Bognor`s dreams of a lucrative FA Cup run were cruelly shattered late on at the Dripping Pan – despite being the far better side for most of the game. They paid the price once again for playing some great attacking and possession football but not converting their domination with a goal.
For the first 20 minutes of the first half, it looked like the visitors would bury a wobbly Lewes team who seemed devoid of pace and confidence.
Stuart Green caused no end of problems and he created great chances for both Alex Parsons and Harvey Whyte in the third and eighth minutes, but their efforts failed to find the Lewes net.
It wasn`t until 21 minutes in that the home team had their first chance when a Gary Elphick header from a corner was easily saved by Bognor`s Chris Winterton.
A minute later, the Rooks’ Nicky Crabb should have done better when he was put through, but he shot wide.
Lewes were coming into the game more and on 23 minutes Crabb once again fluffed a chance to put the home side ahead when his shot was well saved by Winterton.
Bognor immediately counter-attacked when Green put through Ben Johnson, but he shot over the bar.
Just after from a Rocks corner, Whyte’s fierce shot was well saved by Rikki Banks in the Lewes goal. In the last minute of the first half, the home side could have gone ahead when a header from Jack Dixon was scrambled clear.
The second half saw the visitors resume their relentless assault on the Lewes goal and on 47 minutes both Parsons and Whyte had chances to open the scoring but failed to convert.
On 58 minutes, Ollie Pearce came on for Parsons, and Bognor kept pressing the Lewes goal when the lively Whyte saw his hard, low shot well saved by Banks in 59th minute.
Lewes brought on ex-Rocks player Terry Dodd in the 68th minute and in 80th minute, Rocks replaced Green, who had run all night, with Dan Thompson.
Lewes were now beginning to create chances themselves and in the 81st minute, only a great save from Rocks keeper Winterton prevented Dixon from scoring.
Then in the 85th minute following a corner from the left, Ollie Rowe ran from a deep position to head the ball past a despairing Winterton to give the home side a crucial lead.
Bognor made a further change when Doug Tuck came off for Arron Hopkinson, but try as they did, Bognor couldn`t get the equaliser they so very much deserved.
Next for the Rocks is a league visit to Grays on Saturday.
Rocks: Winterton, Medway, Crane, Tuck (Hopkinson 85), Sackman, Robson, Whyte, Thomson, Green (Thompson 80), Parsons (Pearce 53), Johnson. Subs not used: Warre, Boyle, Oatway.
by ROGER NASH