Lewes inflict Bognor's second Sussex derby defeat inside a week
Charlie Bell was sent off as Bognor slipped to their second Sussex derby defeat of the festive season, going down 2-0 at Lewes.
Midfielder Beill saw red for his second bookable offence as Bognor crashed at the Dripping Pan. Two standout chances were all the many Bognor travelling supporters had to cheer throughout the match in a disappointing performance. The result sees Lewes soar to third while Bognor remain 12th.
Jake Flannigan and Calvin Davies were missing with ankle and hamstring injuries. A shuffle in the starting line-up saw Nathan Odokonyero return from illness and James Crane back after a neck strain. Ashton Leigh was replaced by Harrison Brook to switch up the attack as things kicked off against fifth-placed Lewes.
The Rooks' Razz Coleman De-Graft was set through early on but his cut-back to Taylor Maloney saw him divert his first time strike over the bar. Then De-Graft completely miscued the ball after good work on the left. He swiped at it and missed the ball completely. Brook responded by belting a cross out of play on the right at the other end.
Bognor sprang on the attack with Dan Gifford teeing up Jordy Mongoy. But he was blocked. The danger man for Lewes, 18-goal Joe Taylor, turned neatly before chipping the ball quickly over the defence but Amadou Tangara in the Bognor goal got there first to gather it. A long ball forward by Mitchell Nelson saw Taylor control it well before passing it onto Maloney who ran around Tangara but stroked it along the deck and wide of the post before it was cleared again.
Iffy Allen was twisting and turning before firing his attempt over the crossbar from just inside the area. Ethan Robb's long drifting free-kick picked out Craig Robson who knocked a header towards goal but it was saved by Lewis Carey at his near post.
Bognor looked a little nervy at the back and a short pass out was feeble and latched on to on the edge of the box by Maloney who ran on before squaring it to De-Graft, who turned instantly before smashing it narrowly over the crossbar. Robb got Bognor into a rare attack. He found Brook on the right. He cut inside on his left foot and crossed it towards the back post where Robb was waiting. But he looped his header high over the crossbar on 33 minutes.
Will Salmon nodded over narrowly for the hosts straight from Maloney's corner. Bognor were struggling to gain possession and were grateful for a drinks break. Tangara gave his gloves to a young fan behind the goal as he needed to replace them.
Bell slid in on Juevan Spencer but despite getting the ball he was shown a yellow card and a free-kick was awarded on 42 minutes. Then Bell won the ball back for Bognor. Mongoy did well to turn his man and find Odonkonyero who did well and curled an attempt at goal. A fingertip save from Carey denied him, pushing it around the frame of goal. Bell hit another chance off a player on the volley and then Odokonyero knocked one wide.
Bognor ended a disappointing first half when they went behind just before half-time. De-Graft beat the Rocks defence before cutting inside on his left foot and letting fly with a curling strike from outside the box. Tangara could only watch it curl inside the top corner of the net on 45 minutes. HT 1-0
Leigh replaced Crane at half-time for Bognor as great improvement was required for the second half. Mongoy won possession in the midfield to push the ball forward towards Gifford but he was closed down. Maloney floated a corner into the box. Salmon diverted it low at goal and Tangara and the Bognor defence somehow kept it out.
Michael Klass headed over another Maloney corner before De-Graft smashed another chance at goal. Tangara was equal to it, pushing it back out. The ball fell to Maloney who completely sliced his effort with his first touch and wide of the goal.
Bognor were trying to create chances. Leigh found Joe Dandy on the right but his bouncing cross flew wide of the near post. Bell's sliding challenge on De-Graft was penalised and the referee sent the midfielder off for his second bookable offence. From just outside the box Maloney curled his free-kick high over the goal.
Kayne Diedrick-Roberts replaced Brook on 66 minutes. Allen beat Joe Cook on the left and his cross inside was poked towards goal by Robson but Tangara stopped it.
Bognor won the ball back just outside their own box before Mongoy set Bognor on the attack. He found Odokonyero ahead of him before he squared the ball back inside. Diedrick-Roberts took one or two steps before firing a long range effort which cannoned off the crossbar and out on 70 minutes.
Substitute Freddie Parker was involved shortly after coming on. He had a go from 25 yards but it was directed high and wide. Gifford was fouled by Nelson and he went in the book on 82 minutes. But Bognor failed to capitalise with the free-kick as Lewes won back possession easily.
Dandy was deemed to have brought down Taylor on the turn in a soft penalty decision. Taylor made no mistake in slotting the ball along the deck from the spot, sending Tangara the wrong way on 90 minutes.
There's no rest for Bognor as they face Merstham at Nyewood Lane on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm).
Rocks: Tangara, Dandy, Crane (Leigh 45), Robb, Cook, Robson, Brook (Diedrick-Roberts 66), Bell, Odokonyero, Gifford, Mongoy. Subs not used: Howick, Wyatt.