouth, and was signed as a replacement for Craig Stoner, who has a trapped nerve sustained at training on Thursday and which is causing him considerable pain.
Enfield have not enjoyed the best of times recently and in truth should have been beaten more comprehensively than by a single goal.
A combination of poor finishing and inspired goalkeeping by home keeper Noël Imber kept the home side in contention right until the end.
The Rocks were as usual roared on by an impressive following in North London and Enfield will have been delighted that this helped produce their highest gate of the season so far.
Credit and thanks must also go to the groundsman and his band of volunteers who worked tirelessly for almost three days to rid the pitch of snow – a task that was completed eventually late on Friday night under the floodlights.
They were rewarded with a flowing match, with Bognor looking stronger in the first half only to lose impetus for 20 minutes or so in the second period, before finishing the more likely side to score.
Ashley-Paul Robinson had the first real chance of the match in the opening minutes but his shot from 20 yards failed to trouble Imber in the home goal. Recent home
signing Scott McGleish then tried his hand with a surging run and fierce cross which was cleared by Louis John.
The visitors enjoyed a purple patch midway through the half with several excellent passing moves, each of which produced goalscoring opportunities. Lewis Stockford
shot just wide and then Thompson troubled Imber before the keeper gathered at the second attempt.
The best chance came when Harvey Whyte received the ball on the halfway line and set off towards goal with the Enfield defenders left trailling in his wake. Again that man Imber saved well with his feet when Harvey seemed sure to open the scoring.
The Rocks supporters only had a couple of minutes to wait for the breakthrough, however. A great move was started by Crane in his own half, and the ball was fed to Ashley Robinson on the wing.
He neatly beat his marker before sending an excellent ball into the six-yard box. The home defenders failed to attack it and Lewis Stockford showed great determination in touching it to Crane, who swept it into the net from a yard out to complete the move he himself had begun. The Enfield defenders claimed offside but the goal was allowed to stand.
Shortly before the break, with Bognor looking comfortably in control, young right-back John collapsed in agony, and after a lengthy delay was stretchered off having appeared to suffered a serious hamstring injury. He is likely to be missing for a month or more – another serious injury in a season when the club have been plagued by them.
Enfield came out for the second half in a more determined mood and earned a flurry of corners as they put Jordan and his defence under pressure. Liam Hope thought he had headed the equaliser only to be denied by an excellent point-blank save from Jordan, the ball then being hacked clear almost on the line by Jon Marzetti.
Within minutes Jordan had to be alert to tip McGleish’s goal bound shot around the post and he also did well to deny Walid Matata as the pressure mounted.
Midway through the half the tide began to turn with Bognor looking increasingly dangerous as Enfield left gaps when they went forward. Substitute Jordan Clarke had a
wonderful opportunity to score when put through by Kane Wills. With just Imber to beat he lashed hurriedly at the ball when a calmer approach was called for. Again
Imber saved the day.
From the resultant corner the home keeper saved well again as Thompson put in a powerful shot.
Stockford then tried his luck from some 30 yards out, and his shot just skimmed the bar.
Ten minutes from time it seemed as if the pressure had paid off as Ben Andrews headed powerfully into the net from another corner. The celebrations were shortlived
however as referee Mr Aylott had spotted what seemed to be a tug on a home player in the box.
Harvey Whyte again beat the entire defence with one of his impressive runs – but could not beat Imber from the edge of the box. The game ended with a final impressive save by Imber, this time from Thompson.
ROCKS: Jordan, John (Maretti), Stockford, Crane, Axten, Andrews, Beck, Wills, Robinson (Clarke), Thompson, Whyte. Unused subs: Tuck, Wollers, Boyle.
Report by Simon Cook
The Rocks will visit Eastbourne Utd in the fourth round of the Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday night - if the weather allows them. They then host Kingstonian in the league next Saturday.