Whyte's hot to hurt Harrow

Bognor are back on top after Harvey Whyte's goal proved enough to beat Harrow - but only after they had to withstand intense second-half pressure.

Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 9:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:18 pm
Harvey Whyte celebrates his goal with Ollie Pearce / Picture by Tim Hale

Bognor are back on top after Harvey Whyte's goal proved enough to beat Harrow - but only after they had to withstand intense second-half pressure.

Whyte struck from close range just before the half-hour but Harrow made a depleted Bognor team work hard for the win.

Harrow must have had 80 per cent of the possession in the second half after the break but they failed to take their chances and there was a huge sense of relief around the ground at the final whistle.

The Rocks began the night in second place following Saturday's disappointing 4-1 defeat at Tonbridge.

Daryl Wollers was the surprise name on the teamsheet as he was drafted in for his first start for a long time, having spent recent months playing for Pagham in the Southern Combination.

James Crane switched to right-back with Whyte moved further forward in the absence of James Fraser, who was out through work commitments.

There was the welcome sight of defender Gary Charman back on the Rocks bench after six weeks out with a broken bone in his foot.

Harrow arrived at the Lane second from bottom with a poor goalscoring record but a solid defensive one.

There was a fast start from the Rocks as they got Whyte in down the right and his cross to the far post fell to Darren Budd, but his shot from a tight angle was against a defender's legs.

Jimmy Wild was next to threaten the Borough backline with a turn and run, but his shot was well off-target.

Wild then wasted a great chance to put the Rocks ahead when he beat the offside trap and ended up with just the keeper to beat. He was forced wide and almost seemed to have too much time, and when he played a low ball across the six-yard box it was just behind Ollie Pearce.

Harrow had their first decent attempt when Frances Babalola found space down the right to play a neat pass into Marc Charles-Smith but Dan Lincolc was quickly out to block his close-range effort.

Pearce was next to chance his arm with a low shot from 20 yards that keeper Thomas Williams held - and the stopper then had to pluck a Budd volley out of the air from just beneath the crossbar.

Michael Peacock curled a 20-yard shot at the Bognor goal which Lincoln was equal to, then Whyte cut inside from the right to rifle a left-footed drive goalwards that Williams did well to get down to and push away.

The chances kept coming in a very open game and Wild shot all along the floor but too close to the keeper from the edge of the penalty box.

Bognor got the breakthrough their dominance deserved on 26 minutes. Wollers started the move with a lovely pass to Pearce down the left, his teasing low cross was almost bundled in by Wild but he did enough to make the ball run loose for Whyte to slam it in from two yards.

Whyte fancied a quick second a minute later but his shot from 18 yards was blocked by a defender.

Josh Webb curled a beauty of a free-kick only just high and wide from wide on the and from the corner - mysteriously given as it touched no-one on the way - David Taylor hammered a shot goalwards that Lincoln had to push over.

Ed Sanders was booked for holding his opponent on halfway as Harrow tried to find a wayback into the game.

Harrow centre-half Shaun Preddie needed treatment for a knock and looked a little leggy when he was waved back in.

Centre-half Sanders somehow got to the byline to send in a cross that was almost perfect for Wild, but it was just too high.

HT 1-0

Harrow came out looking the livelier side at the start of the second half and tested Lincoln and his defence first with a shot by Peacock that was just over, then with crosses from either flank that Bognor needed to scramble clear.

Babaloloa was a particular danger for Harrow but his efforts down the right were not at this stage matched by anyone in the centre.

Charles-Smith received a lecture from the referee after disputing a decision that halted a Borough attack. Then Crane robbed his man down the Rocks right to swing in a cross that Pearce almost converted.

Will Robinson came on for Dolcetti on 57 minutes.

Harrow kept on threatening and had a chance to level from the spot on 62 minutes when Babalola's mazy run was halted by El-Abd's challenge just inside the area. Charles-Smith stepped up to take it but Lincoln saved with his legs.

Harrow responded with a double change. Lewis Ochoa and Lewis Driver came on for Michael Bryan and Taylor.

The Rocks did relieve the pressure for a moment with an attack right to left that ended with Wild forcing Williams into a low save at his near post.

andy Lomas got forward from left-back for Borough and beat two men before chipping a shot that took a deflection on its way past the post.

Babalola brought a diving save out of Lincoln with 15 minutes left. Then Charles-Smith had the keeper in action again, palming away a shot at his near stick.

A rare home attack might have seen Crane make it safe but he scuffed his shot and Williams gathered.

Budd saw yellow for fouling Harry Neuman - while Pearce also went into the book for complaining about it.

Harrow made their final change, replacing Neuman with Michael Barima.

They continued to do all the attacking, making the Rocks defence work as hard as they have for a long time.

Sub Robinson had the ball in the Harrow net with a terrific finish across the keeper but it was ruled out for offside.

Bognor brought on Fintan Walsh for Whyte.

Injury went on beyond the four minutes indicated by the officials but the Rocks played it sensibly, protecting their area and making sure they clung on for the three points and a return to top spot.

Rocks: Lincoln, Crane, Wollers, Tuck, Sanders, El-Abd, Whyte, Budd, Wild, Pearce, Dolcetti. Subs: Robinson, Walsh, Field, Charman.

Harrow: Williams, Webb, Lomas, Peacock, Preddie, Webb, Babalola, Taylor, Charles-Smith, Bryan, Neuman. Subs: Barima,Ochoa, Driver.

Ref: Martin Bloor (Lymington)

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