Lethbridge and Walsh help Rocks triumph at Tonbridge
Second-half goals by Brad Lethbridge and - in the 90th minute - Mason Walsh earned the Rocks their first away league win of the season at the home of leaders Tonbridge.
On Non League Day, when they were backed by a large and vocal travelling Green Army, the Rocks impressed in all parts of the pitch to move into third place and sit just two points behind top spot ahead of home games against Folkestone on Tuesday and Margate on Saturday.
Bognor were missing three key players in Dan Smith, Keaton Wood and Corey Heath and so new loan signing from Pompey Joe Dandy featured in the centre of the defence, while Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake had only three men on the bench.
The Angels had the first chance as James Folkes stole the ball and cut the ball back after a run down the right before he found Adem Ramaden, who blasted over the bar. Then Joe Turner combined with Ramaden, who committed Dan Lincoln into a right-footed save. Jared Small struck one from long distance but wide of the post for the hosts.
Bognor had their first chance when Jimmy Muitt cut inside before passing to Calvin Davies whose shot was well saved by the goalkeeper. Then Muitt's corner picked out Walsh but after peeling off his defender he struck it high and wide on eight minutes.
Lethbridge did well to cut inside from the left but his curling strike flew wide. Alex Read stole the ball from a back pass by Walsh and combined with Tommy Whitnell but his pass back to the striker came to nothing. Lethbridge found Muitt but he was leaning back when he struck a shot that went well over.
Davies did well on the right and found Muitt, who picked out Harvey Whyte, and his first-time effort was over the bar. Davies forced a save from Jon Henly and Whyte couldn’t capitalise on the rebound. Muitt’s corner found Chad Field but he headed over.
A feeble effort by Turner saw Lincoln. On the break Tonbridge attacked and Turner cut the ball across the box only for Read to divert it wide. Whyte's chipped pass almost found Tuck but the move broke down.
Small caught Lincoln well outside of his area as the goalkeeper tried to shield the ball from the opposing player. From the left he curled the ball agonisingly wide with the goalkeeper stranded. Walsh stole the ball deep inside Tonbridge’s half but after passing to Whyte he struck the ball wide.
Lethbridge received a yellow card for holding up play when Henly tried to kick the ball up-field. Then the Pompey loanee struck a shot wide moments later. Whitnell fired another chance wide when he had better options in the penalty area. Turner ended the first half with an effort easily taken by Lincoln.
Lethbridge combined with Whyte but he struck it low and it deflected off a defender as it bounced harmlessly to Henly. Then James Folkes committed Lincoln into a save - he pushed it out to Read, who hit the ball high and wide. Joe Tomlinson struck one at goal but the keeper saved comfortably.
It was 1-0 to the Rocks on 51 minutes. Sonny Miles was to fault as Bognor sprung on the counter with Walsh’s run. He passed across the box for Lethbridge, who neatly flicked the ball into the bottom corner.
Lethbridge might have doubled his tally when he received the ball inside the box from Davies but he scuffed it wide. Ramaden did well to cut across the defence before clipping the post on 58 minutes with his low attempt. Lethbridge's strike from 25 yards went wide on 64 minutes.
Davies was denied with a dipping strike but on 67 minutes the Angels equalised. Ramaden passed it across the box to Read, who beat his marker before coolly slotting the ball beyond Lincoln.
Block was replaced by Tommy Scutt on 71 minutes, with the midfielder looking as though he had taken a knock. Walsh's cross from the left found Scutt who turned but shot high and wide.
Whyte slid in to meet a ball from Davies and collided with the goalkeeper. The challenge was punished with a yellow card to Whyte and keeper Hendy had to be stretchered off and replaced by Stewart Copeland, who is also the goalkeeping coach for the hosts. Copeland confidently saved a Lethbridge strike from just inside the box following good work on the right by Davies.
In injury time the Rocks delighted the travelling fans with a winner when a long pass from the back found Walsh and he took it on and slotted in.
Bognor held on for the remainder of eight minutes of additional time to make it five wins and five draws from their opening ten Bostik premier games.
Attendance - 814
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Tomlinson, Tuck, Field, Dandy, Whyte, Block (Scutt 71), Lethbridge, Muitt (McCormick 84), Walsh. Sub not used: Osborne.
* The Rocks will host Seaford of the SCFL in the second round of the Sussex Senior Cup.