Hampton's visit has a cruel end for battling Bognor - report and video interview
The Rocks' search for an elusive league win goes on after they were pipped in the last ten minutes by in-form Hampton and Richmond Boroughin a hard-fought encounter at Nyewood Lane.
Many would have expected a routine win for Hampton with their five wins in a row in all competitions, but the Rocks, now in the bottom three in National League South, were determined to get something out of the game.
And the Rocks were unlucky to leave without a point after taking the lead in a good display but a costly mistake at the back and a dubious penalty decision separated the sides.
The home side undoubtedly started out the stronger with plenty of attacking runs down the wings with Ollie Pearce coming close with a blocked effort in the only third minute. However it didn't take long for the Rocks to take advantage of their great play when Ibra Sekajja nodded in a superb cross from Ben Swallow to make it 1-0 for the hosts in the 13th minute.
The Rocks fared well after getting the lead, holding out against a number of Hampton chances with Dan Lincoln pulling off a fine save on the 25-minute mark. They had a great chance to double the lead when Pearce cut the ball back to Sekajja in the box but he struck the ball wide.
With an interval lead beckoning for the Rocks a disastrous back pass by on-loan full-back Archie Edwards set up Bradley Hudson-Odoi, who slotted the ball past Lincoln to make the scores level five minutes before half time.
After such a cruel blow before half-time against the run of play the Rocks made a positive start to the second half with plenty of forward runs. After a spell of few chances for either side, the unmarked Chad Field headed over from a corner. Field was involved again but in his own half, putting in a great block to keep the scores level.
With few clean-cut chances from either side the match entered the final ten minutes well-poised - but there was controversry when the referee pointed to the penalty spot in the 82nd minute for a trip to give Hampton a chance to snatch the lead.
Max Kretschmar stepped up to slot the penalty past Lincoln and give Hampton the lead for the first time - leaving Bognor fans wondering what they had to do to grind out a win or even a draw in this unforgiving league.
If that wasn’t painful enough for the Rocks, Sekajja had a golden chance soon after to bring the scores back level - but he fired his shot over the bar from close range. The equaliser never came and the Rocks will be disheartened to leave without a point after one of their strongest team performances this season.
First-team coach Darin Killpartrick mirrored the team's frustration and hopes the Rocks can convert good performances into wins. He said: “I thought it was a excellent performance by the team. Football is a cruel game - if you look at the chances, it was quite tight but they capitalised on two gifted goals from us in my opinion.
“They're top of the form guide and we're bottom of the form guide and if you’d come in and watched today you have never have known the difference.”
Killpartrick was full of praise for Sekajja’s goal but believes changes in the team’s approach is needed. He said: “I would have paid the Â£12 admission fee to see that goal, it was outstanding. But we need to tighten up on game intelligence and we need to tighten up on how to win a game of football at this level.”
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Edwards, Tuck, El-Abd, Field, Sekajji, Block, Whyte, Pearce, Swallow. Sub: Beck, Muitt, Tighe, Lea, Brown.
Get all the latest from the Rocks camp in the Observer - out on Thursday