Rocks rescue a point - but squad is looking threadbare

Another game - another late goal to save the Rocks from defeat. Bradley Lethbridge struck a superb goal in the third minute of injury time to rescue a point for Bognor - the third game in a row they have ended in the same manner.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 9:21 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 9:36 pm
Bognor players celebrate Brad Lethbridge's late equaliser / Picture by Darren Crisp

On a sunny but fresh day Bognor made the relatively short journey up the A24 to Fetcham Grove to play old adversaries Leatherhead. The hosts have been struggling for early season form, while the Rocks had an injury-plagued team with several players patched up to play.

Playing in their maroon away kit Bognor had the better of the early exchanges as Leatherhead, with three debutants in their team, found their feet.

On five minutes a poor defensive clearance gave Jimmy Muitt a half chance but his shot was fumbled away for a corner by Zaki Oualah in the home goal.

Leatherhead started to find their feet, and with a bigger physical presence than Bognor they started to create chances, Travis Gregory and then debutant Ibrahim Olutade both had half chances but their end product left a lot to be desired.

With Bognor giving the ball away, on 17 minutes the hosts took the lead when the defence backed off and allowed a partially sighted Dan Lincoln to be beaten by Shaun Okojie.

As the half wore on Bognor got more into the game, Lethbridge caused a few problems with his running at the home defence - however the end product was missing.

Despite several corners, and a reasonable amount of pressure, Bognor couldn't make it count, although Zaki Oualah made one good save to deny Jimmy Muitt when through.

A brilliant save by Lincoln stopped Olutade from increasing the hosts' lead as the first half fizzled out.

Bognor came out the blocks all guns firing at the start of the second half. On 47 minutes Mason Walsh cut in from the left to set up a chance for Calvin Davies, whose shot was dropped by the keeper - but nobody responded quick enough to capitalise on it.

On 56 minutes Bognor were level. Lethbridge, coming in from the left, played a one-two with Joe Tomlinson and from his cross, Tommy Scutt volleyed home to make it 1-1.

Bognor's play was now flowing a bit more after their poor first half. Tomlinson drove forward were causing problems, and Charlie Wassmer was yellow carded for a poor tackle for the Tanners.

Minutes later he committed another foul and he could probably count himself lucky not to have got a second yellow. Walsh and Harvey Whyte combined well but lacked a final shot, then a Tomlinson free-kick was deflected wide.

From a period of control, and having the hosts on the back foot, Bognor, not for the first time this season, gave away another goal.

Pushing forward, Chad Field was left with few options and his back pass to Tommy Block was poor, as was Block's first touch. Olutade capitalised on this and fired past Lincoln to restore the lead.

Leatherhead, seeing the Bognor heads drop after such a poor goal, tried to kill the game off. Lincoln made a couple of fine saves to keep them in the game.

Bognor responded with a late surge and Lethbridge had a couple of half chances. Then Whyte broke down the left, and his cross was headed back across the goal by Lethbridge but substitute Jimmy Wild failed to reach it.

Into injury time we went and on 93 minutes Lethbridge cut in from the left again and from about 25 yards unleashed an unstoppable shot - he's now done that two Saturdays runningg to bring Bognor all square.

There was still time for more action as seconds later Lethbridge almost did the same thing again, and then Leatherhead almost caught Bognor on the counter attack.

At the final whistle most would have felt a draw was about the right result. Many Rocks fans might see this as points dropped considering the position of the two teams, but to others this was more like a point gained thanks to such a late goal.

Seeing players limp off at the final whistle yet again illustrated how threadbare and stretched the Rocks squad is at the moment, and with two games a week for the next few weeks the club desperately need a few faces to freshen things up and allow injured players a chance to recover.

The Rocks host Seaford in the Sussex Cup on Tuesday night then go to Walton Casuals in the FA Trophy next Saturday.

Bognor: Lincoln, Davies. Field, Tomlinson, Block, Tuck (Wild 74), Whyte, Scutt, Muitt, Lethbridge, Walsh. Subs (not used): Carroll, Osborne, McCormick

Yellow cards- Field, Lethbridge

Attendance 391