Men's First Team
Isthmian League Premier Division Sat 16 March Maurice Rebak Stadium
Wingate & Finchley
Bognor Regis Town

Burgess hit home in the 76th minute with a wonderful, left-footed strike from the edge of the box to help keep alive Bognor’s play-off hopes against the high-flying home side’s 10-men in this Isthmian premier division encounter.

The former AFC Bournemouth youth midfielder was handed the armband in the absence of the injured captain Calvin Davies and with Craig Robson, an erstwhile deputy, suspended after seeing red last week in the loss at home to Hornchurch.

Those absentees — as well as the injury to Spencer Spurway — meant manager Robbie Blake was forced to shuffle his pack going in to the game, with attacker Dan Smith being asked to partner Kieran Douglas in central defence. Tommy-Lee Higgs came in up front alongside Dan Gifford and Seung-Woo Yang came in to midfield as Alfie Bridgman dropped to the bench.

The Blues were reduced to 10 men just before the break when Ruben Carvalho was sent off for a challenge on Burgess, which earned him a yellow card, followed by another instant yellow for an as yet unspecified infringement.

It came after a first-half of football that saw both sides struggle to be as potent as they might like and it was a fair reflection of proceedings that it remained a goalless stalemate going in to the break.

The visitors looked to exploit their numerical advantage and dominate possession in the second half and slowly but surely set about trying to snatch the goal that would earn them the victory.

It was Jasper Mather who went closest on three occasions as the half progressed but he couldn’t find the killer touch to punctuate the controlled possession that Blake’s men enjoyed.

Then Burgess struck and at from point onwards there seemed little threat from the home side to the Rocks travelling back home with the points. The triumph delighted Blake, who now takes his side in to Tuesday’s Sussex derby clash with Whitehawk at the MKM Arena.

He said: “Our attitude and commitment when we didn’t have the ball was great and our task was made a little bit easier on the stroke of half time when they went down to ten men, because 11 v 11 we were very wasteful in possession and we didn’t create the chances that we would have liked.

“But then the captain for the day Matt stepped up and hit a great strike and we are really pleased with the three points, that’s the most important thing. It’s a tough league and every game is hard and to get three points against a team that are flying is great. They are a good side, they have some really big threats but we nullified them and we looked strong. I feel we can get stronger and now we have four home games coming up and we have been good at home in the league, having lost only once, so we need to go again starting Tuesday against Whitehawk.”

Bognor Regis Town: 1 Ryan Hall, 2 Harvey Whyte, 3 Joe Rabbetts _, 4 Seung-Woo Yang (Alfie Bridgman 72′), 5 Kieran Douglas, 6 Dan Smith, 7 Lucas Pattenden (Joe Briffa 88), 8 Matt Burgess, 9 Tommy-Lee Higgs (Isaac Olaniyan 90+2), 10 Dan Gifford, 11 Jasper Mather. Subs: 12 Alfie Bridgman, 14 Isaac Olaniyan, 15 Sam Folarin, 16 Joe Briffa, 17 Tom Holland.

Pic: Lyn Phillips and Trev Staff