Sammy Igoe’s 85th-minute penalty earned Bognor three points and a place in the Ryman premier top three on an afternoon when their recent hectic schedule looked like it was catching up with them.
After a tremendous comeback away to Grays Athletic on Thursday to win 4-3 after being 3-0 down, Bognor were out to continue their good form against relegation-battling Wingate & Finchley.
Ollie Pearce tried his luck early on but his half-volley bounced wide.
Igoe’s neat cross from the right found Pearce on the back post but his header was gathered by goalkeeper Bobby Smith.
Josh Kennett won a corner and it fell to Leon Fisher but his ball in wsas too deep for Marc Weatherstone.
Another Igoe cross bounced kindly for Doug Tuck, who struck a shot from just outside the box with his left boot - but it swirled harmlessly wide.
For Wingate, Ahmet Rifat set up Tommy Tejansie, who smashed his effort only narrowly over the crossbar.
A cross from James Crane on the left almost found Terry Dodd but it was cleared.
Rifat tangled with Craig Robson and required treatment for a bloodied mouth.
Pearce won a corner on the left and Kane Wills’ cross found Robson, but the defender’s first touch was poor.
Igoe teed up Dodd for a low attempt that was deflected wide.
Crane’s cross from the left was flicked on in the box by Igoe but the ball bounced inches wide.
Wills went on the attack after good work from Dan Sackman by he was denied by a last-ditch well-timed tackle by Tejansie.
Ola Sogbamnu hit Bognor on the counter-attack and forced a save from Grant Smith. Sogbamnu tried his luck again but from 35 yards but his drive didn’t trouble Smith.
Pearce hit a fierce drive wide with less than ten minutes of the half left.
Paul Wright sent in a wicked cross and it beat everyone in the box before Fisher then hit a shot wide.
Rifat, Sogbamnu and Fisher all went close and Bognor were relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
Stuart Axten replaced Robson at half-time. Robson was apparently experiencing a chest problem.
Wingate continued where they left off in the first half, creating chances, before Arron Hopkinson replaced Scott Chamberlain on 49 minutes.
Dodd was shown a yellow card for arguing with a referee’s decision.
Brave defending from Sackman saw him deflect the ball to Rifat, whose sweet struck was saved by Smith.
Sogbamnu set up Kennett, but he curled his shot well wide.
Bognor got the ball to Hopkinson on the right. The winger cut inside to shoot from around 25 yards out, but the ball swung wide of the post.
Hopkinson won a corner, but Wills’ delivery was headed away by Fisher.
Kennett forced a great save from Smith - and then the goalkeeper had to deal with a header from the resulting corner.
Sub Dan Thompson played in Hopkinson, but he was stopped by Tejansie.
Hopkinson’s cross from the right was spun up in the air by a Wingate defender and Paul Hinshelwood followed it up with an attempt well over the bar.
Hopkinson won a free-kick after clearly being held up by Tejansie on the right and the Wingaste man was shown a yellow card. Kieran Street’s disputing of the decision was also rewarded with a yellow. Paul Hinshelwood’s free-kick was over-hit.
A clear Rocks corner was given as a goal-kick second later as Street appeared to head the ball out.
McCall found Rifat in the box but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he was closed down quickly and could only tap the ball into the arms of Smith.
Bognor got the breakthrough they had craved with five minutes left.
Hopkinson’s attempted shot from just inside the box was blocked by the hand of a defender. Up stepped Igoe to coolly chip home the spot kick and give Bognor the lead.
A bizarre off-the-ball incident saw Thompson and Rifat clash and square up to each other. The referee had to stop play and a red card was shown to both -and Rifat had to be encouraged off the field.
Rocks: Smith, Hinshelwood, Crane, Tuck, Sackman, Robson (Axten 46), Igoe, Wills, Dodd (Thompson 61), Pearce, Chamberlain (Hopkinson 49). Unused Subs: Thompson, Weir, Johnson.
The Rocks are next in action on Tuesday at Hampton & Richmond.