Smith strikes late as Bognor topple leaders Folkestone

James Crane (No2) leaps to head Bognor into the lead / Picture by Tommy McMillan
James Crane (No2) leaps to head Bognor into the lead / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor toppled the league leaders with a 2-1 victory as a powerful first half header by James Crane and a fine 88th minute strike by Dan Smith sealed three precious points for the Rocks on the road.

New keeper Amadou Tangara - the fifth the Rocks have used this season - lined up as they stepped out at the BuildKent Stadium to take on an in-form Folkestone Invicta.

Joe Dandy returned after a lengthy injury with new Pompey loanee Josh Flint making an appearance on the bench alongside a returning Charlie Williamson, returning from time with Baffin’s Milton Rovers.

The Rocks needed to get last week's 4-0 home defeat to Potters Bar out of their system - and did just that.

A throw-in almost fell for Jimmy Muitt but he couldn’t get to the ball inside a cagey first five minutes. Keaton Wood played a misplaced pass back and Tangara couldn't stop it from going out for a corner. Brad Lethbridge picked up a pass from Doug Tuck before crossing low but it was cleared away.

Tommy Leigh's free-kick was played to the back post but Lethbridge couldn’t stop it from going out of touch. Scott Heard was causing the Rocks some trouble with his pace. His cross was cleared. Dandy made good progress down the right but his cross flew the wrong side of the goal.

James Crane celebrates the opener / Picture by Tommy McMillan

James Crane celebrates the opener / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Tangara pushed out a cross from the left in a first taste of genuine action for the new stopper. Heard’s low cross was stopped by Tangara on 18 minutes. A cross by Ira Jackson was bound for Kieran McCann on 19 minutes but it flashed across the goal.

Lethbridge drove the ball to the back post where Smith was waiting but his header bounced into the ground and keeper Henry Newcombe palmed it out. Heard pounced to shoot low, forcing Tangara into a save. A ball in behind the defence saw Jackson almost through but under pressure his opportunity rolled directly to Tangara.

Crane,Tuck and Lethbridge combined but Crane was denied by the keeper. Jerson Dos Santos sprung on the counter attack after a pass by Heard but he smashed it off a defender before it bounced up on to the crossbar and the rebound was McCann flew over.

Jimmy Muitt's volley from a Smith cross was knocked down by Lethbridge. But on 40 minutes Muitt’s right-sided corner picked out an unmarked Crane, who headed it powerfully high into the net to give Rocks the lead. HT 0-1

Dan Smith celebrates his winner with teammates and fans / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Dan Smith celebrates his winner with teammates and fans / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Straight from kick-off it was Invicta who started brightly. Jackson got on the scoresheet on 47 minutes as he strolled across the defence before firing a shot low and into the bottom corner to equalise.

Lethbridge cut inside the area before letting fly with a fierce strike, committing Newcombe into a fine save, pushing it away on 51 minutes. Tangara cut out Jackson’s right-sided cross on 55 minutes as Invicta's tails were up following their goal. Dos Santos was put off the last moment as his chance rolled wide of the post under good pressure from Joe Cook.

Lethbridge won a corner on the right side with a deflected strike on 59 minutes, but Muitt's driven cross was well saved. Muitt went in hard in the tackle but looked to have won the ball, but the referee gave a free-kick in a decent position for the hosts. Jackson curled his direct free=kick wide of the post on 61 minutes.

Muitt combined with Whyte before winning a free-kick just outside the box but Lethbridge’s shot was driven straight into the defensive wall. A swift move led to Tuck finding Lethbridge, who did all the hard work before running in and shooting low but a good save from Newcombe was followed by him gathering the high rebound.

Dan Smith connects for what proved the Bognor winner / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Dan Smith connects for what proved the Bognor winner / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Cook got in the way of a McCann strike before Bognor brokw as Muitt put the ball along the deck for Smith, who cut inside before firing in an effort that Newcombe diverted. Heard got across the defence before firing one off Dandy.

Lethbridge ended a sweeping move to find Smith, who passed it to Muitt. He slammed it first time towards goal, but Newcombe was there to save it on 73 minutes.

Tangara punched another McCann strike out before Heard went close, and then McCann again was denied by a brave Harvey Whyte block. Johan Ter Horst got into the area as Jackson made it to the byline but was blocked with his cross on 79 minutes before Whyte hacked it clear.

Crane and Lethbridge were working well on the left before Lethbridge tried to find Smith with a high hanging cross and Newcombe only just got there ahead of Smith.

Callum Davies worked his way forward from defence before shooting tamely at Tangara. Wood went into the book for a tackle where he caught the player.

Bognor kept pushing forward on the break - and nabbed the win. Tuck chipped the ball to Smith, who controlled it well before turning and smashing it low inside the post on 88 minutes. Bognor should have gone 3-1 up moments later as Muitt stole the ball in Folkestone's half before finding Smith. He fed it to the back post but it was too much for Tuck and bounced wide.

The final whistle went after more than five minutes of stoppage time to signal the end of a good team performance from the Green Army and one they will look to build on as they travel to play Kingstonian on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Rocks: Tangara, Dandy (A Leigh 87), Crane, Tuck, Cook, Wood, Whyte (c), T Leigh, Smith, Muitt, Lethbridge (Flint 85). Subs not used: Hensel, Wakley, Williamson.

Attendance - 538

...