VIDEO: Green shows his colours to stop Bognor being Buried
Stuart Green came to the Rocks’ rescue with a late equaliser to salvage a point against bottom side Bury Town in a largely-forgettable encounter at a chilly Nyewood Lane.
Jamie Howell’s side fell behind with just 12 minutes to go and looked certain to end empty-handed when the Suffolk side won a penalty four minutes later.
But the spot-kick was blasted over the bar and then Green produced a fine finish at the end of a run into the box - and by the time the final whistle came, it was Bury who were hanging on.
The draw keeps the Rocks’ unbeaten home run going - it now stretches back more than three months - and leaves them ninth in the table.
The Rocks included two players who had signed the previous day on loan - striker Jason Prior, now on loan at Nyewood Lane from Margate until the end of the season, and Hawks defender Ryan Woodford, who slotted into the centre of defence.
Bury arrived on the south coast five points adrift at the bottom of the Ryman premier.
The Rocks took less than three minutes to have their first shot on goal, Doug Tuck’s lob from 15 yards taking a deflection on its way to being held by keeper Alex Archer.
Ollie Pearce got away down the left on eight minutes and crossed towards Prior, but a defender headed clear.
A Rocks corner caused problems for the visiting defence, and then they could only watch as Tuck curled a lovely 20-yard effort which came back off the bar via a faint touch from Archer.
Bury were having plenty of the early play, forcing a couple of corners and one or two throws in dangerous positions, and looked better than their league position suggested.
A high hanging cross by Woodford from the left touchline found Prior but he was stretching and he could only head it wide.
Bury’s big No9 Joe Benjamin was causing headaches for the home defence with his powerful runs at them and, in some cases, past them.
James Crane’s high cross from the left tested Archer, who caught it just beneath his bar. Then Bury went straight to the other end and a goalbound shot was deflected for a corner by Woodford’s brave block.
Bognor were forcing plenty of corners but weren’t really testing Archer as much as they’d have liked.
One nice move down the right appeared to have put Green in, but he was flagged offside.
Compared to recent home games, which have been full of attacking play by the Rocks, the quality on show was poor, with neither side capable of anything too fluent.
Green miscued an attempted headed clearance from a Bury corner and it wasn’t far away from dipping into his own net on 39 minutes.
Bury missed the game’s best chance on 41 minutes. Jordan Patrick beat Harvey Whyte down the visitors’ left and surged into the box. Instead of shooting he cut it back for John Sands, who shot across the goal and just wide.
The Rocks wasted a good chance of their own a minute later. Crane’s floated cross to the far post was perfect for Prior but he nodded it the wrong side of the post.
New boy Woodford was booked for a foul on Sands.
Bury had the first sight of goal after the break but Sands failed to make contact with Benjamin’s teasing ball across the goalmouth.
At the other end Prior’s towering header from a corner dropped just the wrong side of the base of the post.
Soon Pearce’s cross was cleared only as far as Jake Thomson 20 yards but his ambitious attempt at a half-volley flew wildly over.
Bognor were doing most of the attacking and Green almost panicked Town into gifting him a chance from their own goal kick.
Sackman sent a free header from a right-sided corner over the bar on 55 minutes.
Thomson was seeing plenty of the ball in dangerous areas and one high ball into the box almost fell for Prior.
On the hour, Thomson needed treatment after a heavy challenge as he tried to lead an attack down the Rocks left.
Benjamin played Remi Garrett in for a chance for Bury but Chris Winterton gathered his rather weak attempt.
Chris Benjamin replaced Joe Benjamin for Bury, while Craig Robson came on for his first Rocks appearance of 2015, with Thomson making way.
Robson’s first involvement ended with him shooting from 25 yards - it drifted wide but only after almost falling for Green to divert in.
Tuck woke up the Bury keeper with a fierce 20-yard drive on 72 minutes that Archer had to parry.
Garrett streaked away down the right but fired his shot straight at Winterton.
As the game entered its final 15 minutes Bury were looking dangerous - sub Benjamin flashing a header across the face of goal.
Charlie Oatway replaced Tuck with 14 minutes left.
Bury stunned the home crowd by taking a 78th-minute lead. A bit of desperate Rocks defending saw them concede a corner and it was headed in from close range by Justin Miller.
A final change for Bognor on 81 minutes saw Omarr Lawson come on for Sackman.
Bury could have wrapped it up on 82 minutes when Benjamin was fouled in the box but Garrett sidefooted the penalty over the bar.
That miss lifted the crowd from their slumber and three minutes later Green levelled things up with a fine low shot across Archer and into the corner of the net after being played in down the left by Crane.
The Rocks were prevented from getting the ball back by the visiting keeper and after a few handbags, Pearce was booked for his part in the altercation.
home fans wondered why the keeper wasn’t also yellow-carded.
Patrick was booked for Bury as tempers became rather frayed after all the late drama.
Bognor weren’t finished and Prior and then Parsons fired in shots - the second of which brought a superb tip over from Archer. From the corner, Prior almost squeezed a header over the line.
In stoppage time a Parsons cross could have gone anywhere but flew behind for a goal-kick after being met by a Rocks head and the hosts had to settle for a point that, at one down, they’d have been happy to accept.
Rocks: Winterton, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, Sackman, Woodford, Green, Thomson, Prior, Pearce, Parsons. Subs: Robson, Oatway, Lawson.
Bury T: Archer, Allen, Dunbar, Kennedy, Miller, Weavers, Garrett, Paterson, J Benjamin, Sands, Patrick. Subs: Bennett, C Benjamin, Bailey, Wales.
Ref: Jacob Miles (Peacehaven)
The next game for the Rocks sees them visit VCD next Saturday.
Get the Bognor Observer on Thursday for all the latest from Nyewood Lane