Bognor saved by the Bell at East Thurrock

Bognor come back from two goals behind at East Thurrock thanks to a double by new midfielder Charlie Bell.

Bognor celebrate after Charlie Bell gets them back in the game at East Thurrock / Picture: Lyn Phillips
Bognor celebrate after Charlie Bell gets them back in the game at East Thurrock / Picture: Lyn Phillips

It makes it two draws from two for the Rocks after their opening-day 0-0 at home to Bishop's Stortford last week.

Bognor lined up against East Thurrock United without suspended Craig Robson - sent off against Stortford - and Ashton Leigh. Joe Dandy and Phil Brown stepped into the starting XI.

Jake Flannigan's early cross was kicked back out to Gavin McCallum who tried to tee up Flannigan on the overlap but the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

Alex Hernandez latched onto a loose back pass by Flannigan which saw him square it to Ben Wyss who hit it at goal. The corner led to the first goal. A shot by Tobi Joseph was pushed out by Amadou Tangara but the rebound saw Joe Cook's deflection bounce into the net with a East Thurrock player guiding it into an unguarded net on six minutes.

Brown ran through combining with Jordy Mongoy but slipped at the last moment and then Gavin McCallum's strike after cutting inside from the right was always rising over the bar.

Nana Adarkwa slid in at the near post with pressure from Joe Cook and pulled up with an apparent calf problem and after lengthy treatment he had to be replaced by Johnny Ashman. Flannigan turned his marker and was fouled by Wyss. He was shown a yellow card. The curling freekick was taken by McCallum which was knocked out straight to Mongoy but his instant strike along the deck was blocked.

Tangara did well to chip the ball out wide to Calvin Davies who knocked it on with his head to Mongoy, who ran on and beat his marker before unfortunately running out of pitch. Nathan Odokonyero had Bognor's first chance on goal when he struck one with his right foot but it was saved by Arthur Janata.

Wyss spun his freekick into the box and Jasper Laurence couldn't get enough on his flicked header to trouble Tangara. Mongoy whipped a cross in towards Odokonyero and Janata spilled it but the young striker couldn't quite follow it up with the ball bouncing dangerously in the box.

Bell's corner was looking for Cook but the goalkeeper got there first. Odokonyero got Bognor on the counter attack again setting up Mongoy on the run with a flick on. But his ball back inside to Odokenyero saw the young striker blocked from his attempt.

Davies did well to get a shot away and won a corner in a game where Bognor grew into the game. McCallum's cross was pushed out again by Janata.

Mongoy, McCallum and Odokonyero were really creating problems for East Thurrock as the first half continued.

But despite this Bognor went further behind on 37 minutes. Mistakes at the back led to Wyss cutting across the defence before shooting and the bounce beat Tangara, who couldn't keep it out, to extend the hosts' lead.

Brown played a sloppy back pass allowing Hernandez to chip the ball over Tangara but agonisingly wide of the goal. Then Mongoy spun another header over the bar in response. Another back pass almost allowed Wyss in on goal but for last ditch tackle by Cook.

Bell got a goal back for Bognor just before the break. McCallum and Flannigan both had shots denied by Janata but the goalkeeper spilled the second chance out to Bell who stubbed it low and in from close range deep inside stoppage time. HT 2-1

Cook slipped on the halfway line trying to commit into a block but Hernandez's ball across failed due to no supporting players up with him. Davies did well to play forward to Brown who knocked it on to Mongoy who ran through before running inside and placing it into the net. But the linesman had his flag up for offside so it didn't count.

Mongoy was fouled winning a free-kick. Bell's cross found Cook but he headed it well over. Flannigan's corner was spun into the area but the heads in the crowded area saw it spin up kindly for Janata to gather in the air.

Mongoy did well to tee up Odokonyero who ran inside off the left. And he forced a decent parried save from Janata down to his left, pushing the ball just out of the reach of Bognor players on the follow up. Mongoy did try to cross the ball into the near post but it was gathered by Janata.

McCallum's corner was searching for Cook but it was headed out by the defence. Kayne Diedrick-Roberts replaced Odokonyero on 62 minutes.

McCallum won a corner for Bognor. It was played short and this paid off eventually as Bell stepped up to curl it high into the top right corner on 64 minutes for 2-2.

Mongoy played the ball from the left inside to Davies who smashed it first time agonisingly wide. Ashman responded with strike from the corner of the box down the other end which clanged off the right post. Flannigan did well to cross it in on the break but it was hit just behind Diedrick-Roberts as it flew through the area. Cook struck from almost the halfway line, spotting the goalkeeper off his line but it bounced wide.

Bognor lost possession cheaply in their own half allowing Hernandez to get a shot away from outside the box but it bounced wide. Ben Mendoza replaced the tiring McCallum soon after on 75 minutes.

Janata was quick off his line to kick another through ball down the middle. Before Bell's corner ball was chipped into the area but again headed out.

Mendoza was fouled by Sam Owusu getting and was shown a yellow card for his trouble. The short freekick was poor though and East Thurrock managed to easily clear. Flannigan did well to burst through the East Thurrock defence and he passed it onto Bell but he was denied his attempt for a hat-trick as time ticked by.

A short throw in saw Flannigan pass along the deck to Bell whose deflected shot bounced wide. Flannigan did well to get another shot away forcing Janata into a save pushing the ball away. Janata had to receive treatment after appearing to hurt his arm. Bognor were piling on pressure as the game neared its end.

Paulius Ditkevicius sprang on the counter attack for the hosts before firing it over the bar. Diedrick-Roberts hit a corner into the area and it clipped the top of the crossbar and out of play as Bognor just couldn't find the third goal. Bognor will be disappointed by their first half performance but otherwise happier with their second half display where they attacked with venom and creating chances. Rocks take on Haringey Borough next at Nyewood Lane on Saturday.

Rocks: Tangara, Flannigan, Davies, Robb, Cook, Dandy, McCallum (Mendoza 75), Bell, Odokonyero (Diedrick-Roberts 62), Brown (Whyte 65), Mongoy. Subs not used: Hancott, Crane.