Burgess Hill Town 1, Bognor Regis Town 3: Full match report
Bognor maintained their pressure on Havant & Waterlooville with another win away from home at Burgess Hill Town. Havant lost their fixture away to Harrow Borough with late drama, meaning Rocks returned to first place.
Rocks travelled to Laylands Park to take on Burgess Hill Town in one of the more local sides they face this year.
Ed Sanders was back in the side for Bognor as they looked to continue in their unbeaten away form.
Charlie Moone also reprised his role back in his usual strikers position alongside Jimmy Muitt.
James Fraser's forward ball picked out Jimmy Muitt. Muitt ran forward before shooting narrowly over the bar from outside the box.
The Hillians did the same moments later as Joe Keehan skied his effort over the bar.
Harvey Whyte won a freekick cheaply on 6 minutes. Ollie Pearce struck the freekick through the wall and wide of the left post.
Burgess Hill hit Bognor on the counter and a forward ball saw Aaron Smith-Joseph turn his marker with ease and with his pace ran on until shooting over the crossbar.
James Crane did well on the left before whipping it across. Fraser was there in space but his strike on the rise found Crane on the left post and his header crashed back off the post on 10 minutes.
Pearce was smashed into by Will Miles who took the player out. Miles received a deserved yellow card on 11 minutes.
Pat Harding smashed another over as the Hillians were rather wasteful in front of goal in the early going.
Sam Fisk's long throws were proving a threat as Dan Lincoln had to punch one clear on 16 minutes.
Fraser was tripped up on 19 minutes. This meant another freekick in a dangerous position for Bognor. But Whyte struck his attempt straight into the defensive wall.
Then Doug Tuck was blocked off with a chance in the box after a decent header back inside from Sanders.
Lincoln gathered a deflected attempt by Smith-Joseph soon after as clear cut chances were few and far between.
Lincoln bravely stopped a rolling ball and Lucas Rodrigues collided with him on the deck resulting in a lengthy stoppage on 32 minutes.
Tuck won the ball back for Bognor and fed Pearce on the overlap. Pearce struck it along the floor but it was easily saved by James Shaw at his near post on 36 minutes.
Muitt's quick move down the right saw him cross the ball and it was Miles who used his hand in the box above his head. A penalty was awarded and Miles was sent to the stand for his second yellow card. Up stepped Fraser who slotted it low into the bottom right corner from the spot to give Bognor the lead on 40 minutes.
Moone was booked for a trip on Cheick Toure on 42 minutes as he tried to win the ball back.
Following neat work from Tuck, Crane teed himself up to shoot. But unfortunately he blasted wide.
And to top off a very impressive end to the half for Bognor, a right sided Pearce corner kick inside into the heart of the area fell straight onto the head of Chad Field who had out-paced his two markers in the box before directing the ball high into the net.
Fraser's quick cross to Moone almost paid off early in the second half. But Shaw gathered it after the ball looped up in the air.
Jack Brivio's lofted freekick was headed onto the unmarked Lee Harding who slammed it on the turn in the air but again the chance flashed over the crossbar.
Soon after L Harding had a deflected shot wide to win a corner in a similar situation.
Bognor gave a silly foul away on 57 minutes. Keehan struck it straight into the wall. But the Hillians won another freekick a bit further back outside the D. This time Brivio curled it over the wall forcing Lincoln into a fingertips save - tipping it over.
But the Hillians pulled a goal back on 60 minutes. A corner on the left by P Harding picked out James Richmond who nodded it down into the turf and it bounced up high and over Lincoln and into the net.
On 62 minutes Muitt came off for Jimmy Wild.
Tuck received a booking on 64 minutes for a challenge.
Richmond was also booked for tripping up Wild on the run down the other end on 65 minutes in a physical game.
Pearce cut one back inside the box for Wild who bounced a shot at goal but Shaw denied him.
Fraser spun a left footed shot wide from outside the box 70 minutes. Then he smashed another with his right over the bar moments later.
But Bognor regained their two goal lead on 72 minutes when Pearce smashed a shot low beyond the goalkeeper from a cross-field pass out on the left.
P Harding was replaced by Ibrahim Diallo and Keehan was replaced by Guy Bolton on 76 minutes for the hosts.
Wild was unlucky as he closed down a clearance by Shaw deep in the goalkeeper's penalty area but the block rolled out for a goal kick.
On 82 minutes Fraser was replaced by Alex Parsons for Bognor and for the Hillians Tyrell Richardson Brown came on for Smith-Joseph.
Rodrigues held up the ball before rurning and spinning a shot well over the crossbar on 85 minutes.
An impressive Pearce display came to an end as he was replaced by Darren Budd on 85 minutes.
Budd was instantly involved. His high floated cross found the foot of Wild who slammed it low on the volley but he was denied by the outstretched Shaw.
Sanders also went into the book for a late challenge as the hosts attacked. The freekick was poor though and Lincoln easily gathered it.
Bognor ended the game after four minutes of stoppage time and return to the highest peak of the Ryman Premier League. Rocks welcome Folkestone Invicta to Nyewood Lane this Saturday, 3pm kick off.
Attendance - 405
Burgess Hill: Shaw, Miles, Fisk, Keehan (Bolton 76), Toure, Richmond, P Harding (I Diallo 76), Brivio, L Harding, Smith-Joseph (Richardson Brown 82), Rodrigues
Subs Not Used: Dialo, Redwood
Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, Sanders, Field, Fraser (Parsons 82), Beck, Moone, Pearce (Budd 85), Muitt (Wild 62)
Sub Not Used: Davies