Rooks grab a last minute point at Bognor Regis – Lewes Community Football Club

Rooks grab a last minute point at Bognor Regis

Rooks grab a last minute point at Bognor Regis

Club news

Written by: Stuart

A 95th-minute own-goal saw Lewes salvage a point and maintain their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-3 draw at Bognor, reports Tom Harper (pictures James Boyes).

Tony Russell made four changes to the side that had drawn 2-2 with Hornchurch just 48 hours earlier, with Will Salmon, Archie Tamplin, Bradley Pritchard and Ryan Gondoh replacing Ronnie Vint, Alfie Egan, Chris Whelpdale and Kalvin Lumbombo-Kalala in the starting line-up.
Bognor started brightly and should have taken an early lead, only for Nathan Harvey to save bravely at the feet of Dan Gifford after a loose pass at the back.
Lewes soon began to dominate possession though, and saw Gondoh go close twice in quick succession, first being denied by Ryan Hall in the Bognor goal after being played in by Pritchard, before cutting in from the right and sending an effort into the side-netting.
The hosts took the lead on 18 minutes, as Jasper Mather capitalised on some hesitant defending to latch onto a loose ball, round Harvey and finish from a tight angle.
Lewes responded well and equalised just six minutes later, Gondoh finding the bottom corner with a free-kick from the edge of the box that appeared to go through the wall.
The Rooks were in control at this stage, with the pace of Gondoh and Deon Moore out wide causing the Bognor defence plenty of problems.
It was no surprise that Moore was involved when Lewes took the lead on 34 minutes, as he out-paced his marker before sending a superb cross in from the left that Pritchard flicked past Hall at the near post.
Lewes saw out the remainder of the first half fairly comfortably, but were dealt a blow when Gondoh was caught by a mistimed high challenge from Calvin Davies right on the stroke of half-time and forced off injured at the break.
Despite this, the Rooks made a reasonably bright start to the second half and came close to extending their lead through Moore, who sent an attempted lob from the edge of the area just wide with Hall beaten.
Bognor grew into the game as the half progressed and were soon on the front foot, forcing errors from the Lewes defence with their high press.
It was this high press that led to their equaliser on 67 minutes, as they won the ball back down the right and worked it into the box where Mather teed up substitute Tommy-Lee Higgs to finish from close range.
The hosts completed their comeback just six minutes later when Mather capitalised on some hesitant defending and burst into the box before being fouled by Arthur Penney.
Gifford took the resulting penalty and blasted it high into the roof of the net to make it 3-2 heading into the closing stages.
Falling behind appeared to galvanise Lewes, who saw Lumbombo-Kalala draw a smart save from Hall with a powerful strike from the edge of the area heading into the final few minutes.
The hosts then had a good chance to seal the win, only for Mather to see his strike saved by Harvey at the end of a purposeful run.
The Rooks missed a gilt-edged chance to level the scores in the final minute of normal time, the unmarked Salmon heading a Pritchard corner wide.
Just as it looked as though Lewes would be consigned to their first defeat of the season, they found an equaliser in the 95th minute, as a deep left-wing cross from Whelpdale was inexplicably headed over Hall and into his own net by substitute Joe Briffa to make it 3-3 and spark wild celebrations behind the goal.
In an end-to-end final minute of injury-time, there was still time for Bognor to have penalty appeals waved away after a strong challenge by Jake Elliott on Joe Rabbetts, before Kieran Murtagh saw a goal-bound effort blocked at the other end as Lewes came close to completing a smash-and-grab raid in West Sussex.
As it was, both sides were left to reflect on a hard-fought point that could easily have been a win for either team on another day.
After the final whistle there was an altercation between both sides that saw two Bognor players see red, along with Lewes Assistant Manager Joe Vines.
Lewes take a break from league action with a trip to Faversham Town in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Bognor Regis Town: Hall, Anderson, Rabbetts, Davies (Higgs 49), Howick (Douglas 49), Robson, De St Croix (Briffa 84), Burgess, Gifford, Mather, Olaniyan.
Unused Subs: Jammeh, Lethbridge.
Booked: Davies, Burgess, Gifford.
Sent-off: Robinson, Douglas
Lewes: Harvey, Elliott, Salmon, Penney, Hughes, Tamplin, Murtagh, Pritchard, Gondoh (Lumbombo-Kalala 46), Moore (Dalling 88), Wood (Whelpdale 81).
Unused Subs: Kuchosa, Panyi.
Booked: Hughes, Penney, Murtagh, Dalling
Attendance: 991