Rocks make their point to stay in Ryman top six

Ollie Pearce went close to breaking the deadlock at Harrow  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Ollie Pearce went close to breaking the deadlock at Harrow Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor had to settle for a point away to ten-man Harrow as neither side was able to break the deadlock in an even contest in the Ryman premier.

It was an open game throughout with both teams having plenty of chances. Home keeper James Shea was the busier keeper with a string of fine saves, although Mark Zawadski had to be at his best too.

Both teams failed to capitalise, however, when in good scoring positions – so a goalless draw looked on the cards long before the end.

Bognor began brightly and Ollie Pearce found himself in a great position after just two minutes, but his weak shot was easily saved. Louis John then had a good opportunity from a corner, only to see Shea tip the ball over the bar.

It was not all one-way traffic however and Steve Butterworth blazed over the bar at the other end with just Zawadski to beat. Minutes later Rob Wolleaston burst through and Zawadski had to make a fine save.

An excellent flowing move by Bognor started by Terry Dodd led to Arron Hopkinson feeding Pearce. This time his shot was well hit, but again Shea saved the day for Harrow.

Craig Robson blazed just wide following a corner, accompanied by strong Bognor claims that he was being held inside the penalty area, and again John came close from the resultant corner.

Just before the break, Harrow should have scored. First Saheed Sankoh shot over in a good position and then Calum Willcock had a wonderful opportunity. Following an uncharacteristic error by Doug Tuck, Victor Osobu sped down the right and his cross found Willcock completely unmarked ten yards from goal. But his shot was weak and Zawadski saved with no difficulty.

Early in the second half, Osobu blazed over when he should have at least hit the target and minutes later substitute Shaun Lucien set off on a mazy dribble which took him past three Bonor defenders. Having done the difficult bit and with the goal looming, he tamely scuffed his shot yards wide.

Shea was continuing to justify his man-of-the match tag with fine saves from Dodd and Hopkinson before a bizarre incident midway through the half gave Bognor a real opportunity to go on to win.

Following a goalmouth scramble in the Bognor area, Zawadski gathered the ball and threw out to begin a counter-attack. As he did so Osobu, unseen by the referee, jumped and handled the ball to prevent a quick release.

Osubo had already been booked in the first half and the Bognor players appealed as the referee waved play on. Eventually some time after the offence one of the assistant referees eventually waved his flag and summoned referee Mr Creswick.

After a lengthy discussion the referee clearly called out No 7 please and showed the yellow card to the No 9! He restarted the match whilst the Bognor bench tried to get the other assistant referee to alert the referee to his error. Eventually, and with some reluctance, he did so and spoke at length to the bemused man-in-the middle. This time justice prevailed and Osobu was shown his second yellow, and a red card.

With 20 minutes left, Bognor should have pressed their one-man advantage home, but to give Harrow their due they fought hard and looked dangerous whenever they broke.

The Rocks forced a succession of corners and Pearce came close from a couple of them, and substitute Ben Godfrey came so close to getting the much-needed goal, only to see his shot hacked off the line when Shea was beaten for once.

At the other end, Bognor almost conceded in the dying seconds when Lucien outpaced the defence, lobbed the ball over the advancing Zawadski and appeared to be about to sweep the ball into the empty net. Somehow however Robson had made up a phenomenal amount of ground and surprised Lucien by clearing when all seemed lost.

Bognor: Zawadski, Hinshelwood, Crane, Tuck (Johnson), Axten, Robson, Hopkinson (Godfrey), Wills, Dodd, Pearce, John (Chamberlain). Unused subs: Sackman, Kempson.

The Rocks are in action again on Tuesday night when high-flying Maidstone visit Nyewood Lane for what looks like it should be a keenly-contested affair.

SIMON COOK