FA Trophy: Rocks recover from setback to topple Taunton
Bognor were 4-1 winners on a damp and sloping Taunton Town pitch as goals from four strikers - Ollie Pearce, Chike Kandi, Jason Prior and Alfie Rutherford - sent the Rocks into the next round of the FA Trophy.
A morning pitch inspection meant that the game could go ahead despite the wet weather at the Viridor Stadium.
Rocks fans had travelled by coach, train and car to see if the boys in green and white could progress.
Bognor went behind when Josh Klein-Davies scored on two minutes. Craig Robson had to pass back to Grant Smith but his miscue allowed Klein-Davies in after the keeper slipped - all he had to do was tap in.
Following a cross from the right, James Crane latched on to the ball and smashed a shot from outside the box and it took a deflection before flying over the bar. The corner was flicked on by Prior but it was cleared.
Smith had to gather the ball following a long pass that bounced into the area as Jordan Rogers lurked.
Klein-Davies went close again when he received a pass down the right before shooting narrowly wide.
But the Rocks equalised on 22 minutes. Good work on the right by Harvey Whyte allowed him to pass to Prior who laid it off for Pearce. The forward shot low and beat goalkeeper Lloyd Irish.
It got better for Bognor when they went ahead on 23 minutes as Chike Kandi’s solo effort flew in from outside the box.
Good work on the right saw Pearce try a cross which was cleared only to Whyte but his effort spun over the bar.
Pearce teed up Prior on the right before he squared to Kandi and he was only just closed down before shooting. A corner by Pearce was headed just wide by Crane.
Crane required treatment on 40 minutes and had to be replaced on 41 minutes by Chad Field. Crane complained of blurred vision following a challenge.
For Taunton, Owen Irish hit a deflected shot into the side netting from a corner.
Kandi’s pass across the box for Snorre Nilsen was struck just behind the player following a pass by Prior.
The Rocks fans were in full voice and Kandi did well on the right to tee up Pearce inside the area. He worked hard to try to divert the ball across the area to Prior but Irish got there first.
Carter’s cross was well stopped by Smith and at the other end Nilsen’s fierce cross was skied by Prior.
Pearce’s corner was well flicked on by Sami El-Abd but Prior on the back post couldn’t capitalise.
Pearce cut the ball inside for Kandi. The Brighton loanee laid the ball on to Prior and his left-footed strike whizzed high and wide.
Doug Tuck had a shot blocked before winning a free-kick outside the box. Up stepped Pearce, who poked it short for Prior - he blasted it low and it skidded off the damp turf and despite falling straight to Irish’s feet, the ball flew up and into the net off his glove to make it 3-1.
Kandi was replaced by Alfie Rutherford for the Rocks on 74 minutes and the sub soon netted the fourth after neat work down the right saw him set through into space before firing low into the bottom corner on 78 minutes.
Nilsen thought he had scored when a square pass across the box was threaded through by Tuck but his low shot somehow missed the target on 82 minutes.
Tuck found Nilsen again moments later but his shot on 86 minutes was well stopped by Irish.
Pearce was replaced by Stuart Green on 88 minutes as the Rocks played out the final minutes of a comfortable win that followed a nervy start.
The draw is on Monday, while the Rocks are next in action on Tuesday night with a league visit to Brentwood.
Rocks: Smith, Whyte, Crane (Field 41), Tuck, El-Abd, Robson, Pearce (Green 88), Beck, Prior (c), Kandi (Rutherford 74), Nilsen. Unused Subs: Wollers, Parsons.
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