Rocks' long trip to Cornwall yields hard-earned point
The Rocks came away from their longest league trip in years with a valiant and battling point againstÂ title-chasing Truro City.
The Rocks fielded two debutants in Archie Edwards, a young left-back on loan from Charlton Athletic, and Ferdinand Takyi, who signed after time spent in German football.
The Green Army travelled in numbers and it was literally planes, trains and automobiles to get them there. More than 100 hardy souls made the trip and made sure they paid a fitting tribute to supporter Ryan Purvis, who had passed away suddenly the previous day.
Those fans will have come back from Cornwall heartened by a credible draw against a very strong and organised Truro, who head to League One Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup first round next week.
Shooting towards the clubhouse in the first half the Rocks started brightly and Ben Swallow was the first to strike at goal after just two minutes but his shot sailed over.
After a bright start individual errors began to show on a slow and sometimes bobble pitch causing balls to over run and it was this that led to a yellow card for Truro's Ed Palmer after a late tackle on Calvin Davies. The hosts took the lead on 15 minutes with skipper Ben Geering heading home at the far post after a great cross.
The Rocks battled after this setback and were unlucky not to equalise just seven minutes later when Swallow slid a ball in for the impressive Ibra Sekajja, whose shot was blocked by a last-gasp lunge from a Truro defender.
Truro doubled their tally of yellow cards received deep into the first half as striker Tyler Harvey was booked for dissent after contesting a decision with the referee.
As the half came to a close Bognor found themselves very much back in the game and their persistence paid off as Sekajja equalised after taking on the Truro right-back, who backed off allowing Sakajja a shooting opportunity which beat the Truro keeper Tom McHallee at his near post - to the frustration of the keeper but the delight of the travelling Rocks fans behind the goal.
Takyi had an opportunity gifted to him with the half-time whistle imminent as the Truro keeper and a defender were involved in a mix-up, leaving Takyi with a chance to poke the ball home but the bounce of the ball and an alert defender denied him and the chance was cleared as the goal beckoned.
Truro started the second half much the better side and could have retaken the lead after just a few minutes when Cody Cooke headed over a Connor Lowe corner. Debutant Takyi found himself in the referee's notebook on 60 minutes after a coming together with Truro's number seven in the box both trying to get to the ball that had squirmed free.
Sekajja and Takyi both had chances to give the Rocks the lead but had shots deflected wide by a resolute and very strong Truro defence. Ollie Pearce was replaced by Jimmy Muitt with 15 minutes to go and Muitt was close to setting up Swallow almost instantly but the ball was just behind Swallow as he ran to shoot. Takyi had the ball in the net on 80 minutes but was flagged offside by the assistant referee.
The hosts could and should have won the game but a fine save from the dependable Dan Lincoln after a close range shot ensured the spoils were shared, leaving the masses of Rocks fans happy with the point ahead of the long journey home.
Bognor will take many positives from this hard-earned draw. The emergence in midfield of youngster Tommy Block and the solid debut from left-back Edwards will give all hope that this ground-out result can act as a springboard for better things, knowing they can compete and hold their own against a physical Truro side - despite fielding a starting XI that must be the youngest in the division.
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Edwards, Heath, Field, Tuck, Sekajja, Block, Takyi, Pearce, Swallow. Subs: Muitt, Tighe, Lea, Suraci, Scutt.