Bognor come off second best in Rocks v Rocks clash

Bognor had an off-day at East Thurrock / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Bognor had an off-day at East Thurrock / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Defensive errors cost Bognor again as they fell into the Isthmian premier relegation zone, losing 3-0 away to East Thurrock United at Rookery Hill.

They were without Charlie Searle due to work commitments as Bognor named just three substitutes. James Crane pulled up during training with a knee problem but despite the worries, he did start the game.

Alex Clark’s early in-swinging cross for the home Rocks was headed out by Ben Clark-Eden. Then Jimmy Muitt ran on to a forward pass down the right and play in Dan Smith, whose first time strike was blocked on the line.

Frankie Merrifield set up Ayodeji Olukoga for a chance that Harvey Whyte blocked, then Ryan Scott's ball into the box was cleared. Merrifield headed another cross over the bar and at the other end Brad Lethbridge's cross was saved by Jack Giddens.

Jason Ring's ball in to Billy Crook was headed goalwards but it was called offside on 13 minutes. Rocks keeper Petar Durin had to come out to grab the ball at the feet of Olukoga. Crane and Jimmy Muitt combined to give Smith a chance but it was deflected to Lethbridge who beat his man but smashed it wide.

Crane headed out a cross only for Alex Clark to hit itwide for the hosts. Bognor had the ball in the net on 18 minutes with Crane dispatching Muitt's low cross at the near post, but the ball had gone out of play, according to the linesman.

Doug Tuck pounced on the counter attack as Keaton Wood cut out an attack from East Thurrock and found Lethbridge, but his cross was fired past the post. Whyte combined with Tuck but the resultant cross was beyond Smith.

Durin saved well in a one on one, but East Thurrock took the lead on 30 minutes as a long ball over the top by Clark was latched on to by Danny Harris who chipping it over Durin and into the net.

Muitt was holding his right ankle after winning the ball back on the touchline. Muitt did return to play after treatment but didn’t look happy when discussing the issue with the club's physio.

On 39 minutes more poor defending by Bognor ended with Olukoga slotting the ball beyond Durin for 2-0.

Merrifield was in with a sight of a third goal but Whyte denied him with a last ditch tackle - and Bognor looked very shaky at the back. HT 2-0

Tommy Scutt came in place of the injured Muitt for the second half. Merrifield ran on to a ball over the top but was blocked by Clark-Eden on 47 minutes. Some positive play for Bognor ended abruptly as Tommy Leigh's ball out wide towards Scutt bounced beyond him.

Smith’s cross was easily gathered on 51 minutes by Jack Giddens.Crook curled a free-kick over the wall but it was ust too high.

Whyte and Tuck set up Scutt but he was thwarted. Then Bognor went further behind on 56 minutes. Scott worked the ball well around Ashton Leigh before finding the onrushing Clark, who sped inside from the right and smashed a shot into the bottom corner beyond Durin.

Ashton Leigh went into the book on 59 minutes for a body check. Clark’s curling free-kick found Scott, who headed it against the crossbar. Durin did well to intercept a low cross by Gelashvilli with Merrifield in pursuit. Brazilian Victor Hensel replaced Ashton Leigh on 65 minutes.

Tommy Leigh's pass picked out Smith but with the goal gaping and the goalkeeper stranded, the striker smashed it wide. Hensel brought the ball inside before it fell to Tuck and his cross picked out Smith, but he didn’t get enough on his header to trouble Giddens on 72 minutes.

Sean Bonnet-Johnson's deflected chance was well saved by Durin. Gelashvilli’s volley was only just wide from outside the box.

Durin pushed out Ring's well-struck chance befor Hensel won the Rocks a penalty on 79 minutes. But if you wanted proof it was not Bognor's day it came when Smith's spot kick flew wide.

Dan Simmonds replaced Lethbridge on 84 minutes but despite Bognor's efforts in the final moments, it really was a day to forget. Rocks will need to improve quickly and get a result at Nyewood Lane against fellow struggler Cheshunt on Tuesday.

Rocks: Durin, Crane, A Leigh (Hensel 65), Tuck, Clark-Eden, Wood, Whyte (c), T Leigh, Smith, Muitt (Scutt 45), Lethbridge (Simmonds 84).

Att - 205