Sanders makes the Ed-lines as Rocks and Havant draw

Ed Sanders scored for the second game in a row to earn Bognor a point they fully deserved in an entertaining derby tussle with Havant in front of a 1,348 crowd at Nyewood Lane.

Monday, 26th December 2016, 7:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:44 pm
Ollie Pearce tries a shot for the Rocks v Havant / Picture by Tim Hale

Centre-half Sanders converted James Fraser's cross following a second-half corner to cancel out ex-Rock Ryan Woodford's first-half header - and after that it was anyone's game.A point was the least Bognor deserved and they might have nabbed all three with a spirited second-half show, but in reality both sides would probably have gone home content not to have lost. The result keeps Bognor second and Havant two points behind in third spot.The sides lined up for what was arguably the season's most-anticipated fixture at Nyewood Lane, marking as it did the return to Bognor of Jason Prior and Alfie Rutherford, who scored 66 Rocks goals between them last term.Bognor were without Gary Charman and Jimmy Muitt in the starting line-up but both were fit enough to be on the bench.Havant, Prior and Rutherford aside, had another two ex-Rocks in their squad - Woodford was in defence and midfielder George Barker was on the bench.The Rocks attacked from the kick-off but were almost behind a minute into the contest when James Hayter flashed a header just wide when a cross from the right reached him near the penalty spot.An early opening for the Rocks came when Harvey Whyte played in Alex Parsons down the right and his quick cross almost fell for Ollie Pearce. Then a nice left-to-right move ended with James Crane forcing Ryan Young into a full-stretch save with a drive from an angle.Pearce beat his man in a Rocks foray into the box down the left but couldn't find Jimmy Wild with the cut-back, then James Fraser's beautifully-weighted pass put Parsons away down the right but he miscontrolled it and it went out for a Havant goal-kick.Dan Lincoln's first serious bit of action saw him tip over a dipping long-range effort from the Havant right.A Pearce free-kick on 20 minutes caused a brief bit of panic in the Havant box as Wild used his frame to try to force it in. Pearce was having a lively match and a cross from the left was just taken off Wild's head by a defender.Hayter's low ball in from the right had to be crashed clear by Calvin Davies on 26 minutes as the game continued to be end to end and fairly open. Wild met another Pearce cross on 33 minutes but didn't quite get enough on it.Parsons should have shot when Pearce's through ball put him within sight of goal but he was in two minds and his square ball was cut out.Havant took the lead two minutes before the break from their seventh corner. Lincoln punched out a Rory Williams right-sided corner but was then off-balance as Woodford headed it back over him and into the roof of the net. Rocks midfielder Davies was booked for dissent. Bognor might have been level in the final minute of the first half but Pearce couldn't get enough on a shot after a neat passing move down the right.HT 0-1Williams was proving a thorn in the Rocks' side and his shot, deflected for a corner, was the first chance of the second half as Havant began on the front foot.Then it was Bognor's turn to put the pressure on from a series of corners and Sami El-Abd almost headed in one of Pearce's deliveries.Davies set Pearce away down the left but the striker chose a pass instead of a shot when he reached the box, and the attack petered out.At the other end Rutherford worked himself some space but his shot was weak was easily scooped up by Lincoln.Woodford was booked for fouling Pearce as the Rocks man beat him for pace down the Bognor left.Darren Budd came on for the below-par Parsons and almost immediately the Rocks were level. Another corner was played back to Fraser and his cross was met by Sanders, whose effort went in off the post with Young beaten.That lifted the home crowd and the Rocks had their big-budget visitors on the back foot for a spell.Williams was booked for crudely halting a Bognor attack on halfway. Wild was starting to unsettle the visiting defence and he might have done better when played into a decent position by Fraser.Prior bundled the ball in but it was disallowed for a clear foul on Lincoln, then Havant made a double change - bringing on George Barker and Ben Swallow for Andreas Robinson and Hayter. A second Havant 'second goal' was ruled out for offisde after Lee Molyneaux swept home a diagonal cross.Havant wanted a penalty on 77 minutes when sub Swallow went down in the box under Crane's challenge, but the referee was having none of it.Then Whyte's cross was touched on by Fraser to the unmarked Pearce 10 yards out but his precise shot was saved by Young.A comical scramble in the Havant box almost led to El-Abd poking the ball home but it was cleared for a corner - from which Wild's toepoke was brilliantly tipped over by Young. The next corner also fell to Wild, but his low effort was just the wrong side of the post.Wild's second-half endeavours led to him being named sponsors' MoM.Matt Paterson replaced Rutherford with seven minutes to go for Havant, while Gary Charman replaced Tuck for the Rocks.Theo Lewis had a good chance to restore Havant's lead with five of the 90 left but his downward header was too close to Lincoln.The second half had produced some superb football, with both sides giving it everything to try to turn one point into three - but in the end, neither could and it ended all-square.The Rocks are next in action away to Met Police on Saturday (1pm). They go to Worthing on Monday, also 1pm.Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Sanders, Fraser, Davies, Wild, Pearce, Parsons. Subs: Field, Charman, Budd, Dolcetti, Muitt.Havant: Young, Strugnell, Williams, Stock, Woodford, Molyneaux, Lewis, Robinson, Prior, Rutherford, Hayter. Subs: Paterson, Barker, Harris, Swallow, Tarbuck.Ref: Stephen HughesAtt - 1,348by STEVE BONE

Get all the latest from Nyewood Lane in the Bognor Observer, out as usual on Thursday

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