Brave Rocks bow out after pushing Leyton Orient all the way
Jimmy Muitt's wonder goal might have been worthy of winning any game of football but it could not prevent battling Bognor losing 2-1 to Leyton Orient - after extra-time - and bowing out of the FA Trophy.
Orient looked to have won it inside the 90 minutes when Macauley Bonne glanced in a close-range header with eight minutes left - only for Muitt to send the home fans crazy with a 25-yard piledriver that arrowed into the top corner with a minute left.Sub Josh Koroma broke battling Bognor's hearts by restoring the Londoners' lead just before the midway point of the extra 30 minutes.There was a big crowd in at the Lane for the visit of a team who until last spring were long-standing members of the Football League.Now plying their trade in the National League premier, Justin Edinburgh's team have had a tough season but arrived in Bognor with the boss saying he was keen to win not just this tie but the competition itself.Bognor sprang a surprise by naming new French midfielder Richard Gilot in the starting line-up and young striker Kieran Rowe on the bench. Gilot came in for Ben Swallow, who was starting a three-match ban after his red card against Havant on New Year's Day.Orient named a strong side and were captained by Jobi McAnuff, and had seven in their starting line-up who had played in last week's 0-0 draw at home to Boreham Wood, their previous league game.It was a fairly even start to the game with Bognor giving ss good as they got. One Doug Tuck through-ball almost put Muitt in on goal but Orient keeper Dean Brill was out quick to gather the loose ball.A Muitt corner was cleared to debutant Gilot but his shot from outside the area cleared the stand roof as well as the goal.A decent spell of possession saw Harvey Whyte cross from the left and Orient had to clear it for a corner with not a little hint of desperation. A third corner soon followed.Calvin Davies' high ball down the right suddenly put Ibra Sekajja in with a sight of goal and his thunderous volley was brilliantly saved by Brill.For a while the London side could not get hold of the ball and the Rocks took advantage by putting them under huge pressure - but that vital opening goal wouldn't come.Orient's first foray into the box ended in Dan Lincoln getting a hand on a dangerous low ball into the danger area in the 16th minute.Campbell's mazy run set up Tuck for a low cross across the goalmouth but no-one could get a touch on it.It was a full-blooded contest to the delight of the crowd and Gilot was booked for a heavy tackle on Ebou Adams, which was to prove costly - and with the Rocks camp unhappy an earlier shirt-pull on one of their players had gone unpunished. For Orient, Joe Widdowson's high ball in from the left was met by the head of Bonne, but he got no power on his effort and Lincoln saved.Davies was next to try his luck with a shot from an angle on the right and it was only just the wrong side of Brill's near post.Leyton Orient threatened the Rocks goal with a better spell just before the half-hour mark.Widdowson was booked for an off-the-ball incident that left Whyte on the ground by the touchline. The home crowd felt the card should have been red.As the Rocks got back on to the attack, Whyte teed up Gilot for a fierce drive that was deflected for a corner - and when that came in, Brill had to punch it off the line to stop it going in directly.An Orient attack down the right left the Rocks looking exposed but when the ball fell to Lamar Reynolds at the far post he volleyed it well over the bar.Davies was fouled as he ran at the Orient defence, but Campbell fired the free-kick marginally too high and wide - leaving it goalless after an entertaining and fairly evenly-matched first half.HT 0-0Bognor were first to threaten after the break as Davies' surge forward set up Sekajja for a run and shot that rustled the side netting. Then Bonne ran through at the other end and struck one just wide. Bonne had another pop a minute later from 20 yards and Lincoln couldn't hold it but it bounced out to safety.A Rocks attack involving Whyte, Sekajja and Tuck ended with Dan Beck firing wide from 18 yards.The ref had to give Sami El-Abd and Matt Horrold a lecture 11 minutes into the second half after ther pair tangled during an Orient attack.Muitt worked himself clear down the right but his ball into the six-yard box was too close to Brill.There was a massive setback for Bognor on 59 minutes as Gilot was sent off - he brought down full-back Jake Cappice as he advanced towards the area and it was a clear yellow, his second of the afternoon.A change for Orient saw Dan Happe replace the injured George Elokobi. Immediately a Harrold header at the far post brought a superb reaction save from Lincoln.Davies gave the visitors a scare with a battling run into the box but he couldn't get his shot in. Then a quick Orient break was wasted with a cross-shot that flew across the goalface and out of play.Despite it being 11 v 10, it was still quite an end to end affair. An Orient free-kick caused panic in the Rocks six-yard box before the clearance led to a counter-attack that ended with Tuck's cross being put out for a corner.Adams was replaced by Josh Koroma on 72 minutes.Bonne had the ball in the net in the 73rd minute but the offside flag was up as Bonne sidefooted in Cappice's ball in from the right. As Edinburgh's team cranked up the pressure, Harrold fired hard and low but just wide from 15 yards.Bognor were still managing to put Brill under pressure - the keeper having to claim the ball on his own line from a free-kick.Some of Orient's forward play was beginning to look a little desperate and one McAnuff effort flew horribly wide on 78 minutes.There was drama with ten minutes left. Davies was fouled a yard or so outside the box as he shaped to shoot and Widdowson was shown a second yellow. Davies took the free-kick himself and a fine low save by Brill just did enough to thwart the lurking Sekajja.With just eight minutes of the 90 left, Leyton Orient finally got the breakthrough. A right-sided corner wasn't cleared by the Bognor defence and finally it fell to Bonne to glance in a header from a couple of yards out.Orient's final change saw Myles Judd come on for Harrold. Campbell was booked for bringing down his man as Orient got forward down the right. A last throw of the Bognor dice brought Gary Charman on for the final few minutes in place of Sekajja.From nowhere the Rocks were level with one minute of the 90 left. A poor clearance by Leyton Orient gave possession back to Bognor in the visitors' half and short pass was played to Muitt 25 yards from goal .. and he hit the sweetest of strikes that flew beyond the diving but helpless Brill and into the very top corner of the goal, sparking crazy scenes all around the ground.For a moment the home fans wondered if their boys might actually go on and nick the win and Muitt made another surging run down the right but this one came to nothing.FT 1-1A few Rocks players needed a bit of help for a spot of cramp as they awaited the extra 30 minutes.Reynolds whistled a shot only narrowly wide of Lincoln's left-hand post a couple of minutes into extra-time.Muitt caused an uncomfortable moment for keeper Brill when he chased a long ball and forced the Orient man into a frantic take.Cappice's shot appeared to be tipped on to the post by Lincoln before Reynolds blasted the rebound over the bar.A spell of Rocks pressure ended in Campbell controlling a Muitt corner but shooting over. Then another glaring miss by Reynolds had the Orient fans and management with heads in hands as he skied a one-on-one chance with Lincoln looming.Orient began to look the stronger side towards the end of the first half of extra-time. And sure enough their second goal arrived when another corner was cleared to sub Koroma who, from around 25 yards, curled a beauty beyond Lincoln and into the top corner. It was the second best goal of the day.Whyte had picked up a knock and was replaced by Tommy Block ahead of the young midfielder's upcoming trial with Sunderland.HT ET 1-2The Rocks were looking tired and Kieran Rowe was their final pair of fresh legs, brought on for the final seven minutes in place of Adebowale.The Rocks had hope of a second equaliser when they were awarded a free-kick by the corner flag but when the cross came in, it was Brill's to claim unchallenged.Davies went on another lung-bursting run down the right wing but his endeavour went unrewarded when it went out for a goal-kick.Orient somehow failed to score a killer third in a breakaway when they had two men up to one defender - Lincoln twice making brilliant saves to keep them out.Clay was booked for halting one final Rocks attempt to save the game. There was just time for the wasteful Reynolds to blast another chance over the bar before the whistle went to signal the end of a brave Bognor effort and their run in the Trophy.They can take great heart from the performance and use it to try to propel them away from the National League South relegation zone, starting with a home game against Wealdstone next Saturday.Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Campbell, Tuck, El-Abd, Adebowale, Whyte, Beck, Muitt, Sekajja, Gilot. Subs: Block, Charman, Rowe, Crane, Boughton.Leyton Orient: Brill, Cappice, Widdowson, Elokobi, McAbuff, Bonne, Clay, Harrold, Adams, N'Gala, Reynolds. Subs: Grainger, Mooney, Judd, Koroma, Happe.Ref:Richard Hulme (Radstock)