Bognor chalked up their first win of the campaign and now look to maintain the excellent form from the triumph in Essex when they host Lewes in a Sussex derby clash at the MKM Arena tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday).
Rocks were missing the injured Harvey Whyte and Dan missing as well as the suspended Kieran Douglas but Gifford came in up top and Joe Rabbetts, on loan from Dorking Wanderers, played at full-back. Danny Howick came in to partner Craig Robson in central defence.
Former Pompey youngster Gifford, on loan from Farnborough Athletic, got visitors off to a great start when he latched on to a through ball and slotted beyond Sam Jackson. Evans Kouassi brought the home side level on 12 minutes before Isaac Olaniyan hit a long-range strike to restore the one goal advantage.
A neat passing move on 42 minutes presented a chance for Sam de St Croix – on after 12 minutes for the injured Lucas Pattenden – to make it 3-1 and the former Met Police midfielder duly took the opportunity to extend the lead for the Rocks.
It was a dazzling away day performance that gave the visitors three points and lifted them to 13th in the league table after previously taking just two points from the nine available.
Manager Blake was understandably chuffed at the win and was full of praise for his team. He said: “It was well desired in the end. It’s a really tough place to come and they are a strong team in a competitive league and our lads were at it. We asked them to be a little bit more solid and I think we were. It was a really good away performance and we scored three good goals and it’s just nice to get the first win under our belts and hopefully we can go from strength to strength now.
“Craig Robson was superb and our keeper Ryan Hall was brilliant in my opinion. When Robbo is on it there is no one better. Danny Howick came in and did a job, Joe Rabbetts did well for his first game back and Ben Anderson and Calvin Davies meant we had a strong defensive unit — and with Matt Burgess doing wellsitting in there too.
“Everyone played their part. Jasper Mather is willing runner and he’s got to work a little bit on his finishing; he gets in to good positions to get his shots off and he has to do it a little bit quicker. But in terms of his attitude, work rate and commitment he was fantastic. In fact, everyone was fantastic and we deserved the win and could have scored more.”
Bognor Regis Town: 1 Ryan Hall, 2 Ben Anderson , 3 Joseph Rabbetts, 4 Calvin Davies, 5 Danny Howick, 6 Craig Robson, 7 Lucas Pattenden (Sam De St Croix 12′), 8 Matt Burgess, 9 Jasper Mather, 10 Dan Gifford, 11 Isaac Olaniyan (Bradley Lethbridge 81′). Subs: 12 Tommy-Lee Higgs, 14 Sam De St Croix, 15 Bradley Lethbridge, 16 Mo Jammeh, 17 Joe Briffa