Smith hit home, via a deflection, in the 81st minute to seal the victory after jasper Mather’s rasping drive on 71 minutes gave the home side the lead in front of 852 fans at Nyewood Lane.
And Smith was denied a second strike on 84 minutes – a goal which would have given the score line a more realistic look in a dominant second half – through an offside flag after it was adjudged Alfie Rutherford had strayed far enough to be penalised. This observation from the assistant referee was hotly disputed by many an onlooker.
The triumph was thoroughly deserved but came after an opening half that was anything but impressive from Blake’s charges. The lethargy could have come about following a reshuffle given the late withdrawal of central defender Kieran Douglas, who was injured in the warm up.
Danny Howick stepped in to fill the void and was excellent throughout – but there was soon need for another defensive rejig. It came after 10 minutes when Craig Robson was forced off after a horror tackle from Erin Kinali, deemed only punishable with a yellow card by referee Sean Phillips.
It should have been a red, without question. Quite what watching Premier League referee Tim Robinson made of his colleague’s judgment is anyone’s guess. Ben Anderson came on and this allowed Harvey Whyte to switch to the middle of the back four.
Blake brought on Alfie Rutherford at the break, replacing Isaac Olaniyan and immediately the Rocks looked more potent going forward. Rutherford, on loan from Dorking Wanderers and who was bidding to add to his quick-fire goal last week against Hayes & Yeading after a year-long lay-off, had a couple of decent chances and hit the post from close range but despite not finding the net he still managed to contribute a spark to the frontline.
Jimmy Muitt, another player borrowed from the Meadowbank outfit, looked sharp too, and his speed of thought and creativity very much boosted the attacking prowess of the home side. Not that the visitors didn’t have their chances but when they did penetrate the Bognor rear-guard, they found keeper Ryan Hall in fine form.
Mather could have had a goal before his opener only for keeper Mason Terry, on a season-long loan with the Beach Boys from West Ham United, to tip over the bar with superb athleticism on 55 minutes.
Blake will hope his side can replicate their second half display over 90 minutes next Saturday when they go to top-of-the-table Hornchurch. In between, the Rocks host Horsham YMCA in the Sussex Transport Senior Cup on Wednesday.
Bognor Regis Town: 1 Ryan Hall, 2 Harvey Whyte, 3 Reuben Livesey-Austin, 4 Calvin Davies, 5 Danny Howick, 6 Craig Robson (Ben Anderson 10′), 7 Lucas Pattenden, 8 Jimmy Muitt (Joe Briffa 83′), 9 Dan Smith, 10 Jasper Mather, 11 Isaac Olaniyan (Alfie Rutherford 45′). Subs: 12 Tommy-Lee Higgs, 15 Alfie Rutherford, 16 Ben Anderson, 17 Nodirbek Bobomurodov, 14 Joe Briffa.