Rocks roar back to Ryman top spot
Bognor are back on top of the tree after two late goals clinched victory at Leatherhead.
Jimmy Muitt gave the Rocks a first-half lead and after the Tanners levelled in the second half, Alex Parsons and Ollie Pearce struck in the final ten minutes to put their side back above Havant and in first spot in the Ryman premier.
After a two-week break, the trip to Fetcham Grove was made without Jimmy Wild, who broke his jaw in a freak collision at training on Thursday night - 24 hours after helping Chichester City to an FA Vase win.
It has emerged that defender Gary Charman is hopeful of a return to action in around four weeks following his fracture. But mifielder Dan Beck returned to action and Harvey Whyte is days away from match fitness.
Early on, Muitt ran down the right after good work from Pearce to set him up. It went back to Pearce who found Sami El-Abd but his header was saved by keeper Will Godman.
Mohammed Sagaf tried to combine with Kadell Daniel in a quick move down the left but the ball ran harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Adam Cash hit a right-sided cross over the bar following neat play by Ty Smith in midfield.
It was a bright start from Leatherhead and Smith teed up Sagaf, who cut inside from the left but blasted well over the bar.
Jerry Nnamani hit a long ball forward from the Tanners half but it was too much for Rohan Ricketts.
James Fraser powered down the right to win a corner for Bognor but Pearce’s effort was headed out by a defender.
Chad Field’s loose pass saw Paul Semakula capitalise before shooting. Though Dan Lincoln was equal to it saving confidently on 19 minutes.
Pearce’s low corner shortly afterwards was only just cleared.
James Crane’s high, spinning cross from the left had to be punched out by Godman.
Smith limped off to be replaced by D’Sean Theobalds for Leatherhead on 22 minutes.
Muitt won a free-kick in Leatherhead’s half on 24 minutes. Pearce’s curling forward ball into the box found El-Abd with a header but he glanced it well wide.
Another Pearce free-kick won a corner and this one was headed back into the area by Doug Tuck and Fraser’s flicked header found net – but the linesman had flagged for offside.
On 33 minutes Daniel who made headway into the box from the right. His low, fierce effort forced Lincoln into a diving save.
Bognor took the lead on 34 minutes. A counter-attacking move down the right initiated by Pearce saw Parsons swing the ball from deep on the right. Muitt flashed across the goal and got a touch to divert it beyond the goalkeeper to give the Rocks the lead.
Theobalds shot wide of the right post moments later.
Lincoln claimed a dangerous chip into his area and then Pearce’s left-sided cross following a steal was only just too much for Parsons on the back post.
Joe Howe won a corner for the hosts on 45 minutes. Ricketts’s eventual cross following his own corner was cleared by Tuck.
On 47 minutes Daniel smashed an effort low at goal from inside the box and Lincoln stuck his right leg out to divert it after great work by Theobalds on the left.
Then the Tanners attacked again, with Cash finding Daniel. The forward moved into a great position but he fired his shot along the ground and wide.
Semakula chipped the ball over the bar from the edge of the box on 51 minutes.
James Crane and Daniel clashed and it looked as though a foul was committed on the Rocks player but it was given the other way. Lincoln gathered Daniel’s curling free-kick.
Cash struck a shot from long distance but Lincoln gathered it comfortably.
On 63 minutes Muitt was replaced by Lorenzo Dolcetti, and soon after, Semakula was replaced by Rash Kamara for the hosts.
Parsons pushed the ball forward to Pearce who cut inside from the left to shoot at goal with a low curling attempt, but Godman easily saved.
On 71 minutes the Tanners equalised. Substitute Kamara cut inside following a pass by Daniel before speeding forward and slotting it low into the bottom corner.
A high hanging cross and a Tanners penalty shout went by as Leatherhead continued to hold the ball and Bognor struggled to get the ball forward.
The hosts’ final substitution saw Daniel Akindayindi replaced by Calum Davies.
Chad Field did well with a sliding challenge to win the ball for the Rocks. Then Tuck’s ball in found Fraser who worked his way into the box and forced a low save from Godman before laying it back to Crane, who blasted over the bar.
Field was replaced by Ed Sanders on 78 minutes.
Bognor retook the lead when good work from Dolcetti on the right saw him pass to Parsons, who turned his marker and slammed his right-footed shot into the net on 82 minutes.
Shortly afterwards, Dolcetti won the ball and then quickly hit a shot that bounced before Godman saved.
Parsons was replaced by Will Robinson on 90 minutes as Bognor tried to wind down the clock.
But it got better for Bognor as they scored another in the first minute of stoppage time. Dolcetti struck a low shot that was pushed out by the goalkeeper but Pearce was there to hit it in on the rebound. Godman had got something on to it but the ball had gone over the line before he pushed it away.
This win meant Bognor returned to the top of the league, a greeat feat for a team who lost six players - including their top two scorers - in the summer.
They have no midweek game but host Hendon next Saturday.
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Field (Sanders 78), Fraser, Beck, Muitt (Dolcetti 63), Pearce, Parsons (Robinson 90).
Attendance - 412
Report by Liam Goodley
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