Darts hit the bullseye to beat Bognor
Despite a spirited display, a hard-working Bognor side fell to another away league defeat - with a penalty for the Darts changing the game in the early stages of the second half.
Bognor arrived at Princes Park with a number of injuries hampering the squad. Doug Tuck, Sami El-Abd and James Crane all were missing.
Ollie Pearce won an early free-kick and took it himself but his shot spun well over the bar. A long throw into the box by Richard Sho-Silva had to be punched out by Dan Lincoln. Then the corner by Tom Murphy was nodded towards goal by Alfie Pavey but Lincoln was equal to it.
Pavey netted the opening goal after just seven minutes when a cut-back pass by Ryan Hayes into the box saw the striker shoot low into the bottom corner. Soon, Calvin Davies found Jimmy Muitt down the right and he impressed with his speed before cutting inside and hitting a deflected shot straight at Jordan Carey.
Ben Swallow's cross fell to Dan Beck who poked it back to an onrushing Davies and he hit it first time and forced a decent save from the goalkeeper on 14 minutes. After some build-up down the right, Hayes sent his cross on to the top of the net as Lincoln watched it fly over.
Kristian Campbell brought the scores level with a fine solo run down the left. He cut inside, beating his man, before smashing it low and the efforts of Lee Noble on the line couldn't stop it from going in on 17 minutes. Tommy Block was on the line to deny Andy Pugh a goal from deep inside the box on 26 minutes.
Harvey Whyte's forward pass to Muitt saw the striker win a free-kick on 29 minutes. Pearce curled the ball over the wall and narrowly over the bar. Hayes' inswinging free-kick curled wide of the post on 31 minutes.
Pavey set up Hayes, who smashed an effort off Heath with the goal at his mercy. From the resulting corner Pavey hit the side netting with his header. Lincoln gathered a hanging bouncing ball before Pavey got there - and the referee showed the striker a yellow card as Lincoln went to ground.
A curled cross from Swallow on the right picked out Muitt but he couldn't stop the ball rolling out of play.
Hayes pummelled the ball in at an awkward height but Chad Field headed out as the Darts began the second half well. Dartford were awarded a penalty as a Swallow high foot was harshly punished in the box. Elliot Bradbrook stepped up and powered the spot-kick home with his left foot on 52 minutes.
Swallow's cross was punched clear and Field headed another cross over the bar on 56 minutes. Swallow bounced another cross in from the left but it was snuffed out by Carey on 61 minutes. Keaton Wood was ambitious with an effort on 62 minutes and skied a chance over the bar.
The Darts found the net again on 65 minutes when Pugh rose highest at the back post to nod in from a Hayes cross. At the other end Pearce was denied after he cut inside before shooting at goal, only to be blocked by a Darts defender on 67 minutes. Carey gathered a Pearce right-sided corner moments later as Bognor tried to get back into the game.
Campbell did well to stop Hayes in his tracks before Pearce won a corner for Bognor on the counter. On 73 minutes Jimmy Wild replaced Swallow. Then a Pearce corner was well caught by Carey who was having a good afternoon.
Pavey was replaced by Duane Ofori-Acheampong on 75 minutes.Lyle Della-Verde replaced Hayes on 77 minutes as well whilst Pat Suraci replaced Pearce on 79 minutes for Bognor.
Lincoln dived to his right to deny Della-Verde from outside the box, conceding a corner. Lincoln had to stop another effort blasted directly at goal from inside the area and then beat Sho-Silva in the air to punch it clear. A Della-Verda curling free-kick brought out yet another fine save from Lincoln, who dived to his left to push it away on 84 minutes. Danny Harris replaced Sho-Silva on 85 minutes in the final change for the hosts.
Davies won the ball back to pass out wide to Wild, but his left-footed cross swung too far for Beck to capitalise on 86 minutes. Campbell was clearly tugged and a Darts player was booked. Bradbrook saw another chance bounce wide of the post soon after. Wild was brought down by Bradbrook, who also went into the book inside stoppage time.
Beck passed to Whyte and he did well to find Muitt but with only Carey to beat, the goalkeeper came out on top, beating the ball away with his leg.
It was game over and now Bognor's focus returns to the FA Cup and a fourth qualifying round tie away to Oxford City next Saturday (3pm). Bognor fans will be out in force hoping to continue their FA Cup journey.
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Campbell, Block, Heath, Field, Muitt, Beck (c), Whyte, Pearce (Suraci 79), Swallow (Wild 73). Subs not Used: Lea, Scutt.