The Rocks completed their pre-season schedule with an excellent win against a strong Gosport side who will be playing this season in the Conference South – a level above Bognor.
The playing surface at Privett Park was slick and fast following heavy rain during the afternoon, and both sides showed the conditions suited them with excellent, flowing football contributing to an entertaining match.
Gosport were the stronger side in the first half-hour without really threatening to make it count. Gareth Barfoot, Gosport’s reserve keeper who was playing for Bognor, made a couple of good saves, but central defenders Dan Sackman and Craig Robson were having excellent games to stifle any Gosport threats.
Towards half-time Bognor began to play some lovely football and a flowing move started by Doug Tuck and Harvey Whyte ended with a James Crane shot whistling just past the far post. Minutes later Tuck himself could have scored but hooked the ball over the bar from close range.
Gosport themselves had a chance just before the break, but although Forbes was clean through, Barfoot saved well.
The Rocks started the second half with probably their strongest side and for much of the time were matching the home side. Robson almost scored with a header from a corner and a moment later was in action in defence to block a goal-bound shot from Forbes.
Rory Williams crashed a shot against the woodwork for Gosport and then Mike Gosney could have put Gosport ahead, only to see his shot shave the far post.
However it was the visitors who took the lead midway through the half. An excellent ball from young Ryan Barrett to Arron Hopkinson allowed the winger to beat two defenders out wide on the right. He cut inside and fired an unstoppable shot into the net from the edge of the box.
The game remained evenly balanced, with Stuart Axten going close to increasing Bognor’s lead and Gosney skimming the bar for Gosport. The Rocks defence held firm for the final few minutes to seal a morale-boosting victory.
Dan Kempson picked up a knock early on and Daryl Wollers only lasted ten minutes before a nasty collision saw him pick up a nasty cut across the face, close to his eye.
He was taken to hospital as a precaution but both players should be available for the start of the season – although Wollers continues to wait for his operation which is required to treat his long standing groin injury.
ROCKS: Barfoot, Marzetti, Trigg, Tuck, Sackman, Robson, Kempson, Wills, Dodd, Whyte, Pearce. Subs: Crane (for Kempson 14), Axten (Sackman 46), Wollers (Trigg 46), Hopkinson (Whyte 55), Barrett (Wollers 56), Heath.