Rocks Back To Winning Ways.
4th In League
Goals from Bradley Lethbridge and Dan Smith saw Bognor take the three points at a very wet Moatside – Specsavers Stadium.
The hosts started brightly and were very adept at keeping the ball for large periods of the game as Richard Gilot's early pass through the middle towards Jimmy Muitt was cut out deftly by a defender.
Kershaney Samuels had a strike that went wide of the right post when Smith failed to latch onto the clearance.
Then Gus Sow's forward ball found Roman Michael-Percil who pulled up with a hamstring problem but still managed to winning a corner.
Though Smith headed out Michael-Percil’s corner from the left.
Ex-Rock Walter Figuiera ran through onto a neat through-ball but Dan Lincoln denied him thanks to a brave sliding interception from the shot-stopper.
But Rocks took the lead on 14 minutes against the run of play as it was Bradley Lethbridge who smacked it low into the bottom right to put Bognor ahead.
Bognor had to deal with a corner when Michael-Percil’s ball in was headed towards goal by Ollie Cook but Lincoln did enough and gathered the ball.
Then Harvey Whyte sped down the right before crossing it low into the area where Smith diverted it just wide with his feet as he had gotten in front of his marker.
But the Moatsiders equalised when Bognor failed to clear the danger and the thorn in Bognor's side all evening, Figuiera combined with Fabio Saraiva who found Gus Sow in tons of space before he blasted it high in to the net.
Lethbridge welcomed the ball from Gilot before cutting inside on the left and forcing a decent save from Amadou Tangara who pushed it away.
Fans appealed for hand-ball as Chad Field was deemed to have defended a cross that flew onto his left arm.
But the referee waved away any chances of a penalty.
Whyte received a booking on 27 minutes as he complained with the referee.
Then Samuels struck one at goal and Lincoln dived to his left to push it away on 35 minutes.
Then Figueira received it from Sow before belting it low and wide of the left post. And following this Tom Bird's cross found Figuiera who headed it well over the bar when he really should have done better for Merstham.
Bognor had to deal with an array of quick fire chances just before half time. Sow, Saraiva and finally Tom Kavanagh hitting the last shot which came off a Bognor strip before going out of play. Bognor would have been relieved to go in at the break level.
Bognor started the second half well and on 47 minutes had taken the lead again.
Joe Tomlinson fed Smith who turned into good space on the egde of the box before composing himself and slotting it low into the bottom of the net.
Lincoln had to dash out of his area as he got there before Michael-Percil before a mix up by Tangara and Simon Copper at the back almost allowed Doug Tuck and Smith in.
A neat pass from Gilot saw Smith beat his man and hethen who cut it back to Tomlinson who smashed it narrowly over the bar.
Harry Osborne had to receive treatment and came off the pitch holding his hamstring. He could no longer continue and was replaced by Michael Abnett.
Lethbridge did well to run onto a diagonal ball before shooting and getting a deflection off a defender before the ball bounced just wide of the right post. Then Ed Sanders got in at the back post but he headed it wide in a cross from the left that followed.
Samuels went into the book for dissent. This followed a late tackle on Gilot in the middle of the park by the player.
Lethbridge was blocked with his shot by his own teammate as Smith inadvertently got in the way.
Manny Ighorae hit one from distance which was hit with some venom and dipping but Lincoln did enough to divert that chance away on 83 minutes.
Muitt was replaced by Tommy Scutt on 89 minutes as he took a knock at the end.
Tackles were flying in and Bognor were entrenched in their own half as Merstham controlled the ball but when Sow hit another chance into the box with Samuels in pursuit it forced another reaction save from Lincoln.
Though it wouldn’t have counted as the linesman had his flag up for offside.
Bognor held on to take the win though sparking joyous scenes at the end as the travelling Rocks support celebrated together.
They now face AFC Hornchurch net at Nyewood Lane, Saturday 9th February, kick off at 3pm.
Match Report by Liam Goodley
Report Courtesy of the Bognor Regis Observer