Leiston leave it late to deny Bognor victory

Ollie Pearce celebrates putting the Rocks ahead 2-1 ahead against Leiston on Saturday
Ollie Pearce celebrates putting the Rocks ahead 2-1 ahead against Leiston on Saturday

JOE JEFFORD netted four minutes into injury time to deny Bognor all three points in their home clash with Leiston at Nyewood Lane on Saturday.

The point leaves the Rocks without a success in their three Ryman Premier matches so far this month.

In what proved to be a disappointing Easter weekend, Bognor fell to a 2-0 defeat at Enfield, before suffering a home loss to Lewes.

However, the Rocks looked as, though, they would put back-to-back losses behind them at home to Leiston.

Strikes from James Crane and Ollie Pearce meant they lead 2-1 with just minutes remaining.

But Bognor were denied as Jefford netted a late leveller for the visitors.

With Doug Tuck injured, Harry Wedlake took his place, while Dan Sackman reclaimed his place in the first-team in a central defensive midfield role.

Bognor began well and nearly went ahead inside two minutes.

Craig Robson chipped the ball upfield in search of Jason Prior but the visitors goalkeeper Danny Gay beat the forward to the ball.

Leiston then had their first opening in the game six minutes later as Josh Mayhew struck a shot just over the bar.

The visitors seemed to grow in confidence after that attempt and began to apply some good pressure on the Rocks.

Connor Hubble played in Gareth Heath, who turned and tried his luck with a snapshot but his effort was well saved by Chris Winterton.

The Rocks responded well, though, and nearly took the lead on 14 minutes.

Stuart Green’s darting run and shot went just wide of the left-hand post.

Terry Dodd was then booked for the home side following a two-footed lunge on Jefford.

It was Leiston who went ahead in the encounter on 32 minutes following a fine strike from Heath.

A neat lay-off by Jefford allowed Heath to run into space. and he unleashed an unstoppable left-foot strike which found the top corner.

The Rocks looked shaken after falling behind and Leiston should have made it two four minutes later. A diagonal ball allowed Hubble to get in behind the home side’s defence, though, he failed to find the target with his shot from just inside the area.

Bognor bounced back in the second period and were nearly level two minutes after the interval.

Tom Bullard could only head a Harry Wedlake cross towards his own goal but, fortunately for the defender, it struck the post and went wide.

The Rocks were not to be denied, though, and they got their just rewards on 72 minutes.

Crane made himself some room on the left-hand side and fired a drive low into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1.

Bognor could have gone ahead four minutes later as Green beat his man but could only shoot just wide of the goal.

That miss did not prove costly, however, as the home side took the lead for the first time with eight minutes remaining.

Jason Prior’s long range strike fell kindly into the path of Pearce and he made no mistake with his finish. However, with the Rocks looking likely to secure a much-needed success they were denied late on. The visitors were awarded a free-kick from 20-yards and Jefford curled his effort past Winterton on 94 minutes.

Bognor travel to Wingate & Finchley for their last away game of the season on Saturday.

ROCKS: Winterton, Nilsen, Crane, Wedlake (Pearce 60), Sackman, Robson, Green, Thomson, Prior, Dodd (Overton 65), Field (Wollers 72). Unused substitute: Lawson.