Bridgman scores winner on Bognor Regis Town debut to see off Hornchuch

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Alfie Bridgman 's 33rd minute belter of a goal got Bognor's season off to a great start against league title favourites Hornchurch.

Liam Nash spotted Toby Steward off his line early on. A long ball was flicked onto him and he diverted it over the goalkeeper and only just wide of the right post.

Ola Ogunwamide did well to tee up Sam Higgins just inside the box and Higgins hit a low cross in which was searching for Nash but he was put off by the Rocks defence, knocking it wide.

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Isaac Olaniyan and Nick Dembele combined well as Olaniyan's neat flick saw him win a corner but the ball was played short and Calvin Davies' chance broke down.

Alfie Bridgman celebrates what proved the winner | Picture: Trevor StaffAlfie Bridgman celebrates what proved the winner | Picture: Trevor Staff
Alfie Bridgman celebrates what proved the winner | Picture: Trevor Staff

Tom Chalaye was working hard and he won the ball back with a sliding challenge and achieved a throw in deep into the Urchins half. Bognor pressed high up the pitch as much as they could in the heat.

Steward gathered a through ball high in the air by the visitors and then Dembele strayed offside down the other end when he sped beyond the defence.

Chalaye on a corner on the right. Davis took it but it was easily headed away.

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Olaniyan was proving his battling skills as he set Rocks on the attack again and when Joe Rabbetts got a low cross in it was Olaniyan in the box but he was outstretched as he sought to shoot and the ball was cleared.

Ogunwamide was under pressure from Davies as he curled another chance wide of the left post from outside the box moments later.

Rabbetts did well to get it forward but his cross fell out on the other side to Jake Flannigan who did well to control it and pass it square inside the box, looking for Dembele but he was cut out by Joe Wright.

However, straight after this the ball went straight to Harvey Whyte who spotted Wright off his line and struck one from 25 yards. His chance was hit only just over the crossbar on 23 minutes before the drinks break.

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There was a handball appeal as a neat ball through from Chalaye saw Dembele make a run and goalkeeper Wright dived down over the top of the ball and looked to have bounced off his arm but the referee waved it away as he was out of his box on 27 minutes.

Davies lofted a corner straight onto the boot of Craig Robson who composed himself on the bounce before shooting at goal but his chance was cleared off the line by a defender.

Whyte pressured the ball, and won another right sided corner. Davies hit the cross in and it was headed out to Bridgman, who struck with some venom low and hard with his left foot and beyond the diving Wright on 33 minutes.

Davies committed a foul and Thomas Wraight hooked the ball back into the box from the freekick and it was headed high towards goal. Steward caught it but was clearly pushed into the net and the referee rightfully awarded a freekick with the goalkeeper and the ball ending up in the net

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Olaniyan used his trickery to play it to Chalaye. He got a shot away but it was deflected wide for a corner. The corner by Davies was searching for Robson again but he was forced out of possession in the air and then couldn't win it back.

Dembele battled hard to toe poke it through to Chalaye who picked out Bridgman in space before he cut inside to unleash another strike but Wright pushed it over the crossbar just before half time. HT 1-0

Ogunwamide was replaced by Lewwis Spence for the visitors af half time in the only change.

Remi Sutton went into the book for tripping Bridgman and then kicking the ball away on 48 minutes. Davies lofted the freekick straight out of touch from the indirect freekick position on the right.

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Robson hit a cross-field ball to Bridgman after Sutton failed to deal with it in the air. Bridgman squared it along the 6 yard box but it was just out of the reach of Dembele on the back post.

Two more yellow cards were dished out by the referee for Bognor's Flannigan and Wraight on 51 minutes for the challenge, kicking the ball away and complaining bein the reasons fo the cautions.

Bognor were trying to find some more opportunities with Bridgman, Flannigan and Whyte working hard down the right.

Sutton won a corner on the left off a sliding challenge from Flannigan. Wraight curled the ball in but Steward missed it and Olaniyan hooked it away to safety.

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Nash appeared to handle the it as he received a high ball, over the defence before he rounded Steward and rolled it wide of the post.

Steward flapped at a corner but was fouled in the process after saving it on the rebound. A freekick was awarded.

Both Nathan Odokonyero and Sam De St Croix came on for Olaniyan and Chalaye on 64 minutes for Bognor.

Davies went down in the box but the referee waved away any possibility of a penalty on 65 minutes as Bognor sped down the left.

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A swift corner from the Urchins saw Rickie Hayles head the ball agonisingly over the crossbar soon after. The visitors enjoyed a much improved second half at a sun drenched Nyewood Lane.

Steward tried to bowl the ball out but caught the back of Robson. But luckily for the young goalkeeper he gathered the eventual chance from Nash.

Nathan Bertram-Cooper and Tobi Joseph replaced Joe Christou and Higgins on 73 minutes.

Joseph was set through on goal soon after but bizarrely decided to pass across the box and Hornchurch therefore lost possession with Steward out of his goal.

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Good build up from Flannigan saw him pass to Odokonyero who cut inside the right before shooting wide of the left post.

Davies and then Jordan Clark were added to the book as tempers flared and frustrations grew for the players in the scorching heat.

Steward failed to gather a forward bouncing ball and was high tailing it back to his goal as Nash whipped it back in but Whyte was there to head it back out.

Ethan Robb replaced the tired Dembele after the striker put in another impressive shift.

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Bertram-Cooper knocked the ball onto Nash but his low shot was denied by a good save fom Steward down to his right.

Stewad had to track back as he was out of his goal again. He latched onto a long distance and high hanging chance from almost the halfway line from Spence after getting back into position just in time.

A nervy final 3 minutes of stoppage time came and went with Bognor controlling possession at the end to start off the season with an impressive win. They travel to Cray Wanderers next on Wednesday (7:45pm) at Bromley's ground.

Rocks: Steward, Flannigan, Rabbetts, Davies, Bragg, Robson, Whyte (c), Olaniyan (De St Croix 64), Chalaye (Odokonyero 64), Dembele (Robb 87), Bridgman. Subs not Used: McCormick, Bell

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