GALLERY: Rocks two points clear after beating promotion rivals
Bognor battle on at the top of the Ryman premier.
Bognor battle on at the top of the Ryman premier.
A wonder-strike by Jimmy Muitt and another goal by top scorer James Fraser saw them come from 1-0 down at the interval to beat Needham Market, who’d started the evening just a point behind the Rocks.
Kem Izzet’s penalty gave Needham the lead but Bognor had the better of the chances throughout most of the game.
Muitt curled one home from 25 yards just before the hour, then Fraser headed in an Alex Parsons cross 16 minutes from time.
See the goal celebrations in Tim Hale’s pictures in the gallery, above
Needham struck a post as they tried to rescue a point but Jamie Howell’s men held on for another memorable win, which leaves them two points clear of Havant, who move into second place. The only Rocks change from the Enfield draw saw Ollie Pearce move to the bench, with Parsons getting a start.
Early on Harvey Whyte found the overlapping Parsons but his low cross was belted clear.
Dan Lincoln had to rush out of his goal to gather a through ball with Reece Dobson lurking on six minutes. Dobson then hit a left-footed strike from outside the box which was cut out by the keeper.
Luke Ingram swung in a great cross from the right for the visitors but Dobson’s header flashed well wide.
Chad Field surged forward and found Fraser in space but the midfielder’s chipped attempt bounced well wide.
A Needham Market penalty was awarded as Lincoln was deemed to have tripped Dobson in the area. Up stepped Izzet, who made no mistake in slotting it low into the bottom corner.
On 20 minutes Doug Tuck went close after a chip forward was headed back to him by Sami El-Abd. The volley forced James Bradbrook into a fine diving save. From the corner the ball was flicked off the line and the follow-up from Elijah Adebayo went over.
Tuck spun a left-footed shot wide of the post from 20 yards.
From a Calvin Davies corner, Parsons smashed it first time from 25 yards. The goalkeeper got something on it. From the corner the keeper saved twice, first from a header and then as the follow-up by James Crane bounced off the post and into Bradbrook’s arms.
Davies sped through to tee up Parsons, who beat his man before running into the area and shooting low. But his attempt went straight into the keeper’s arms.
Adebayo sent a cross in from the right but it was deflected away by Bradbrook.
Adebayo then turned in the area to shoot. He was blocked and the ball rolled to Parsons whose attempt was diverted away before Whyte smashed another chance wide.
Jack Simmons sped down the left to cross but Keiran Morphew struck a shot straight at Lincoln.
Davies was replaced by Pearce on 52 minutes.
Pearce’s free-kick on 55 minutes was curled into the box and El-Abd headed it towards the back post as Parsons went to ground. The calls for a penalty were ignored by the referee.
Dobson scuffed his shot straight at Lincoln, then Ingram flashed a shot narrowly over.
If it was going to take something special to spark the Rocks into life, Muitt was just the man to deliver it.
The striker ran inside after good work from Tuck and Crane on the left. He shot from around 25 yards and the ball dipped wonderfully into the corner of the net to draw Bognor level on 59 minutes, a true goal-of-the-season contender.
Needham’s Sam Nunn received treatment from the physio and limped off to be replaced by Darryl Coakley.
Izzet’s free-kick spun straight into Lincoln’s arms and Crane smacked another attempt wide after cutting inside from the left.
Bognor took the lead on 74 minutes. A neat ball down the right picked out Parsons. He sped on before whipping in a pinpoint cross to an unmarked Fraser, who nodded it in at the near post.
The visitors brought off captain Izzet for Callum Harrison with 12 minutes left.
Ingram found the side netting with a fierce strike, then Dobson tried his luck, smashing a shot against the post from long range.
On 81 minutes, Muitt was applauded off as Gary Charman came on.
The Marketmen were wasteful towards the end with Dobson blasting another opportunity wide and Harrison firing another over the bar.
Whyte received a booking for a late sliding tackle as time ticked away.
Pearce had the last chance, bursting through the defence but stubbing his shot straight at the keeper.
Bognor survived three minutes of stoppage time to remain on top of the Ryman premier. They visit Canvey Island this Saturday.
Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Field, Fraser (Beck 85), Davies (Pearce 52), Adebayo, Muitt (Charman 81), Parsons. Subs not used: Sanders, Budd. Att - 462.
Report by LIAM GOODLEY
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