Yet another game, yet another win - Rocks hit top four
Third game in five days? It would be too much for some, but this Rocks team are on a roll and they were far too strong for Grays as an Alfie Rutherford hat-trick earned a 3-0 win at a rainy Nyewood Lane.
Grays, sitting in tenth position in the Ryman premier, were looking to upset the Rocks’ fine run but after a 2-1 win at Harrow on Tuesday, Bognor were hopeful of continuing in the same vein.
Kick-off was delayed until 8pm after some of the Grays players arrived late.
Grays had drafted in seven new players in the past week but it wouldn’t do them a lot of good on this occasion.
A chipped pass by James Crane early on couldn’t quite find Rutherford - then Jason Prior struck a shot wide.
Grays also went close when Samuel Sollosi’s long- range effort was deflected for a corner.
A run forward by Rutherford allowed Alex Parsons on to the ball and his move into the box was brought to an abrupt end as a sliding tackle stopped him in his tracks. Calls for a penalty by the Rocks faithful were ignored.
More good work from Rutherford allowed him to set up Prior on the right but his cross didn’t reach Snorre Nilsen.
A good passing move saw Stuart Green tee up Nilsen but the youngster’s instant left-footed strike rolled well wide.
Chad Field was doing well in defence and managed to keep out Calvin Ekpiteta on 14 minutes with a well-timed sliding tackle after the striker used his speed to run at the Bognor defence.
Crane tried his luck from outside the box following another Green lay off but it was easy for the goalkeeper.
Parsons almost snatched the ball from Kamurasi as the goalkeeper came way out of his area to try to regain possession.
A Parsons shot was deflected to Dan Beck, whose neat cross was headed by Field but without any direction.
Lee Flavin’s cross caused minor alarm but Germaine Ofori failed to get anything on it.
Bognor took the lead when Prior and Nilsen teed up Rutherford, who turned and placed the ball low inside the bottom corner.
Rutherford doubled his tally on 33 minutes. Green stole the ball before threading in Rutherford, who smashed it low into the corner.
Ryan Richefond’s hard work on the right almost paid off for the visitors when he set up Ofori, but the winger’s right footed strike was always going wide.
Parsons’ curling cross found Prior but his volley was high and wide on 39 minutes.
Grays made a half-time substitution. Ofori was replaced by Jayden Fraser for the visitors.
Craig Robson was replaced by Sami El-Abd for Bognor.
Grays won a corner straight from the kick-off after Daryl Wollers - enjoying a rare start for the Rocks - cleared. The shot from the corner was struck well over.
Green ran at the defence and found Rutherford with a pass. Rutherford’s shot was deflected for a corner.
Daniel Swallow replaced Freddy Gard for the visitors.
Green’s left-footed strike flew into the net but the linesman had his flag up for offside on 58 minutes.
Prior played a neat ball down the right for Parsons – his cross flashed across the box and the outstretched Nilsen couldn’t quite get a touch on it.
Prior won possession to set up Rutherford. Oozing with confidence, the teenager ran with the ball before firing low from outside the area. His shot found the bottom corner, with Kamurasi failing to get anything on it.
Rutherford let fly with another curling effort and this was only just tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper on 66 minutes.
Prior’s shift was brought to an end on 70 minutes as he was replaced by Ollie Pearce.
Sollosi was also replaced by Chris Manangu on 73 minutes for the visitors.
Pearce stole the ball from a throw-in by Grays in their own penalty area on 75 minutes. His shot was blocked first time round and his lob over the keeper on the rebound was cleared off the line by a defender.
Pearce’s free-kick was met by Crane but his glancing header bounced the wrong side of the post.
For Grays, Fraser’s corner was blasted well over - spurring ironic cheers from the home support of 451 fans - a great turnout for a soggy Thursday night.
Richefond’s cross found Brian Moses in the box but the tall striker’s header spun over the bar with minutes left.
Rocks: Smith, Wollers, Crane, Nilsen, Field, Robson (El-Abd 45), Green, Beck (Charman 63), Prior (c) (Pearce 70), Rutherford, Parsons. Unused subs: Whyte, Binfield.
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