Rocks up and running with a point at Haringey

Haringey Borough gave Bognor a cracking first game of the season as teams shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Harvey Sparks goes for goal on his Rocks debut / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Harvey Sparks goes for goal on his Rocks debut / Picture by Tommy McMillan

This was a positive display from a relatively young Bognor side and if they can continue playing in this manner then Rocks fans will have a lot to cheer about this season. A draw, though, was a fair result.

New left-back recruit Archie Edwards got a start at Coles Park while Corey Heath was on the bench as his return to full fitness continues. There were competitive Rocks debuts for Dan Smith and Harvey Sparks.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Michael O’Donoghue's early free-kick was headed out by Chad Field before Mark Kirby's cross found Karl Akinwande, who glanced his header towards goal - but Dan Lincoln pushed it away. Then Joel Nouble smashed one inches wide from just inside the box on four minutes.

Harvey Sparks goes for goal on his Rocks debut / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Jimmy Muitt won a corner but his cross was plucked from the air by Valery Pajetat, then a long ball saw Akinwande make his way into the area before scuffing a left-footed strike wide. Muitt was denied by Pajetat seconds later.

Ex-Rock Chinedu McKenzie smacked one low against the stanchion which came back out off Lincoln and into the net. The home fans thought it was a goal but a goal kick was given. Doug Tuck had a chance saved.

David Olufemi's ball into the box was blocked then Harvey Whyte's ball forward to Muitt saw him turn quickly before firing at goal. Pajetat was equal to it.

Akinwande struck another shot wide from an acute angle. Keaton Wood did well with a tackle that led to Muitt going on the attack before he and Calvin Davies combined to win a corner. But again the corner was gathered by the goalkeeper. Tuck's left-footed strike from outside the box was saved by the keeper.

Muitt, Edwards and Sparks combined well on the left before Davies hit one which was blocked.

Bognor were racking up the corners but on most occasions the ball was headed away or dealt with by the impressive Pajetat. At the end of the half a Borough cross was headed out to Georgios Aresti who took a touch before belting the ball well wide. HT 0-0

Bognor took the lead in a pefect start to the second half. Fantastic build-up play from Edwards led to him threading the ball to Tuck, who flicked the ball neatly to Sparksand he ran on the overlap before crossing low for Muitt. The forward took his time before slotting low into the bottom corner.

Muitt struck one agonisingly wide seconds later from the corner of the box but Haringey levelled on 50 minutes. Neat play down the right saw a low ball into the area find Nouble, who neatly flicked low beyond Lincoln.

Haringey went ahead on 57 minutes. Akinwande's strike from 25 yards flew into the net off the left post with Lincoln helpless. Bognor won a corner in response but Sparks smashed a cross high and wide. Sparks was causing problems and a pinpoint cross found Davies who headed into the net but he was offside.

Muitt's free-kick was headed away at the near post before Marley Ridge replaced Sparks on 68 minutes. A neat backheel from Davies to Ridge allowed the substitute to chip the ball in for Smith but his header was easily saved on 69 minutes.

Bognor were working hard and made it 2-2 on 71 minutes. A ball in from the left by Davies fell to Smith, who hit it back across goal before the ball flew high into the net with Whyte involved –but it was given as an own goal by Olufemi.

Lincoln rescued Bognor on 75 minutes when a cross from Olufemi was diverted towards goal with a header by Akinwande. The keeper kept Rocks level with a one-handed save and Scott Mitchell, on the rebound, headed over. Edwards was replaced by Tommy Scutt while Michael Ademiluyi came on for Borough to give them extra attacking threat.

The referee ignored penalty appeals when Akinwande passed Wood and went to ground. Field smashed the ball over after a Bognor corner fell to him on 84 minutes. Smith and Muitt combined on the left and set up Davies, who hit a curler from the edge of the box but Pajetat was equal to it.

Pajetat had to punch away a fierce Ridge cross from the right then quick feet saw Muitt win a free-kick on 89 minutes. Davies curled it round the wall and Pajetat pushed it superbly round the goal for a corner. Whyte smashed over after more superb passing intricate play from Bognor.

Rocks: Lincoln, Davies, Edwards (Scutt 82) Tuck, Field, Wood, Whyte, Block, Smith, Muitt, Sparks (Ridge 68). Subs not used: Heath, Carroll.