Bognor Town Suffer Defeat at Folkestone

Image: Lyn Phillis (BRTFC)

Jack Pearce cut a frustrated though not forlorn figure at the final whistle as Bognor fell to a 1-0 defeat at Folkestone Invicta in the Isthmian premier division on Saturday.

He had every right to be exasperated, writes CARL ELDRIDGE.

Along with coach Robbie Blake he saw the Rocks turn in a display that arguably merited a draw but they came away from the BuildKent Stadium with nothing other than some pride in their battling performance.

A 10th minute penalty tucked away by Alfie Paxman after Amadou Tangara was adjudged to have brought down David Smith in the box was all that separated the sides. Yet with a more lethal goal threat on the day the visitors could easily have grabbed at least a point.

That said, intricate, easy-on-the-eye approach play is all very well and good; crucially if you haven't got a switched-on strike force then you'll get very little reward -- and this was the case against Neil Cugley's well-drilled men as they maintained their march to a play-off place.

Offsides played a huge part in Rocks' lack of potency and time and time again decent attacks were thwarted by sloppy runs in behind that were soon met with a play-stopping flag.

Joe Dandy had a glorious chance to bring the visitors level mid-way through the first half but his initial shot was parried by Timothy Roberts and the marauding Bognor defender larruped the rebound high, wide and anything but handsome.

Dan Gifford, the promising striker learning his craft with the Nye Camp aces on loan from Pompey, did have the ball in the net on the hour but once again an eagled-eyed linesman decreed that the goal shouldn't stand due to yet another offside infringement. Two minutes earlier home attacker Ade Yusuff was similarly penalised after netting -- this time the flag coming to the rescue of the Pearce's charges.

Resolute defending from the likes of Joe Cook and Craig Robson was admirable and proved vital in repelling a livewire Invicta vanguard but yielding nothing at the business end of the pitch meant that a loss was on the cards.

The impending misery of an away day defeat was compounded on 84 minutes when Ashton Leigh fouled Joshua Vincent and saw red when without doubt a yellow card would have been proved to be sufficient punishment for the severity of the crime.

Pearce said the number of times his attackers were caught offside was disappointing but that there were positives to take from the game in terms of industry and fighting for the cause.

He said: "We have a very young team, especially up front, and the fact of the matter is that we are going to have to learn to be patient and not burst forward and then ruin the entire move through an eagerness to get to the ball. If we had have come away with a point nobody could have denied we deserved it but, frustratingly, we have conceded with the penalty and ultimately that has cost us dearly."

No.2 Blake cited a "transitional period" as one of the key issues with the defeat. Speaking to Rocks Radio's Peter Kelly-Sullivan after the game, he added: "We need to get to a situation where we are doing better things. We are struggling at the minute and look like a team that is mid table and going nowhere.

"But you can't fault the players' effort and commitment. From a supporters' point of view, you want to see better results and see the team winning games but what you can’t say is that we didn't work hard because we did.”

Bognor will need to add expertise to their exertion to get a result when they are next in action. They face Bowers & Pitsea at Nyewood Lane on Saturday, March 5 at 3pm.

Bognor Regis Town: 1 Amadou Tangara , 2 Joe Dandy , 3 Harvey Hughes, 4 Ethan Robb (Charlie Bell 61'), 5 Joe Cook, 6 Craig Robson, 7 Calvin Davies, 8 Ashton Leigh, 9 Nathan Odokonyero (Harrison Brook 72'), 10 Dan Gifford, 11 Finlay Lovatt (Sam Dowridge 55'). Sub not used: Jack Wyatt.

David Seabourne

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