Men's First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 13 January Len Salmon Stadium
Hashtag Utd
Bognor Regis Town

The hosts, who play their home games at Bowers & Pitsea, applied some serious pressure to bring parity to proceedings but Bognor stayed steadfast in their determination to collect the three points that moved them up to seventh position in the Isthmian premier division table.

Dan Gifford grabbed a brace within the first eight minutes and Lucas Pattenden added a third on 11 minutes as Blake’s men ran riot and threatened to snatch a hatful of goals such was their early domination.

Blake brought Isaac Olaniyan in for Alfie Bridgman as the only change from the starting line-up that snatched a late 2-1 win over Cray Wanderers at the MKM Arena midweek. And the early skirmishes saw the visitors cut through United seemingly scoring at will before they were pegged back to 3-1 when a mix-up at the back allowed Sakariya Hassan to hit a 15th-minute goal.

Rocks seemed to take their foot off the gas after the ferocity of their start and Jay Devereux’s outfit made it 3-2 following more rear-guard inadequacies that allowed Luke May-Parrott to find a way past Ryan Hall.

Calvin Davies, who went on to be booked and now must serve a three-match ban, made it 4-2 on 38 minutes with a long-range effort to once again give Bognor some breathing space.

But Hashtag reduced the arrears on the hour mark when Camilo Restrepo made it 4-3 only for Jasper Mather to tuck away a 69th-minute spot-kick to restore the two-goal advantage at 5-3.

Yet the home side refused to lay down and die and Jayden’s Randell screamer – easily the goal of the game – made it 5-4 on 89 minutes to set up a tense finish.

In the five minutes of extra time awarded by referee Jack Willmore, which turned in to nine minutes in total, there was a palpable nervousness within the visiting ranks but despite a huge effort from Hashtag to clinch the draw and a point the Rocks held firm and collected their third win on the spin.

Blake was delighted with the positives but acknowledged that his side weren’t at their best in terms of repelling United’s advances.

He said: “We were really well drilled for 20 minutes and went 3-0 up and the thought, ‘oh, pretty easy this game so we will start doing other things that haven’t got you in the lead’… and all of a sudden, no disrespect to them, they have scored two goals from nowhere when they didn’t look like scoring and then we are on the back foot.

“Then, ‘oh, we will decide to play again’, and we get to 4-2 and get in at half-time and we ripped in to them a little bit. We want to have standards where we are doing things correctly and certain parts of the half were great and obviously there were other parts that were almost our worst performance of the season.

“Really, when you are 3-0 up the game should be put to bed and we ended up winning 5-4 from literally nowhere. To be fair to our lads, of late we have looked a really solid team but at times today we were all over the place. But we can’t really grumble and we are asking the lads to put really big shifts in and of course I am really proud of the players and happy with the three points.”

Bognor Regis Town: 1 Ryan Hall, 2 Harvey Whyte, 3 Joe Rabbetts, 4 Calvin Davies, 5 Spencer Spurway, 6 Craig Robson, 7 Lucas Pattenden, 8 Ben Anderson (Kieran Douglas 75′), 9 Dan Smith (Matt Burgess 59′), 10 Dan Gifford, 11 Isaac Olaniyan (Jasper Mather 59′). Subs: 12 Tommy-Lee Higgs, 14 Matt Burgess, 15 Jasper Mather, 16 Alfie Bridgman, 17 Kieran Douglas.

Pic: Lyn Phillips & Trev Staff