Rocks come from behind to win at Kingstonian

Doug Tuck scored a superb equaliser at Kingstonian   Picture by Chris Hatton
Doug Tuck scored a superb equaliser at Kingstonian Picture by Chris Hatton

Kingstonian’s Kingsmeadow ground is fast becoming one of the Rocks’ favourites – with several famous victories there in the past few years. This 2-1 Ryman premier success was no exception, with Bognor coming from behind to deservedly win, thanks to a couple of tremendous goals - one a great solo effort from Doug Tuck and the winner a superb team goal finished off in some style by Ollie Pearce.

The home side started strongly and in the opening minutes caused an early threat when Chris Winterton had to be at his best to deny Steve Laidler.

Bognor responded well however, and Pearce’s trickery set up Jason Prior, but his shot drifted a foot wide of the post. The visitors enjoyed the majority of play in the first half an hour but with only a flurry of corners to show for it.

Tuck had a shot well saved by the veteran keeper Rob Tolfrey and James Crane’s excellent through ball released Pearce, but again Tolfrey saved well.

Kingstonian may have been on the back foot for long periods, but they did look dangerous on the break. Aaron Goode put a tricky cross into the penalty area, and with Bognor’s defence hesitating, Charlie Penney should have done better.

At the other end the impressive Stuart Green’s long pass to Pearce allowed the diminutive striker to outpace the full-back, and his powerful shot from an acute angle missed by a whisker.

A few minutes before the break the home side took the lead with a superb goal from left-back Callum Webb. There appeared to be little danger as he jockeyed with the ball by the corner flag, but he cleverly beat two defenders before cutting inside and firing an unstoppable shot into the top far corner from the sharpest of angles.

Bognor replaced Green with Omarr Lawson at the break. Green had suffered a nasty knock in a robust challenge shortly before the break, and was clearly in some distress.

The Rocks took the game to their opponents straight from the start of the half and earned a number of free kicks in dangerous positions as the Ks defence struggled with their intricate passing movements.

On 50 minutes Prior was unceremoniously upended just outside the box. Thomson’s free-kick was blocked by the wall but the ball fell invitingly to Tuck some 22 yards out. He took one touch to tee the ball up and struck it sweetly into the top corner of the net, giving Tolfrey no chance at all.

Within minutes the home side thought they had retaken the lead. Josh Casey’s pass was swept in by Penney, but he was clearly offside, and there was little protest.

Kingstonian began to pressure the Rocks, but as has been the case so often this season, Dan Sackman and Craig Robson stood firm, and as Bognor counter attacked one could sense that their reward was likely to come.

Terry Dodd and Callum Overton were introduced and both provided added width and pace as Bognor broke forward on a number of occasions. Young Overton in particular proved a real handful on his debut on what is actually his home ground, being an AFC Wimbledon player.

Malachi Hudson almost put Kingstonian ahead following an impressive run into the box, but Winterton bravely saved at his feet and was able to smother the rebound. This enabled Bognor to set up another counter attack, and Carne threaded a great ball down the left wing towards Dodd.

Dodd headed on to Overton who burst into the box and fed Pearce, who smashed the ball home much to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.

With ten minutes to go it was only to be expected that Kingstonian would throw everything forward. Harvey Whyte was instrumental in breaking up several dangerous forays down his wing and again the central partnership of Sackman and Robson were immense.

Although the referee somehow found an additional five minutes to add on at the end, Bognor were clearly not going to allow their lead to be taken from them.

The end of the game was marred by an extraordinary incident involving the Ks goalkeeper and a fan which resulted in quite a long-running scuffle. The incident is being investigated.

ROCKS: Winterton, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, Sackman, Robson, Green (Lawson 46 (Dodd 77) ), Thomson, Prior, Pearce, Parsons (Overton 70). Subs not used: Oatway.