Bognor denied famous win at Enfield
Bognor came from behind and then lost the lead twice in a windswept thriller at Enfield.
After Theo Widdrington and Brad Lethbridge put the Rocks 2-1 up, Enfield levelled - only for Mason Walsh's wonder-goal to put Bognor 3-2 up. But a contentious late goal by Kezie Ibe cancelled out and meant Bognor came home from North London with a point not three.
That leaves them still ninth in the Bostik premier but can put them in good heart ahead of Tuesday night's Sussex Senior Cup semi-final with brighton U23s at Nyewood Lane.
Petar Durin – a new young loanee from Portsmouth and a former Atalanta stopper - got the call up to represent Bognor in goal in their visit to the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium with Dan Lincoln absent from the side after picking up a leg injury. Gary Charman, Calvin Davies, Doug Tuck, Joe Tomlinson and Jimmy Muitt were all missing from the Bognor side.
Matthew Johnson's long-range throw found Joseph Payne but his glancing header bounced wide. Lethbridge skied a chance following a fast break from Bognor. Lewis Taafe's corner was almost met by Ibe but he slid the ball wide at full stretch.
On eight minutes Enfield led when Taafe's free kick from 35 yards dipped, assisted by the wind, into the net beyond a diving Durin. It had been given after Harvey Whyte appeared to be fouled, but the referee gave it the other way.
Soon Whyte's free kick found Widdrington who hit it first time and won a corner. Then Whyte won another free kick in the same place and his pass to Widdrington on the edge of the box led to the midfielder hitting it low into the net on 14 minutes.
Taafe's corner to the back post was headed inside by Ibe before Marc Weatherstone headed wide. Taafe's cross teed up Billy Bricknell who totally missed the chance on 29 minutes, failing to get any contact. Johnson went into the book after sliding in late on Walsh.
Durin got down well to divert Taafe's shot after he was fed by Johnson. Taafe found Ibe who turned his marker before smashing a shot high and wide. HT 1-1
Durin had to dive to his right to stop Johnson’s low strike early in the second half. James Mulley set up Ryan Blackman, but he struck it well over following good work from midfield. Walsh did well to win a corner for Bognor on the left but Widdrington over-hit it.
Widdrington slipped as he hit a long-range free kick into the area with Lethbridge lurking at the back post but he won a corner. Bricknell's effort was blocked by a Bognor defender following a low cross by Taafe. The home keeper had to gather another forward pass by Whyte as Lethbridge was in pursuit.
Bricknell found Ibe but Durin did enough to divert it. Blackman got a yellow card for a challenge on Leon Maloney but Widdrington blasted the free kick wide. Jay Porter smashed an effort wide when Mulley was blocked by the brave Bognor defence.
Maloney found Lethbridge who ran inside before passing square to Widdrington, who hit it from around 35 yards. It took flight in the wind, dipping under the crossbar and it struck the underside before bouncing off the goalkeeper and out. But Bognor did take the lead on the counter-attack as Walsh found Lethbridge who turned his marker before slotting it in on 74 minutes giving the Rocks fans behind the goal another something to cheer.
Walsh went into the book for pulling a shirt and Bognor could not hold on to their lead as a cross led to Ed Sanders slipping before Sam Chaney bundled in on 79 minutes.Jimmy Wild replaced Maloney on 81 minutes up front for Bognor. Whyte's corner found Chad Field and his header was cleared off the line by a defender on the near post.
Bognor spectacularly went into a 3-2 lead when Walsh got hold of the ball on the corner of the box and curled it over the goalkeeper and in on 82 minutes.
Keaton Wood cleared another Bricknell chance off the line seconds later before another Bognor chance flew wide from Widdrington. But it wasn’t over as another Wood's clearance off the line was deemed not to have stopped the ball crossing the line when Chaney's corner was diverted at goal by Ibe on 87 minutes. The linesman gave the goal as Bognor players argued it had not gone in.
Amazingly, either side could have won it after that. Walsh's cross was punched away, giving Rocks a late corner but that was cleared, and then Ibe was denied with a last-ditch sliding tackle from Widdrington.
Bognor took a point but the result didn’t help either team in their attempts to get to the play-offs. Bognor welcome Brighton & Hove Albion U23s in the Sussex Senior Cup semi final at Nyewood Lane on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Rocks: Durin, Sanders, Wood, Gilot (Scutt 67), Field, Read, Whyte (c), Widdrington, Lethbridge, Maloney (Wild 81), WalshSub’s not Used: McCormick, Bennett.
Attendance - 418