Defeat, red card and injuries leave Rocks far from happy at Hendon

Ben Johnson couldn't save Bognor from defeat at Hendon   Picture by Chris Hatton

Ben Johnson couldn't save Bognor from defeat at Hendon Picture by Chris Hatton

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The Rocks are still looking for their first point of the Ryman premier season – and a 1-0 defeat was just one of their woes at Hendon.

They also ended the game with ten men after the puzzling sending-off of defender Osa Obamwonyi and had to take midfielder Charlie Oatway and defender Harry Medway for checks on head and leg injuries.

It heightened a miserable start to the season for the team, who must now bid again to get off the mark for the season with holiday-weekend games against Kingstonian and Peacehaven.

The first quarter of the game was fairly even and probably shaded by Bognor as they looked to recover from Saturday’s 4-3 home loss to Maidstone. Craig Robson and Obamwonyi looked strong at the back although the latter needed treatment for a facial injury.

Bognor’s first good chance came whne Ben Johnson laid a free-kick back to Jake Thomson, whose low, hard shot was well-saved by Hendon keeper George Legg.

Robson might have put Bognor ahead with a header from a corner but was also called into action at the other end, defending a flurry of corners after Andre Da Costa had caused problems down the Hendon wing.

Lee O’Leary and Aaron Morgan were coming more into the game for the home side, now enjoying greater possession.

Eight minutes before the break, O’Leary burst clear and was brought down by keeper Chris Winterton just inside the box. It was a clear penalty but because he was not running at goal, Winterton escaped further punishment. And the Rocks fans present were delighted to see O’Leary blast the spot-kick well over the bar.

A minute before the break, Hendon full-back Oliver Sprague forced a fine clearance from Robson.

HT 0-0

Early in the second half, Alex Parsons shot wide from 25 yards before Hendon took some semblance of control, with Da Costa looking certain to score before being denied by Paul Hinshelwood.

A corner was cleared and when it was pumped back in by Kevin Maclaren, Casey Maclaren turned in the six-yard box and slotted in the opening goal.

The Rocks had Harvey Whyte and Ollie Pearce on from the bench as they tried to hit back. Pearce was looking lively up front but there was little service from the midfield.

Bognor had hopes of salvaging a draw as the game entered the last 20 minutes and Whyte set up Pearce for a run ended by a last-gasp tackle for a corner.

A series of corners were cleared by defender Elliott Braithwaite and one left Oatway lying motionless in the goalmouth after some kind of collision.

At one stage the referee called for an ambulance but after treatment Oatway was able to hobble off, destined for a trip to the local hospital for a check-up,on which he had left-back Harry Medway for company after he suffered a leg injury that also needed attention.

Obamwonyi moved up front as Bognor looked to rescue a point but no sooner had he switched than he had been sent off for apparent violent conduct. The referee saw fit to show him a straight red, though no-one else seemed to know what he had done to deserve it.

Morgan had two good chances to double Hendon’s lead – one went over, the other was saved by Winterton.

Darren Wheeler and Parsons combined to set up Pearce for one last chance, which went begging to condemn Jamie Howell’s men to their fourth defeat from four.

Obamwonyi seems likely to be banned for three games from September 1.

Rocks: Winterton, Hinshelwood, Medway, Tuck, Obamwonyi, Robson, Oatway (Morey 66), Thomson (Whyte 55), Parsons, Johnson (Pearce 55), Wheeler. Subs not used: Hayes, Boyle.

Report by SIMON COOK