Smith strikes as Bognor beat Chichester to lift Community Shield
Dan Smith earned the Rocks the Sussex Community Shield with a 39th minute strike which was the difference between them and Chichester City in a hard-fought match at Culver Road.
Chichester were promoted last season under Miles Rutherford, and Darin Kilpartick joined the Chi coaching stuff recently, with things look very promising for the side going into the coming 2019/20 season. But the Rocks will be delighted to lift their second bit of silverware in three months, even if this display did not show them at their best.
Rocks keeper Petar Durin, who had his first start of the year on loan from Pompey, had to deal with early pressure, kicking the ball out from a forward passing splitting the defence.
A long ball over the top was knocked on by Smith to the onrushing Stuart Green who forced a decent save from Anthony Ender. Green passed to Doug Tuck on the left before he fired it into the box with Freddie Read in pursuit but it was blocked.
For City Kaleem Haitham hit a shot from outside the box forcing a parried save by Durin. Lloyd Rowlatt hit one low and wide committing Durin into a save. Tommy Leigh gave the ball away which allowed Rowlatt in and he bounced a low strike at goal but it was pushed wide by Durin. The corner found Jamie Horncastle, who headed it on to the right post and out.
Callum Overton got in the way of a fellow player’s shot before Leigh belted a shot over down the other end. Jimmy Muitt combined with Smith in a one-two before he slid in and looked as though he was pulled back by a defender as the goalkeeper gathered it. However, penalty claims were ignored.
James Crane made good headway down the left before firing into the box but it was well stopped by Ender on 30 minutes. Josh Clack got the ball into the area following good work by Rowlatt but smashed the ball cross the box and out of play. Durin got in the way as Chichester sprung on the attack but Overton’s strike was denied.
Smith played in Muitt and he smashed it low to force a great save by Ender on 37 minutes. Crane combined with Leigh on the left before he squared it to Muitt, who spun his right footed strike disappointingly wide.
On 39 minutes the Rocks took the lead. A lovely pass through the defence picked out Smith, who ran hard before driving it in. City responded with Rowlatt hitting one from distance but Durin saved confidently. HT 1-0
Keaton Wood gave away a free-kick but the Rocks cleared the danger before Matt Axell's cross couldn’t be caught by Durin and the following shot by Horncastle was blocked. Clack made decent headway before winning a corner which came to nothing.
Overton came off for Scott Jones on 57 minutes and Ellis Martin was replaced Rob Hutchings for Chichester. Read came off for Josh McCormick on 59 minutes for Bognor.
McCormick won a corner with a deflected shot and the eventual cross from Muitt swung across the box but missed Smith in the box. Muitt ran along the by-line and passed square to Crane who was blocked with his instant low attempt. Horncastle, Ben Pashley and Corey Heath were replaced by Lewis, Rory Biggs and Ryan Peake on 65 minutes.
Chichester hit Bognor on the break with Biggs making a good run before shooting well over the bar on 69 minutes. Charlie Searle replaced Durin on 72 minutes in the Rocks goal.
Green came off for Dan Simmonds on 76 minutes before Searle made a save as Biggs bobbled a shot at goal. Simmonds responded with a diving header and forcing a tipped save over the bar by Ender. Muitt's corner was tipped over again by the goalkeeper.
Connor Cody went into the book for a foul on Muitt. The free-kick was easily dealt with. Emmett Dunn and Tommy Scutt replaced Wood, who had taken a bad knock moments before, and Tuck on 84 minutes.
Clack capitalised on a failed Bognor attack to spring down the left before cutting inside and rolling the ball at goal on the slide but Searle did well to stop it. Scutt intercepted the ball to play it forward to Muitt who ran on before shooting well wide of the right post.
Bognor held on to take the win and the Sussex Community Shield was theirs again for the first time since 1987. Whyte led the team to collect the silverware as Rocks picked up their first win of their pre-season matches. Their final pre-season friendly game sees them travel to Gosport on Friday, 7.45pm.
Rocks: Durin (Searle 72), Dandy, Crane, Tuck (Scutt 84), Leigh, Wood (Dunn 84), Whyte, Read (McCormick 59) , Smith, Muitt, Green (Simmonds 76)