The hosts took early control of the game, with the first real chance falling to Tommy Leigh – who curled his free-kick wide of the target. In the 14th minute, the Rocks should have taken the lead, if it wasn’t for Josh Spinks(!), who’s tremendous goal-line block prevented Jordy Mongoy from opening the scoring. The Hillians began to grow into the game as the clock ticked on, with Andrew Herring and Aaron Smith-Joseph both striking inches wide in quick succession. On the half-hour mark, both sides passed up golden opportunities to take the lead; first, Joe Cook somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy, before Herring’s goal-bound header ricocheted off a Bognor defender and away from danger. It was the Isthmian League Premier Division side who took the lead, in the 38th minute, as Mongoy fired his effort across Alfie Jones and into the bottom corner to take the Rocks into the break one goal to the good.
The second period started slowly, with the hosts, as expected, enjoying the lion’s share of possession. However, in the 61st minute, the Hillians clawed themselves level, as a short corner found it’s way through to Harry Pollard at the back post, who made no mistake sweeping home – sparking jubilant celebrations in front of the travelling Hillians. The Hillians came within inches of taking the lead almost immediately from the resulting kick-off, as Tom Chalaye beat the offside trap, only to see his chipped effort evade both Amadou Tangara and the crossbar. Jay Lovett’s side, who’s tails were well and truly up, almost found a second through Jordi Ndozid – but his header fell the wrong side of the upright. With thirteen minutes left on the clock, the hosts were awarded a sparkling chance to retake the lead, as Jones brought down substitute, Sam Dowridge inside the area. Leigh stepped up, but Jones guessed right and parried the penalty away to safety – as the pendulum continued to sway. Heading into the final knocking, it was still anyone’s game, and in the 81st minute, the Hillians thought they’d won it, as Smith-Joseph bared down on goal, but he rolled his effort agonisingly wide of the target. With the game seemingly heading to penalties, Jake Flannigan’s fizzing cross deflected off Spinks and passed the helpless Jones… Bedlam for Bognor. Heartache for Hill.
A performance which deserved so much more from the Hillians against a side sitting nicely in the league above.
Due to the recent Government announcement, all ‘non-elite’ football has now been suspended until at least December 2nd. Stay safe, and we will see you all again as soon as we can.