Men's First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 17 February Imperial Fields
Bognor Regis Town

The Rocks went into the game looking to pick up three points to bolster their ambitions to break into the play-off places following a fine run of form.

Missing for Bognor was Ben Anderson, who looks set to be side-lined for the remainder of the season after sustaining a double injury blow in the shape of a fractured fibula and a dislocated ankle, which has been successfully operated on. But Blake was able to call upon vastly experienced Craig Robson at the heart of central defence after he missed out with a bad back last week in the 1-1 draw at Nyewood Lane against Cheshunt.

But despite enjoying long spells of possession, shoddy defending and an overall lack of sharpness saw the home side grab the victory. The visitors were 2-0 down within half an hour thanks to goals from Eddie Dsane on 23 minutes and Freddie Price on 28 minutes, leaving Blake’s charges reeling.

Winger Alfie Bridgeman, enjoying more game time since Lucas Pattenden sustained a pelvic injury, pulled one back on 42 minutes and the expectation was that Bognor would come out in the second period and try to impose themselves on the home side.

Dan Smith, given the nod by Blake ahead of Tommy-Lee Higgs in attack, who was on the bench, brought the sides level at 2-2 after 47 minutes. The belief was that Bognor would use the equaliser as a platform to re-double their efforts and grab the win and the vital points.

Yet the territorial advantage counted for nothing and the Ks made it 3-2 on 77 minutes when Lion Bello pounced. Before that on 68 minutes, the home side squandered the chance to take the lead when Dsane failed to convert a penalty kick after a foul in the box, following an indecisive pass by Spencer Spurway. The reverse on the road left the Rocks in eighth position in the league standings, dropping down one place from seventh before the game. Next up for Blake’s men is the visit of Potters Bar Town to the MKM Arena on Saturday.

Blake was critical of the poor performance, but balanced his assessment by citing his side’s excellent run of form. He said: “It’s bitterly disappointing but when you don’t do the basics and the fundamentals then I’m afraid you can get punished in any game in this division and that’s what happened.

“Some of our defending left a lot to be desired and we seem to lack belief in our ability. This defeat is actually for me more disappointing than the 6-1 loss to Littlehampton Town in the Sussex Senior Cup two weeks ago.

“These players are the ones who have got us in this position and they are young and they will learn and we will continue to develop. Now we must pick ourselves up, train well in the week and look to bounce back against Potters Bar. Yes, there are lessons to be learned, but actually if we revert to doing things properly in terms of the basics that would help enormously.”

Bognor Regis Town: 1 Ryan Hall, 2 Harvey Whyte, 3 Joe Rabbetts, 4 Matt Burgess, Spencer Spurway (Joe Briffa 83), Craig Robson, 7 Alfie Bridgman (Isaac Olaniyan 63), 8 Calvin Davies (Tommy-Lee Higgs 58), 9 Dan Smith,10 Dan Gifford, 11 Jasper Mather. Subs: 12 Tommy-Lee Higgs, 14 Isaac Olaniyan, 15 Kieran Douglas, 16 Joe Briffa, 17 Mason Vince.