Bath-time is hard work but Rocks nab a point

The Rocks on the attack at Bath City / Picture by Tommy McMillan
The Rocks on the attack at Bath City / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor held Bath City to a goalless draw on a cold afternoon at Twerton Park - giving them another point in the bag but not taking them out of the bottom three.

The Rocks again had only three players on the bench with Ollie Pearce, Corey Heath and James Crane on the injury list and Sami El-Abd missing through suspension. Kristian Campbell returned to the starting line-up following hamstring problems.

Early on Doug Tuck won the ball in Bath’s half before playing it wide to Jimmy Muitt, but his cross was too much for Ibra Sekajja. Danger man Jack Compton struck wide for the Romans.

Tommy Block conceded a corner but Compton’s kick flashed across the face of goal with Opi Edwards lurking. Muitt cut the ball back for Ben Swallow, but his left-foot shot was well wide.

Bognor were defending well and on eight minutes Keaton Wood bravely blocked another Compton strike. Harvey Whyte found Muitt from Calvin Davies’ cross but Muitt blasted the ball well over the bar.

Swallow found Tuck, who picked out Muitt on the right. Tuck made a run into the box as Muitt’s cross came in but it flew over him. Muitt combined well with Whyte, who beat two defenders before hitting a low effort straight at goalkeeper Luke Southwood. Whyte tried his luck again but shot wide from 20 yards.

Tuck ran through and split the defence with a pass towards Sekajja but the goalkeeper dashed out to clear the loose ball. Andy Watkins was denied by Dan Lincoln on 25 minutes. Swallow’s corner was met by Sekajja, whose first-time strike was deflected.

For the Romans, Miles Welch-Hayes combined well with Edwards in a one-two butskied his cross. Southwood kept out Whyte’s right-sided cross at the other end. On 34 minutes. Edwards got into the area and his deflected shot looped up over Lincoln but Davies headed the ball off the line. A left-sided cross saw Nat Jarvis head over.

With five minutes left of the first half, Tuck’s through ball to Campbell ended disappointingly when the full-back could only roll his pass straight to Southwood.

Tuck acrobatically stopped the ball going out of play before teeing up Swallow, but his cross flew over everyone in the box.

HT 0-0

Compton’s 47th-minute corner reached the back post searching for Welch-Hayes but he missed it in the air. Edwards won another corner, and when it came in it caused a scramble that ended with the ball bouncing off the top of the bar.

A back pass almost set the Romans through. Edwards rushed in but Lincoln was quickly out of his goal to clear. On 55 minutes, a simple ball forward found Tom Smith. His shot was blocked then Welch-Hayes struck over thanks to a deflection. Frankie Artus headed the corner wide.

Whyte got the Rocks on the attack. He threaded the ball to Muitt, who left it for Swallow, who ran across defence before shooting. A defender managed to get in the way of this effort. As Bath attacked, Tommy Block impeded Jarvis, which meant he was booked on 70 minutes. Matt Richards’ free-kick hit the defensive wall and then a cross was headed low by Artus straight at Lincoln.

Davies pummelled the ball down the right flank to Muitt. He chested the ball over a defender to Swallow, who passed back to Muitt. The forward ran on before shooting but it was straight at the goalkeeper.

The Romans should have scored on 77 minutes when Smith knocked a chance wide after finding himself unmarked in the area. Swallow tried his luck from over 20 yards but again failed to hit the target. Wood took a knock and required treatment. He went off with a bloodied nose and was replaced by Dan Beck. With the management team eager to replace Wood, James Crane (watching watching the game from the bench) was sent to the stand after appealing against the time it took for the referee to allow the change.

Smith made it to the byline before chipping the ball into the area for the tall sub Marvin Morgan. He was strong in the air to head it at goal but it went straight into Lincoln’s arms. A good chance for Bognor came and went when Davies’ cross was guided wide by an unmarked Muitt on the volley with his left foot.

There was late drama as Morgan was set through on goal thanks to a fine pass by Smith but with only Lincoln to beat, it was the goalkeeper that secured the draw for Bognor as he denied Morgan’s shot with his left leg.

A stoppage time strike by Campbell was blocked and Swallow went into the book for a challenge. Right at the death Smith bashed another great chance for Bath City wide from inside the area.

Next for Bognor, they hope to emulate previous successes in the FA Trophy when they go to Taunton on Saturday. They're next in league action at home to Poole on December 23.

Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Campbell, Tuck, Field, Wood (Beck 87), Muitt, Block, Sekajja, Whyte, Swallow. Subs not used: Lea, Scutt.

Get all the latest from the Rocks camp in the Bognor Observer every Thursday