Men's First Team
Friendly Tue 11 July MKM Arena
Bognor Regis Town

Despite John Mousinho fielding an entirely different XI in each half, it took the League One side 75 minutes to break the deadlock.

Bognor made them work hard before and after the goal – scored from the spot by Joe Morrell, that after teammate Paddy Lane had missed an earlier spot-kick.

And the Rocks’ endeavor got its reward on 87 minutes when one of four unnamed trialists headed in an equaliser from a corner.

There was a large crowd in for the game – more than 2,000 was the estimate – which has become a crucial moneyspinner for the Rocks, giving their budget a significant pre-season boost.

Pompey fielded a number of their new signings both in their starting XI and on the bench – with keeper Will Norris and winger Anthony Scully among those on the pitch from the start.

Bognor had plenty of new names in their side after a close season which has seen them sign six players and look at numerous others on trial.

Tommy Lee Higgs is one the Rocks are looking at after his release from Southampton and he found space for an early shot but it was high and wide.

Lee Higgs was on the end of a cross from Lucas Pattenden across the face of goal after Pompey skipper Marlon Pack was robbed of the ball, but he was just too late to convert it.

Gradually Pompey began to threaten and a couple of well-hit efforts gave Rocks keeper Ryan Hall something to think about.

Liam Vincent thought he’d put Pompey ahead on 15 minutes but after controlling a long ball and poking a shot past Hall he saw it ping back off the post.

Harry Jewitt-White was next to draw a save from Hall as Pompey threatened again.

Scully had the ball in the net but he was clearly offside after a chipped pass by Pack. And as Pompey continued to enjoy the best of the chances, Jewitt-White curled a free kick inches over the bar.

The Rocks had a great chance to open the scoring two minutes before the break when Harvey Whyte’s cross reached Sam De St Croix at the far post. He controlled it but snatched at the shot and didn’t trouble the keeper.

Vincent then wasted a golden opening at the other end, shooting over from 10 yards after eorking himself some space.

HT 0-0

It was a whole new Blues team after the break as John Mousinho used the chnce to look at some more of his new recruits and fringier first team players.

New signing Jack Sparkes made an immediate impression for Pompey with a run down the left and a cross that ended in Sam Folarin shooting over, though an offisde flag went up anyway.

Lee Higgs was so close to a Bognor opener on 53 minutes when he flicked a header goalwards after Pattenden got down the right and beat his man to get in a cross. But it was brilliantly saved by Josh Oluwayemi.

That was the end of Lee Higgs’ involvement as the Rocks brought on two subs – Kyle O’Brien and Isaac Olaniyan replacing Ben Anderson and Lee Higgs.

Pompey won a rather soft spot kick in the 56th minute when O’Brien was judged to have fouled Terry Devlin. But Paddy Lane’s penalty was comfortably saved by Hall, along with Folarin’s follow-up.

The crowd came to life on 61 minutes when Sparkes crossed for Folarin who met it beautifully on the volleye only for Hall to tip it over the bar. He then saved a goalbound header from the resulting corner.

Another double Rocks change saw Joe Briffa and Josh McCormiick replace Calvin Davies and De St Croix.

Bognor almost got in with Oluwayemi out of position on 66 minutes and they were continuing to give as good as they were getting against their pro visitors.

That was evident when Olaniyan took advantage of hesitancy in the Pompey backline to send Mather though on goal, but he took one touch too many and the keeper claimed.

Bognor seemed to think Pompey’s idea of changing their whole team mid-game was a good one and made six changes on 71 minutes – including Tom Holland, Danny Howick and four unnamed trialists.

Soon one of the new men with no name brought down Folarin in the box and this time Welsh international Joe Morrell was given the responsibility from the spot, and he fired it into the corner to Hall’s right.

One of the Bognor subs, Tom Holland, drew a diving save out of Oluwayemi with a left-foot shot from 18 yards – and from the corner, one of the Rocks trialists nodded in.

Rocks: Hall, Whyte, Mason, Davies, Douglas, Robson, De St Croix, Anderson, Mather, Lee Higgs, Pattenden. Subs: Howick, Holland, McCormick, O’Brien, Briffa, Olaniyan, two trialists.

Pompey: Norris, Scully, Raggett, Towler, Vincent, Ogilvie, Pack, Jewitt-White, Lowery, Dockerill, Mottosh. Subs: Oluwayemi, Swanson, Sparkes, Mnoga, Devlin, Stevenson, Lane, Morrell, Shaughnessy, Hume, Folarin.

Next up for Bognor is the short trip to face old rivals Worthing at Woodside Road on Saturday.

Match report by Steve Bone

Pictures by Trevor Staff / Lyn Phillips –