Rocks recover to record fine win at Folkestone
Bognor showed great character to bounce back from a goal down at the break to win 2-1 at Folkestone Invicta.
Ollie Pearce and James Fraser struck in the second half to inflict only the Kent side’s second home league defeat of the campaign.
It kept the Rocks second in the table - a point behind Needham Market, who have played two games more than the Rocks, and two points in front of third-placed Havant, who have played a game less and who visit Nyewood Lane on Boxing Day.
Ed Sanders lofted an early free-kick in towards the box but it was headed away and Jordan Wright cleared the danger.
Ashley Miller almost got through on goal but Dan Lincoln came out of his goal to head it out.
Miller got a booking on six minutes after appearing to dispute something just inside Folkestone’s half. Then a free-kick by Pearce was well gathered by Tim Roberts.
Harvey Whyte appeared to trip Sam Hasler and the hosts were awarded a free-kick on 11 minutes. Ronnie Dolan struck it straight into the defensive wall.
Fraser combined with James Crane, who found Pearce with a pass. Pearce cut inside from the left before letting fly with a shot which whizzed well over the bar.
A corner on the left by Dolan was miscued by Joe Taylor but on the follow-up Hasler struck a shot straight at Lincoln.
Whyte won a free-kick on the right after a handball. Pearce’s kick was headed away by the nearest defender.
Hasler smacked another effort well over the crossbar on 20 minutes from around 25 yards ou but Taylor netted the opener on 22 minutes. Following a Bognor throw-in by Whyte, the ball was won in the air and then put forward to the striker in space inside the box. His shot bounced off a sliding Rocks defender before flying over Lincoln and into the net.
Fraser found Whyte on the right and he crossed for Parsons in the area. His glancing header was straight at the goalkeeper.
A Pearce corner on 28 minutes found Sami El-Abd, whose header was struck off the line at the near post by Sam Beale.
Bognor were being quite wasteful in the first half and the Seasiders were moving the ball with vigour.
Invicta had the ball in the net again on 32 minutes but Taylor was clearly offside following a through-ball.
Miller totally missed another attempt before Hasler combined with Beale on the left and crossed - but El-Abd cleared it off for a corner.
Darren Budd received a booking for appearing to argue with a decision 38 minutes.
Whyte won the ball in the middle of the park before finding Parsons with a chipped pass. Parsons whipped a dipping cross into the box but it was well stopped by Roberts.
Beale went to ground under a challenge by Whyte. The full-back received a booking.
Hasler smashed another shot against the post on 42 minutes.
Bognor made a change at half-time, bringing on fit-again Jimmy Muitt ,with El-Abd not returning to the field having trudged off at half-time with a slight limp.
Pearce’s low cross from the left was diverted only just past the right post by Muitt on 48 minutes.
Muitt’s cross bounced up in the air and Roberts had to punch it away before Fraser’s volley was cleared.
Bognor drew level through Pearce on 53 minutes. A fast-flowing move down the right saw Parsons cross from the byline along the deck to Pearce, who slotted it low into the bottom left corner.
Muitt’s attempt was swiftly closed down before Crane was caught offside in a good attacking spell for Bognor on 55 minutes.
Sanders conceded a free-kick and a whipped cross had to be cleared.
Miller’s run stretched Wild, playing in central defence in the second half. But his shot on the turn swerved wide.
Hasler hit another one over the bar via Whyte’s headed deflection. Then Wild was called into defensive action again as he cleared following another cross.
Pearce’s left footed cross was gathered by the goalkeeper again as Bognor continued to move forward.
Budd set up Parsons on the right but his cross was well stopped.
On 73 minutes Whyte was chopped down by the right corner flag. Hasler got a straight red card.
Crane’s left-sided cross flew up to Fraser, who hit it first time but saw it deflected off for a corner.
Pearce curled a wonderful ball into Crane, whose glancing header bounced up off the goalkeeper and on to the bar and out again on 80 minutes - a real chance to take the lead.
Wright was replaced by Nat Blanks on 81 minutes for the hosts.
On 84 minutes Parsons cut the ball inside to Doug Tuck but he powered his shot well wide with his left boot. Another good move down the right ended with Parsons’ cross being stopped by the goalkeeper.
But Bognor finally took the lead on 86 minutes. Parsons found Fraser in space and his determined run ended in a fine finish low into the bottom corner – and he celebrated in style.
Budd was replaced by Chad Field on 88 minutes before Callum Davies blasted another cross harmlessly over the bar for the hosts moments later.
Beale was replaced by Euan Sahadow on 90 minutes.
Davies whipped the ball in and found Miller – and his header forced a fingertis save from Lincoln.
Bognor held on to win after five minutes of stoppage time.
Concentration now turns to the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup in which Bognor take on Horsham at home this Tuesday (7.45pm).
Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, El Abd (Muitt HT), Sanders, Fraser, Budd (Field 88), Wild, Pearce, Parsons. Unused sub: Robinson.
Report by Liam Goodley
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