Back to the drawing board? Reflections on Bognor's 3-0 loss to fierce rivals Worthing

Keaton Wood and Ben Clark-Eden were worked hard in the Bognor defence / Picture by Steve Goodger
Keaton Wood and Ben Clark-Eden were worked hard in the Bognor defence / Picture by Steve Goodger

It's been an up-and-down start to the season for the Rocks. Taking only one point from the first two games was quickly forgotten as Wingate and Finchley were put to the sword 5-0 on their own patch.

But game number four brought a huge setback to hopes that this was an emerging Bognor side who could go on to mount a serious promotion bid - a 3-0 defeat at home of deadly rivals Worthing.

The Rebels had been losing 6-0 at home to Hornchurch on the day Bognor won so well at Wingate, yet you knew exactly where Jack Pearce and Robbie Blake were coming from in warning that those results meant nothing ahead of the game some call El Classicoast.

In fact Bognor's first half performance at Worthing was not at all bad - they had golden chances to go ahead before falling behind. But the way Bognor sank in the second half, ending up well beaten, will alarm fans.

Liam Goodley takes us through how the match unfolded...

Bognor crashed to a 3-0 defeat to rivals Worthing, with two of the goals from ex-Rock Ollie Pearce on a day to forget in a hurry for all in white and green.

This highly anticipated derby went ahead without Mackerels skipper Darren Budd after a fracture to his right leg in the previous game. A late Rocks change saw Joe Dandy replaced by James Crane as the defender was injured in the warm-up - another in a long line of defensive injuries suffered over the past couple of seasons by Pearce's squad.

Early on Jimmy Muitt chipped a ball down the right flank and Dan Smith fired it across the area but it flew wide, out of the reach of his fellow Bognor players. Muitt cut across his defender before shooting low with his left foot bringing a save from Roco Rees. Tyrell Mitford and Harvey Whyte found Muitt but after beating his man he blasted narrowly over.

Keaton Wood fouled Pearce and Jesse Starkey hit the free-kick but it was palmed away with one hand by Charlie Searle. Then Starkey drove a ball high towards the back post but it bounced out of play. A cross by Meekums was headed towards his own goal by Ben Clark-Eden, committing Searle into a diving save.

At the other end Doug Tuck found Muitt beyond the defence before he sped on and he spotted Mitford in acres of space in the box - but Marvin Armstrong as the last man stopped him in his tracks. Starkey got the ball into the box and Pearce beat his man but could only divert the ball out for a goal kick. Wood brought Parsons down and went into the book on 17 minutes. Ricky Aguiar shot it but it was straight at Searle.

A long bouncing pass saw Smith round his marker before shooting low with his left foot but straight at Rees. Muitt beat the back-line again before looking to strike but it rolled across the box towards Smith and the ball got stuck under his feet and he couldn’t get a shot in.

A quick free-kick saw Pearce try his luck and his strike was pushed out but Meekums followed up after cutting inside from the left before smashing the upright on 21 minutes. Smith required treatment before a long Worthing ball forward picked out Parsons, but after beating the defender he scuffed his cross.

Muitt sped past his marker on the right before whipping a cross into the back post and found Smith - his header bobbled down but was diverted away by Rees on 27 minutes for a corner, a good chance for the Rocks denied. Tommy Leigh tried to spin his marker but Aguiar brought him down on the turn and went into the book.

On 33 minutes Worthing took the lead as a cut pass from Aguiar found the run of Armstrong and his curling shot had too much for Searle.

A long ball over the top saw Tuck pick out Muitt but he knocked it high over the bar with his first touch on 37 minutes. Aguiar pounced on a loose ball after Mitford failed to control it in Bognor's half but he smacked it over from around 25 yards. Parsons sent in a cross and a neat flick from Pearce was kept out by Searle. Muitt span his man before playing it back to Smith on the run in but his low shot was easily saved by Rees.

Meekums did well to control the ball before running on and speeding across the defence but his low strike flew wide of the post in first half stoppage time. HT 1-0

Early in the second half Ashton Leigh gave the ball away allowing Pearce to win a free-kick. But Starkey curled the ball well over the bar. Bognor were struggling to get any movement off the ball before a ball out wide from Tuck to Ashton Leigh ended in a cross that was easily cleared. An inswinging Worthing corner was only just blocked on the line with Jalen Jones lurking.

Worthing went 2-0 up when a misplaced pass by Tommy Leigh saw Pearce pick up possession just outside the area and run on to beat Searle with a low strike on 57 minutes.

James Crane showed his frustration against his old team as he fouled a player on the touchline and went into the book. Then Whyte followed suit picking up a yellow on 63 minutes for another foul. Mitford hit a cross from the left straight down the throat of Rees - and things just weren’t working for Bognor.

Worthing went three up on 65 minutes and it was game over. Pearce was allowed to round the defence before shooting low into the bottom corner beating the outstretched hand of Searle.

Smith and Muitt both had low efforts thwarted and Smith was denied a penalty after he appeared to be shoved in the area on 69 minutes.

Chances were drying up for Bognor and they failed to string passes together and when they did get the ball up the field they hardly troubled Rees in the Worthing goal. Tommy Scutt replaced Ashton Leigh on 72 minutes.

Crane gave the ball away and again Pearce fired at goal but, luckily for Bognor, this one went over the bar. Scutt hit one wide moments later. Muitt and Smith combined before the latter hit one from outside the area but the ball flew wide on 82 minutes.

On 85 minutes Emmett Dunn came on for Mitford but this was not to be the Rocks' day. Jasper Pattenden latched on to a loose ball and split the defence to find Parsons and he ran through and shot low, forcing Searle into a good save on 88 minutes.

Three additional minutes were never going to change anything and Worthing were left to celebrate what for them is a rare success over the team from Nyewood Lane.

The Rocks bosses and fans will demand an improved performance in their next game at home to Carshalton on Saturday.

Rocks: Searle, Crane, A Leigh (Scutt 72), Tuck, Clark-Eden, Wood, Whyte, T Leigh (Williamson 87), Smith, Muitt, Mitford (Dunn 84). Sub not used: Durin.

Attendance – 1,648