Rocks’ Ryman run rolls on as Leiston are licked

The Rocks celebrate their second, scored by Snorre Nilsen / Picture by Tim Hale
The Rocks celebrate their second, scored by Snorre Nilsen / Picture by Tim Hale

Bognor chalked up an eighth straight home win and their second in four days – strengthening their Ryman premier promotion bid by beating Leiston 3-0.

Alfie Rutherford netted for the second game in a row to get the Rocks up and running and Snorre Nilsen and Jason Prior wrapped up a comfortable victory against an over-physical and out-of-sorts visiting team.

The Rocks welcomed the Suffolk side to the Lane for a fourth-versus-fifth tussle, fresh from their 1-0 victory over previous leaders Hampton at the weekend.

The visitors were late arriving after the journey and kick-off was put back by ten minutes.

Bognor had Craig Robson and Ollie Pearce - who begins a three-match ban on February 13 for his red card against Hampton - on the bench, which meant starts for Chad Field at the back and Saturday’s goal hero Rutherford up front.

Leiston were fastest out of the blocks and had a couple of half-chances as they pinned Bognor back early on, but an early Rocks attack saw Alex Parsons’ cross from the right almost find Prior at the back post.

A corner won by Prior led to shouts for a handball when it was delivered into the six-yard box but the officials were unmoved.

Prior then twice had goalbound shots blocked after good work by Nilsen on the right.

Gradually Bognor began to enjoy all the pressure and Parsons was brought down just outside the box as he skipped towards the byline. The free-kick was pulled back to Prior but a defender got in the way.

Bognor took a deserved lead after 19 minutes. Nilsen appeared to be fouled but play was waved on before the Rocks quickly won it back. Nilsen and Parsons got in behind the defence and Rutherford was unmarked to sweep in the opener from six yards.

Bognor’s tails were up and Parsons tried his luck from a sharp angle two minutes later but it was too high.

The Rocks continued on top but a couple of floated Dan Beck free-kicks were dealt with. Then Beck’s quick pass found Doug Tuck on the edge of the area only for his shot to be hit too close to keeper Alex Rossis.

Tuck went closer with an instinctive volley from 20 yards after a corner was not properly cleared, but it was a trifle high and wide.

Things got better for the dominant home side on 37 minutes when a cross was controlled by Parsons and he touched it on to Nilsen, who slammed it home from a few yards out.

Leiston’s Tom Bullard was booked for a heavy challenge on Parsons on halfway that actually failed to stop a Rocks attack, and then Rutherford went down after another foul that went unpunished - with ref Graham Kane not getting to grips with an over-physical visiting team.

HT 2-0

The Rocks were soon back on the attack after the break and Prior’s header from a Beck corner wasn’t far off the target.

Rutherford should have scored a killer third on 57 minutes when Prior held up the ball outside the box and played him in with a lovely reverse pass, but he took it too close to the keeper and it was blocked.

The Rocks made their first change on 62 minutes, Robson making a welcome return after illness to replace Beck.

Leiston knew time was running out for them and started to apply more pressure on the Bognor defence, but it was a defence which was standing firm.

Davies, the latest Pompey youngster to join the ranks, came on for Parsons while Leiston brought on Tom Winter for Danny Cunningham. A second Leiston change brought Stuart Boardley into the action in place of Billy Clark.

Christy Finch went into the book for a late tackle on Sami El-Abd and Leiston could count themselves lucky it was only their second yellow card of the evening.

Pearce replaced Rutherford with 11 minutes to go, the young goalscorer getting a good ovation from the majority of the 372 crowd.

Leiston’s Patrick Brothers was shown a straight red card on 82 minutes for a nasty foul on Whyte on the halfway line. The referee had no hesitation ordering him off.

Sub Pearce curled a shot towards goal but it went just wide with the keeper struggling.

Leiston sub Broadley was next into the notebook for catching Davies late.

And the Rocks completed a miserable night for the visitors in stoppage time by controlling the ball just outside the D and firing low into the corner with the keeper barely moving.

That rounded off a thoroughly-satisfying night’s work for Bognor, who remain fourth in the Ryman premier and right in the thick of the promotion race.

Next up it’s the big FA Trophy trip to Sutton on Saturday - and the Rocks can go into it in great spirits.

Rocks: Smith, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Field, Parsons, Beck, Prior, Rutherford, Nilsen.


Get all the reaction to this week’s wins and a look ahead to the FA Trophy last-16 game in the Bognor Observer - out Thursday morning

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