Men's First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 30 December MKM Arena
Bognor Regis Town
Canvey Island

Bognor’s only change to their line up saw Ben Anderson in for the poorly Matt Burgess.  Kieran Douglas did warm up with the sids and returning to fitness but wasn’t quite ready to make the bench.

Early on in a quiet opening it was Lucas Pattenden who burst through, beating the offside trap but his low cross towards Alfie Bridgman was cut out on 6 minutes.

Pattenden again got the cross in again from the right but despite Dan Smith holding the ball up, Canvey’s defence were able to clear their lines on 12 minutes.

Then Smith picked out Pattenden again and he ran into space before crossing it along the deck towards Tommy-Lee Higgs but the defender got there first to clear it again.

Conor Hubble got Canvey’s first cross high into the box but Luca Albon’s header from the edge of the area was poor and bounced out harmlessly.

Then on 23 minutes Smith was set through the middle and he teed up Higgs who hit it first time off a defender at goal. But the goalkeeper Samuel Jackson easily made his first save of the day.

Soon after, Jackson gathered a curling corner from Calvin Davies on the right.

On 28 minutes the flag was up for offside as Canvey put the ball low into the net following a freekick by Hubble.  The goal was therefore disallowed.

Tobi Tinubu did brilliantly to deny Joe Rabbetts’s cross finding Pattenden on the back post along the deck on 29 minutes when he slid in.

Then a corner by Davies did well to pick out Smith on the back post and he swirled a header towards goal but the flag was up as the ball went out of play in the air.

Jamie Salmon latched onto a poor clearance by Ryan Hall before shooting low at goal from 30 yards out but the goalkeeper saved the chance from distance.

Bognor were still looking to create a chance as Harvey Whyte’s ball into the box bounced once before Jackson gathered it on 41 minutes.

Spurway was closed down by Charlie Edwards and the ball ricocheted back into the grateful arms of Hall.

Then Rabbetts was set through down the left before he crossed it dangerously into the box but Jackson cut that out in the box.

The ball fell kindly for Pattenden on the right and he waited for Higgs in support to make his run into the area.  He played the ball inside but Higgs went to ground under a challenge he was denied a penalty inside the single minute of stoppage time to end an uneventful first half.

HT 0-0

Smith squared the ball inside to Higgs who, on the turn, hit a curling strike agonisingly wide on 50 minutes in a game that really needed a goal to liven things up.

Whyte won the ball in Canvey’s half before finding Higgs who slipped a pass into Smith who made a small run before he smacked it at goal but Jackson made a good save to push it away on 52 minutes.

Davies hit the resulting corner into the area but Pattenden diverted his header well wide at the near post.

In response, after Rocks lost possession, it was Hubble who hit an ambitious effort from distance spotting Hall off his line, but he did make it back to gather it in the area.

Rabbetts looked as if he was brought down in the area but the referee ignored the claims.

Davies was caught late by Edwards and had to receive treatment. No freekick was awarded as neither of the officials saw it on 54 minutes.

Davies went into the book on 57 minutes as he went late into a challenge on Edwards.

Then a freekick by Hubble picked out Jamie Salmon and he chested it down before diverting it into the net on 57 minutes.

Rocks made a double substitution on 58 minutes as Bridgman and Higgs were replaced by Jasper Mather and Dan Gifford.

Pattenden had a cross swiftly diverted away by Elliott Johnson and then the follow up left sided corner by Davies was confidently saved by Jackson on 65 minutes.

Bradley Sach diverted the ball over Hall from outside the box but it agonisingly bounced wide in response.

Davies curled a freekick forward into the box but Smith was up unmarked to glance his header off target on 68 minutes.

Whyte was deemed to have fouled Sach.  No cards were given but Sach won the freekick.  Hubble curled the ball in but Hall punched it away with one glove.

A decent interception saw Hubble speed through but his strike from over 25 yards was always rising over the bar.

Gifford went down in the box and the linesman had initially thought there was no impeachment.  But after the referee debated it with the linesman he bizarrely gave a drop ball uncontested for Canvey to boot away on 79 minutes.

Edwards went into the book for dissent as Davies committed a foul as Canvey tried to dig out the ball from their own half in the 81st minute.

Bognor got their equaliser on 84 minutes.  Whyte headed the ball to the back post from a left sided cross and it was Olaniyan who rose at the back post to head it in.

Hubble curled a dangerous cross in which was headed on by Edwards and then flicked agonisingly over the bar by Salmon on 86 minutes.

Bognor pounced on the attack as Jasper Mather swung it across to Pattenden but his pass back to Gifford was cut out outstretched.

Then Sam Higgins spotted Hall off his line to hit it early towards goal but it was wide thankfully for the goalkeeper as he saw it bounce out of play.

Late drama saw Dan Gifford go into the book for throwing the ball down angrily after a throw in decision as Rocks were battling and Edwards was shown a yellow for dissent.  Tinubu also went into the book for a late challenge on the touchline.

But after five minutes of stoppage time the referee blew the final whistle and the points were shared at the MKM Arena.  Rocks head to Sussex rivals Lewes next at the Dripping Pan on Monday 1st January with kick off at 3pm.

Rocks: Hall, Whyte, Rabbetts, Davies (c), Spurway, Robson, Pattenden, Anderson, Smith (Olaniyan 73), Higgs (Gifford 58), Bridgman (Mather 58)
Subs not used: Howick, Briffa.