Men's First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 16 December The Pilot Field
Hastings Utd
Bognor Regis Town

A point was the least Robbie Blake’s men deserved after a superb second-half display and the Nye Camp boss firmly believes his side could have won the Sussex derby clash in front of 972 fans at the Pilot Field.

Smith had been taken down in the box by home keeper Charlie Grainger in the 55th minute and he stepped up to dispatch from 12 yards to bring the scores level. Hastings dominated the opening half and took a 1-0 lead on 24 minutes as David Rodari scored from a penalty. But despite lots of possession the Us couldn’t add to their advantage.

The Rocks, missing the injured Craig Robson, Dan Gifford, Jasper Mather, Kieran Douglas and Ben Anderson, came out a completely different side in the second 45 minutes and controlled large passages of play and looked like the only team that were going to go on and claim all three points.

Isaac Olaniyan, on for Alfie Bridgman on 69 minutes, should have grabbed the second goal but he hit his shot over the bar after a slick move down the right and, before that, Dan Smith almost scored from inside the box.

Not that the home side didn’t have chances, especially as the game drew to a conclusion. But the visiting rear-guard was solid and thwarted Chris Agutter’s men to hold on for a share of the spoils.

Blake was delighted with the performance. Talking to Rocks Radio’s Peter Kelly-Sullivan, he said: “It was a brilliant game of football and I have got to say it was an immense performance. We sat off them a little bit in the first half and showed them a little bit too much respect and we got in to them at half time. We tweaked a few little things in terms of tactics and looked at some of the errors we were making, changed it a little bit and we completely dominated the second half.

“To a man we were unbelievable. To come through the postponements and the injuries, it just goes to show that we have to stop fearing teams and make sure that teams are fearing us because when we play like we did in the second half, we were immense.”

Any one of the Bognor schemers could have picked up the man-of-the-match award but midfielder Matt Burgess got the nod and Blake says he wouldn’t argue with the choice.

He added: “That was the best game by a country mile that Matty has played for us and I have just told him that is his standard now, he shouldn’t drop below that level. It was a great team performance and we are almost disappointed that we drew  because we have had some clear-cut chances in the second half.

“To a man the attitude, commitment and dedication to the club and myself and Jamie (Howell) was second to none.”

Bognor Regis Town: 1 Ryan Hall, 2 Harvey Whyte, 3 Joe Rabbetts, 4 Calvin Davies, 5 Spencer Spurway, 6 Danny Howick, 7 Lucas Pattenden, 8 Matt Burgess, 9 Dan Smith, 10 Tommy-Lee Higgs, 11 Alfie Bridgman (Isaac Olaniyan 69′). Subs: 12 Isaac Olaniyan, 14 Joe Briffa, 15 Tom Holland.