Bognor Regis Town 1 v 2 Grays Athletic
THE Blues are making a habit of breaking winnings sequences as they inflicted Bognors first home league defeat in over 14 matches stretching back to early October and they were good value for the win with a battling performance.
Grays made a bright start with barely two minutes gone Kenny Beaney played searching ball through the home defence Jaoa Carlos and home keeper Winterton challenged for the fifty fifty ball but Carlos was deemed to have fouled the keeper although it appeared no contact was made.
Correy Davidson was looking lively out wide for the Blues his pace causing Bognor full back Crane real problems.It was Davidson who was to provide the pass for the opener after 5 minutes when another pacy run to the bye-line led to a low cross eluding the home defenders falling to Nathan Ferguson who gratefully fired the ball past Winterton to put the visitors one up, recording his first goal for the club.
The goal stung the home side into action as they began to take the game to Grays ,Connor Gough had to be alert when he made a smart stop from a Bognor break The main danger for the home side was winger Parsons who was finding a lot of space out wide, Jey Siva had to be alert to try and counter the threat as the home side were channeling their play through the winger.
Bognor were moving the ball around without creating any clear cut chances tending to overplay allowing the visitors to soak up the pressure and counter attack at pace.James Stevens was pulling the strings for Grays with his perceptive passing he played a delicate ball to Carlos who finished weakly .
GB Dumaka on another Grays breakaway was one on one with the keeper supported to his right by Davidson he elected to shoot his effort saved by Winterton when the better option was to pass to the unmarked Davidson .The same player did better moments later with a lob which was finger tipped away to safety.
Blues were now seeing more of the ball from a short corner Siva played in one of his teasing crosses which was headed out to Jay Leader who’s shot flew over.
That man Parsons again played in a dangerous cross eventually scrambled away by the visitors as Bognor continued to search for the equaliser.Grays were resolute in defence although coming under pressure for long periods of the half they rode their luck at times but every player stuck to their task to keep their goal intact.
It was a good opening half from Grays who soaked up some late pressure but still looked the more dangerous on the break and had they been more clinical could have gone in two or three up.
The Blues started the second period in similar fashion to the opening half, in their first attack Davidson played in another of his low crosses the ball was partly cleared to Beaney who unleashed a fierce rising drive which Winterton did well to gather.
Good work by Dumaka resulted in a measured pass to the tricky Davidson who weaved past the home defence his curling shot passing agonisingly wide of the far post.
Bognor were employing a more direct approach in the second half as they gradually began to get on top forcing a number of corners,Thompson fired over under pressure from Davidson,Grays were making desperate last ditch tackles to keep themselves In the game as Bognor cranked up the pressure.
Bognor finally opened their account on 58 minutes danger man Parsons managed to wriggle past the Blues rearguard playing in Jason Prior who slotted past Gough to bring the scores level.
The homesters then went looking for the winner and from a controversial free kick Blues were caught napping Prior forcing a good save from Gough at the expense of a corner.
Jordan Wilson was introduced to the fray at the expense of Davidson and he had an immediate influence on the game with some astute passing and timely interceptions.
Grays were gradually seeing more of the ball ,Stevens made way for Quincy Marfo and he like Wilson began to influence the game his pace causing problems for the home defence occupying
full back Crane restricting his forward movement.Carlos saw his goal bound effort deflected for a corner taken by Siva and cleared by the home defence.
Blues were now pinning Bognor back as they looked for the winner Kenny Beaney who had as usual worked tirelessly squared the ball to Louis Morrison-Derbyshire ,Derbyshire then floated a delightful ball between the Bognor central defenders Wilson stole in and with a deft touch brought the ball quickly under control and volleyed past the stranded Winterton to score a goal which would not have looked out of place in the Premier League.
Bognor were desperately looking to preserve their long unbeaten home run and came agonisingly close to doing just that Dodd forcing Gough to block his effort only to see the rebound fall to Prior he fired in a screamer which cannoned off the crossbar rebounding into the grateful arms of the keeper.
"Media" magnet Mark Bentley replaced Ferguson as the Blues looked to run down the clock,Bognor mounted a last ditch effort forcing a corner defended well by the visitors,at the other end a flowing move between Wilson and Carlos saw the latters drive fly inches over ,shortly after the referee blew the final whistle to recorded the Blues second victory beside the seaside.
So another three points won with a battling performance from Grays with every player contributing to a workmanlike win they may have rode their luck at times but the collective belief within the rejuvenated squad saw them through to a deserved victory.
Blues make the short trip to Crayford on Tuesday against VCD Athletic who are battling to stay in the division.There must be no room for complacency on the night something I am sure Manager Bentley will instil into his squad,a victory here will set them up nicely for a top ten finish if they can take advantage of their games in hand.