Vine bears fruit as Rocks are beaten
Bognor's final friendly of pre-season ended in defeat as a side without several first-team regulars were undone by a Chinedu Vine hat-trick at wet and windy Gosport.
With some Bognor players playing their second game in 48 hours, they had the best of the first half at Privett Park, but had no answer to Vine's exploits after the break as the weather worsened.Bognor had young trialist Jeff McGowan up front but apart from one chance that he half-volleyed over, he had little opportunity to impress.The result will have been a disappointment for Bognor but no more than that, for they were without Sami El-Abd, Chad Field, Gary Charman, Joe Lea, Alex Parsons and Doug Tuck as they made the trip along the south coast to face a club just relegated from National League South.After a fairly even start the Rocks threatened on 14 minutes when Jimmy Muitt beat his man down the left and floated in a cross that Ollie Pearce almost poked in.Both sides had decent spells of possession and, a couple of times, Vine proved a handful for a Bognor defence which had James Crane partnering Corey Heath in the centre.Pat Suraci, playing against his old side, worked his way into the box after a weaving run down the right but fired a cross straight at home keeper Sam Gray.Muitt broke free for Bognor and tried to find the unmarked McGowan in the box but the keeper got there first.It was Muitt who opened the scoring on 25 minutes after another surge down the right which ended with what looked like a cross or a shot from the angle of the box but which floated over Gray and nestled in the far corner of the net.Lincoln got away with a poor clearance on 30 minutes that fell to Matt Buse but Bognor got back in numbers and Vine's shot from a tight angle at the end of the move was well over.Suraci was denied clear sight of goal by a last-ditch tackle on 38 minute as the Rocks looked for a second. McGowan should have doubled the lead in the last minute of the half but fired a half-volley over from 10 yards.HT 0-1Bognor made a slightly sluggish start to the second half and paid the price when a neat move down the left ended with Vine sidefooting home from close-range, his shot going just inside the post with Lincoln stranded.The first sub of the night was keeper Lewis Boughton, who replaced Lincoln on 54 minutes. Soon after, Luke Robinson replaced Harvey Whyte.Vine put Gosport ahead on 62 minutes with a rasping left-footed shot from 10 yards that swerved past Boughton and in.Bognor brought on Tommy Scutt, Jimmy Wild, Kieron Rowe and Chris Oti as they tried to get back on level terms while Gosport made a host of changes themselves.But it was Gosport who got the next goal - and the one that clinched the win - and it was Vine again, completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot with nine minutes left, sending Boughton the wrong way.Bognor kept battling in what were awful conditions for both sides. Crane curled a free-kick that forced Gray into a save and sub Rowlatt ran across the edge of the box before firing a low shot just wide.In truth both teams must have been glad to get back to the dressing room at the end as the rain turned horizontal.Bognor begin their National League South campaign at home to Bath City on Saturday, August 5.Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Davies, Block, Crane, Heath, Muitt, Beck, McGowan, Pearce, Suraci. Subs: Oti, Scutt, Rowlatt, Robinson, Rowe, Gray, Wild, Boughton.Gosport: Gray, Sachi, Leigh, Dawson (c), Medway, Pittman, Roche, Buse, Mitford, Prez, Vine.Ref: Alex Fisher