Rocks shine against Crawley but are undone by late goals
Crawley scored two late goals to win 2-1 at Bognor - but it was the Rocks who could look back on this pre-season friendly with more satisfaction after bossing long periods of a game they should not have lost.
Ollie Pearce's goal gave Bognor a half-time lead but Moussa Sanoh and Dennon Lewis scored in the final ten minutes to go home with the win - but they certainly left Nyewood Lane knowing they'd been in a game.This was Bognor's second tussle of the summer with a Football League side, having put up a good show in losing 2-0 to Pompey 11 days earlier.Crawley's build-up to the League Two season had included a defeat to newly-promoted Premier League side Brighton at the weekend.Bognor included Dan Lincoln in their side after the goalkeeper delighted the Nyewood Lane faithful signing on for the new season, while right-back Calvin Davies, who has been trying his luck with professional clubs, was also back in the Rocks defence.Pearce had two early chances - first lifting the ball over keeper Yusef Mersin but seeing it go just wide, then sidefooting over the bar as he met Jimmy Muitt's perfect low ball in from the right.Bognor had made the brightest start while Crawley were left to pass the ball around well without finding an end product. When they did get past the defence, a through-ball to Moussa Sanoh ended with his low shot being well smothered by Lincoln.The Rocks took the lead on 22 minutes when Pat Suraci played Pearce in on goal and he took it on, drew Mersin and calmly sidestepped him and slotted into an empty net.It might have been two when James Crane got away down the left and found Suraci with a pulled-back cross but the newly-signed midfielder miscued his shot.Certainly it was hard to tell who was the League Two side and who was preparing for life in the National League South.Another nice move involving Pearce and Jimmy Muitt almost opened up the Crawley defence as the Rocks remained on top.Thomas Verheydt's volley from a Reds cross was well wide on 35 minutes after a stray backpass needlessly gave away a corner. The same player got up for a header from a right-wing cross but directed it straight at Lincoln.Muitt surged forward and fired a low drive only just wide from 25 yards.Alex Parsons ought to have doubled the lead when he was put through on Mersin but he delayed his shot and was crowded out.HT 1-0Gary Charman and Tommy Scutt came on for the Rocks at the start of the second half in place of Corey Heath and Parsons.Muitt caused problems for the Reds defence a few minutes into the second half but his cross was charged down. Joe Lea replaced Dan Beck eight minutes into the second half.Lincoln was called into serious action on 57 minutes when Dean Cox found space for a fierce shot that the keeper turned over for a corner.At the other end sub Scutt sent in a low shot that Mersin had to tip away for a corner. A minute later Scutt how unafraid he is to shoot with another tester for Mersin that this time he held.It was end to end and Lincoln had to help a goalbound shot over the bar for a corner on 61 minutes.Bognor thought they should have had a penalty when Muitt was sent flying on the edge of the box but the officials gave a free-kick just outside, and Pearce curled it high and wide.Cox was getting frustrated with proceedings and earned himself a booking for a late challenge on Crane as Bognor tried to clear a Crawley attack.Pearce almost rounded Mersin for a second goal on 66 minutes and when the rebound fell to Scutt his effort was blocked by a defender.Tommy Block came on for Tuck and Luke Robinson replaced Crane with 23 minutes left.Muitt was having a great game up front for Bognor and hit the side netting on 74 minutes after picking up a loose ball when a Pearce break was halted.The procession of Rocks changes continued on 77 minutes when Kieron Rowe replaced Pearce. Suraci came off for another sub, Lloyd Rowlatt, on 80.Muitt looked certain to make it 2-0 when Robinson flew down the right unmarked and squared to him but a defender got a boot in the way.Sub keeper Lewis Boughton came on for Lincoln and within a minute Sanoh had worked himself some space 15 yards from goal and fired a low shot beyond his dive for the equaliser.Rowe had Bognor's best chance of a winner when he fired a shot goalwards from well outside the box.Lewis broke Bognor's hearts when he weaved his way into the area and curled a shot beyond Boughton's dive for a winner.
Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Heath, Suraci, Beck, Muitt, Pearce, Parsons. Subs: Charman, Block, Lea, Scutt, Rowlatt, Wild, Rowe, Robinson.Crawley: Mersin, Garnett, Yorwerth, Blackman, Arthur, Taybaksh, Clifford, Verheydt, Cox, Lewis, Sanoh. No subs..Ref: Jacob Miles.