Lethbridge lifts Bognor into top six with double to down Margate
A first-half double from Brad Lethbridge guided Bognor to their fourth league win of the season as they confidently beat Margate 2-0 at Nyewood Lane.
The victory completed back-to-back league wins for the first time this season, following their imposing 4-0 hiding of East Thurrock last weekend.
Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake’s unchanged side continued where they left off and looked to get at the visitors from the first whistle.
Bognor frontman Jordy Mongoy came closest to breaking the deadlock in the early stages, his firm shot from distance troubling the Margate goal only to edge narrowly wide.
Lethbridge, a graduate of the Pompey. academy who signed permanently for the Rocks this summer, opened his account for the season with a beautiful finish in the 16th minute. With his back towards his own goal, Lethbridge used a first touch to set himself and a second to bend the ball handsomely beyond the goalkeeper into the top corner.
He failed to convert a similar opportunity eight minutes later after Joe Cook charged out of defence and fashioned the chance. The centre-back had an excellent game in green and white, exhibiting both composure on the ball and authority in the air.
Following an impressive hat-trick last time out against East Thurrock, Ashton Leigh played the role of creator this weekend, assisting both of Lethbridge’s goals. The second came in the 42nd minute; and on this occasion, Lethbridge opted for power and thumped the ball in at the near post.
Moments later, a first-half hat-trick looked on the cards when the striker found the ball at his feet in the six-yard box. He did well to control the ball and fire an instinctive shot, but it was firmly parried by the goalkeeper.
Bognor missed a catalogue of chances in the second-half to further their lead, and this gave Margate the opportunity they needed to grow into the game. Rocks No1, Amadou Tangara, was called into action in the 60th minute, acrobatically denying the visitors their best chance of the game from a corner-kick.
Although Bognor lacked a cutting-edge in the final stages of the game, the Rocks were resolute in defence and secured a second successive clean sheet. Skipper Harvey Whyte anchored the side stoutly at the heart of midfield, leading by example with a captain’s performance in particular on a day when the club paid tribute to a number of club stalwarts who have died in recent months - among them Harvey's dad Dallas Whyte.
Substitute Jason Parish earned Bognor a penalty in the final stages, but Tommy Leigh failed to convert from the spot. Despite firmly connecting with the penalty-kick, the No 10 couldn’t quite find the bottom corner, and forced a handy save from the Margate stopper.
In the final stages, Margate cannoned in an artillery of crosses as they desperately searched for a comeback, but Tangara produced an emphatic double save in stoppage time to protect the clean sheet.