Fraser off mark as Rocks draw at Grays

James Fraser was Bognor's scorer at Grays / Picture by Tim Hale

James Fraser was Bognor's scorer at Grays / Picture by Tim Hale

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Bognor are still looking for their first win of the season - but James Fraser’s first goal of his second spell with the Rocks earned them their second away point of the week.

His first-half strike was cancelled out after the break on a blustery afternoon when fluent football was difficult at Mill Field.

The point lifted Jamie Howell’s team to 18th spot.

The Rocks’ new signing, Thomas Byrne, a teenager from the Brighton academy, got a start up front in place of Jimmy Wild, who dropped to the bench.

Bognor conceded a corner within the first minute but Ronnie O’Donnell’s kick swung out in the strong winds.

Ollie Pearce’s free-kick was headed clear by the hosts as Bognor needed to get used to the conditions.

Jimmy Wild replaced Tuck on 89 minutes as Bognor looked to snatch three points. He saw a shot bounce into Crowley’s arms from outside the box straight after coming on.

On seven minutes Byrne won a corner for Bognor but Gary Charman scuffed his header under pressure.

Fraser teed up Pearce and after cutting inside from the right, his left-footed shot was struck straight at Charlie Crowley in the Grays goal.

Grays missed a good chance when Dan Beck got in the way of an Adeyinka Cole shot. Then a Cole free-kick fell to Sanusi, who skied his shot.

Crowley had to come out of his goal to kick clear after a Byrne ball forward.

Ed Sanders found Pearce wîth a long pass and he chipped towards the back post, where Dylan Barnett’s header was easily stopped.

Bognor took the lead on 18 minutes when Fraser slammed in from the edge of the box following a good move.

Soon after, Fraser skied a shot high and wide.

O’Donnell’s cross from the left on 27 minutes found Siao Blackwood with a diving header but it was well saved by Billy Granger.

An early substitution saw Sanusi replaced by Jamie Stuart for the hosts on 28 minutes.

Bognor’s defence blocked another Cole attempt on 31 minutes.

James Crane required treatment from the physio with 33 minutes gone. He looked as though he had taken a knock to the head and appeared dazed before getting back to his feet.

Grays won a corner with five minutes left of the first half. O’Donnell’s kick found Jake Hutchings with a header but it bounced wide.

Cole’s left-footed strike brought a fine save from Granger moments later.

O’Donnell was booked for fouling Sanders before Beck retaliated to a challenge by Jamie Stuart in first-half stoppage time and received also a yellow card.

HT 0-1

Daniel Ajakaiye’s cross was deflected into the path of Granger from the right as the hosts sought an equaliser.

Pearce’s low ball across the area found Doug Tuck, whose low attempt hit the side netting.

Lheuruex Menga rattled the post with a header following a neat cross by David Falla and Granger caught the rebound.

Fraser looked in agony after blocking a kick from a defender. It looked like a knee injury but he returned to action.

Byrne had a shot deflected wide after good work from Fraser. Pearce took the corner and Charman’s effort was cleared.

Stuart’s header from a corner bounced wide.

The impressive debut of Byrne ended when he was replaced by Sami El-Abd - making his first competitive appearance of the season - on 62 minutes.

David Fallah’s run saw El-Abd slide in and the Grays man went to ground. The referee pointed to the spot and up stepped Cole to slot low into the net to draw Grays level.

One of Charman’s trademark long throws was knocked on by El-Abd and fell to Tuck, but he scuffed his attempt well wide on 69 minutes.

Pearce was booked for a challenge on 75 minutes.

Menga received a yellow card moments later after tussling in the air with Charman. Cole received a booking for complaining following a tackle by Charman on 83 minutes.

Beck won a corner and Pearce’s corner picked out Charman, but he directed his header wide.

Another long throw by Charman was headed out and the same player’s shot was blocked by a defender.

Jimmy Wild replaced Tuck on 89 minutes as Bognor looked to snatch three points. He saw a shot bounce into Crowley’s arms from outside the box straight after coming on.

In three minutes of added time, James Crane’s cross was knocked back by Wild and Crowley only just managed to punch it away before Barnett could get there.

Bognor’s league campaign continues at home to Staines on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Rocks: Granger, Sanders, Crane, Tuck (Wild 89), Field, Charman, Fraser, Beck (c), Byrne (El-Abd 62), Pearce, Barnett. Unused subs: Budd, Wollers, Muitt.

LIAM GOODLEY