Rocks can’t quite throw Stones off course

Stuart Green was Bognor's scorer at Maidstone   Picture by Chris Hatton
Stuart Green was Bognor's scorer at Maidstone Picture by Chris Hatton

Bognor can count themselves a little unlucky not to get at least a point at second-placed Maidstone - something their first-half efforts deserved. Stuart Green had an excellent game for Bognor and scored their goal, but the whole team showed they were not far off producing a play-off push.

Bognor travelled to Kent looking to maintain the excellent form they showed in their last outing against Hendon.

They named an unchanged team but were without Ashley-Paul Robinson on the bench.

In their previous game Bognor blew away Hendon with a quick start; however in this game it was Maidstone who were quick out the blocks. In the first minute Matt Bodkin made a break down the right only for Dan Sackman to clear the pressure. However in only the third minute Bodmin again caused problems out wide and his cross was taken down by Jack Parkinson, who fired home from 20 yards into the bottom corner, giving Chris Winterton no chance in the Bognor goal.

This seemed to kick-start Bognor into action and moments later Jason Prior headed an Alex Parsons cross straight at the keeper, and then Doug Tuck fired wide following a good move.

Bognor continued a fine period of domination. Prior caused problems and Jake Thomson and Parsons had shots that went close. A corner from the Bognor right caused problems and saw a ball bobbling loose in the Maidstone goalmouth but Thomson again fired wide.

Green now joined in the act, firing wide. For this 20-minute period, Bognor were in total control and only a goal was missing as just reward for their domination.

Having weathered the storm Maidstone looked dangerous on the counter. Alex Flisher hit the Bognor crossbar with a shot-come-cross before Harvey Whyte cleared a dangerous move by Bodkin, and Winterton made a good save from Frannie Collin.

On 38 minutes Bognor were awarded a free-kick on the left, Whyte crossed, Prior headed down and Green fired home a fine volley from the edge of the box for a deserved equaliser.

With half-time approaching, a long-range shot by Jay May took a wicked deflection from which Winterton produced a fine save.

Maidstone came out all guns firing at the start of the second half not allowing Bognor into any sort of rhythm. On 52 minutes Winterton pushed a Flisher cross on to the bar and Craig Robson blocked the rebound on the line.

Minutes later Winterton made another good save to deny Parkinson a second goal. With no second goal to show Maidstone became more frustrated with Bognor. Some of the tackles and the lack of protection by the officials also saw the tempo of the game increase.

Thomson sent over a good cross which Prior blasted over, then Green fired wide following a corner.

Maidstone felt they had a good claim for a penalty as May went down under a Robson challenge. On the second half balance of play Maidstone looked the more likely to score and on 71 minutes they took the lead when Bodkin again caused problems out wide and Flisher converted to put Maidstone into the lead.

The final 15 minutes was nervy for the hosts as they were determined to hang on to the lead, although it has to be said some of the tackles that flew in along with bully-boy tactics against the officials left a sour taste to an otherwise-enjoyable game.

ROCKS: Winterton, Crane, Whyte, Robson, Sackman, Tuck (Oatway), Green, Thomson (Lawson), Pearce, Prior, Parsons. Subs not used: Branford, Johnson.

The Rocks are next in action on Tuesday at home to Witham Town.