Bad start to Isthmian season for Bognor as Bishop's Stortford score three

Doug Tuck tries to get Bognor on the front foot at Bishop's Stortford / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Doug Tuck tries to get Bognor on the front foot at Bishop's Stortford / Picture by Tommy McMillan

The Rocks will be regretting mistakes that cost them their first game of the season at Bishop's Stortford.

They came home with only Dan Smith's 74th minute penalty to show for their efforts and will now try to get their league account up and running when they host newly promoted Horsham on Tuesday night.

Dan Smith's penalty makes it 3-1 / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Dan Smith's penalty makes it 3-1 / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Rocks welcomed defender Hadji Mnoga into the side on loan from Pompey as his fellow Fratton youngster Joe Dandy was out through sickness.

Jimmy Muitt got Bognor on the attack inside the first minute. Smith and Doug Tuck set up Stuart Green but his cross was cleared. James Crane's cross was dug out by the Stortford defence before Tommy Leigh's header was gathered by goalkeeper Frederick Burbridge.

Stortford's Benjamin Worman was denied with a low effort after veteran striker Jamie Cureton’s shot was deflected to him at the edge of the area. Petar Durin, given the nod over Charlie Searle to start in goal for the Rocks, was well placed to save.

Smith beat his man to go through one on one but placed his low effort wide of the post. But Bognor went behind when Ashton Leigh's back pass was played to Durin and he gifted a pass to Luke Callander on nine minutes and he quickly composed himself before slotting it in with Durin out of position.

Jimmy Muitt is pursued by a trio of home players / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Jimmy Muitt is pursued by a trio of home players / Picture by Tommy McMillan

From a free kick just outside the D, Cureton got a slight deflection off the defensive wall and it flew out of play for a corner. Durin was called into action, stopping a low effort from Johnville Renee after good work from Worman on the right.

Muitt slid a shot wide as Bognor tried to get back into it with Green and Harvey Whyte's passes going astray in the final third. Cureton ran on to a lofted pass but Durin was brave to come out of his goal to deny him on 25 minutes.

Mnoga won a free-kick after powering forward. Eventually it fell to Tuck, who hit it low but it was deflected into the arms of Burbridge. Cureton made it 2-0 on 32 minutes when Bognor failed to clear their lines and the ball was played square to him to hit it first time into the top corner.

On 38 minutes Mnoga gave the ball away and Renee played a defence-splitting pass to Ryan Charles, who took his time before rounding Durin and scoring. Three minutes later Ashton Leigh went into the book for pulling back Callander. A Stortford strike was ruled offside by the linesman on 42 minutes as Cureton's neat header from a right sided cross by Mark Haines was well taken but disallowed.

Tuck ended the half when he struck a shot over the crossbar. HT 3-0

Tommy Leigh smashed one first time high over the bar from long range. Bognor, playing with the wind behind them, looked purposeful but when Muitt combined with Green, the latter's shot took a slight deflection before rolling to Burbridge - then a Whyte cross was too much for Green on the back post.

Crane, Muitt and Green teed up Whyte but his shot was smashed over. Cureton hit another low shot out just wide on 53 minutes.

Smith beat the offside flag and ran on before firing it low, but Burbridge got in the way to push it away for a corner. Ashton Leigh was replaced by Tommy Scutt for Bognor as they looked for a way back into the game.

Durin kept out another Charles chance as he cut inside from the right and hit a left-footed effort. From a corner Keaton Wood could only divert it wide of the post with his chest.

Crane's ball to the far post found Smith, who headed it goalwards, but Burbridge batted it away for a corner and clouted the post in the process. He received treatment and did return to play.

Bognor got one back with 16 minutes left. Tommy Leigh's low ball into the box was met by Smith and on the turn he went to ground and the referee pointed to the spot. The referee had to calm the home players, angry at the decision, but Smith converted to make it 3-1.

Cureton was replaced by Harry Morgan and went over to Bognor coach Robbie Blake on the touchline complaining about the penalty decision when he came off. Alex Warman’s cross was tipped over by Durin.

Muitt and Smith had efforts at goal that were kept out before Worman went into the book for lashing out at Tuck on the touchline - before Dan Simmonds replaced Green for the Rocks on 86 minutes.

Olly Miles rolled around on the floor apparently claiming he had been impeded by Crane but the referee ignored the claims. The referee had words with both players to calm the situation and the whistle went soon after.

This was a forgettable start to a season that holds much promise for Bognor. They host Horsham this Tuesday (7.45pm) and must improve quickly.

Rocks: Durin, Crane, A Leigh (Scutt 59), Tuck, Mnoga, Wood, Whyte, T Leigh, Smith, Muitt, Green (Simmonds 86). Subs not used: Dunn, Williamson, Searle.

Attendance - 307