Town Climb Over Rocks

Bognor Regis Town 2 Enfield Town 4

Report by Andrew Warshaw

A sublime Marcus Wyllie hat-trick and a Sam Youngs penalty ensured three momentous points on the Sussex coast that extended our unbeaten league run against a Bognor side that had only lost twice at home in the league.

The celebrations at the end of a pulsating encounter showed just what it meant to the players as we remained in third spot with six games remaining.

Bognor may have been without four key players but have been excellent at home and the management’s game plan of splitting the central defenders where possible worked a treat.

It was always going to be a case of outscoring the opposition and even though they equalised twice and battled hard even when pegged back to 4-2, we were committed to a man and ran out deserved winners to set up a blockbuster of a derby with Cheshunt on Easter Monday – our first home league game since the death of our beloved Dave Bryant.

With Lewis Taaffe unfit, Ollie Turney came in for his starting debut and we were ahead within four minutes as namesake Ollie Knight’s penetrating cross was diverted home by Marcus.

It was clear early on that Bognor’s dangermen were Lucas Pattenden on the wing and Matt Burgess in midfield and they set up the large majority of the Rocks’ openings.

In a whirlwind start by both teams, Rhys Forster had already saved from Pattenden when the referee adjudged the Bognor man had his shirt pulled by Joe Payne. Up stepped  Tommy-Lee Higgs to shoot low and hard and in off Forster’s diving boot

That was on 11 minutes and goals kept coming. Ten minutes later, a routine Bognor clearance was blocked by Ollie Knight and although the ball fell kindly to Marcus, he still had an awful lot to do as he rounded Joe Rabbetts before keeping his composure to fire past Ryan Hall (pictured).

Mickey Parcell went into the book for a late challenge but the entertainment continued. Three times we tried to lob the keeper and twice Marcus got himself into a shooting position, only to stray offside.

But Bognor aren’t strong at home for nothing and once again restored parity on 31 minutes as  Harvey White, on his return from injury, stormed forward unmarked to smash home a corner as we switched off.

Once again, however, it wasn’t long before we caught the hosts out again as Sam Youngs shouldered the ball into the path of Marcus who this time was onside and slotted home.

Right on halftime, a glorious cross-field ball from Turner picked out Dylan Adjei-Hersey but his 40-yarder  was always rising before Bognor’s Whyte had to come off deep into stoppage time with a foot injury.

H-t 2-3

Every Town fan in the ground knew we needed a fourth to take the sting out of Bognor  and it duly arrived on 51 minutes.  When no Bognor outfield player reacted fast enough to an Ollie Knight run, Hall tried to block him but instead proceeded to bring him down.  Youngs of course made no mistake from the penalty spot but had to strike it perfectly beyond the keeper’s diving reach.

Marcus so nearly had his fourth when Bognor were again exposed in a dangerous area but despite beating the keeper shot against the post.  In fact he may well have had five, hitting the other post when it seemed harder to miss.

As Bognor rallied with a decent spell, Pattenden’s cross flashed across the goal with no teammate to convert, the same player then blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy and Forster spread himself to keep out Higgs.

But with a two-goal cushion Town were not to be denied, switching to five at the back late on to see out the game, a credit to players and management alike for a terrific team effort especially in the first half.

“We looked at their home record and it’s a massive performance,” said Gavin Macpherson. “Sometimes the players don’t listen properly, sometimes the management team get it wrong. Today, everyone came together having done our homework and Marcus’ goals typified how we wanted to go about things.  We knew they were an expansive side and it was no fluke.”

“Bognor have a young talented side especially down the flanks so we needed to be right at it.  Okay there were a couple of bumps in the road but offensively we did the job we came to do.”

“It’s still in our hands which is very different to chasing.  Hopefully we can get into the playoffs with momentum and give ourselves a chance.”

Now on to Cheshunt who will have had far longer to prepare, their Saturday fixture having been called off whilst we have only 48 hours to get ready.

“It obviously doesn’t work in our favour but I can’t change it. It’s the way the cards have been dealt,” said Gavin. “But if Cheshunt are focussing their entire season on playing us, then it’s not been a great season for them.”


Forster; Tanner, McKenzie, Tanner, Payne; Adjei-Hersey, Turner (Okotcha, 77), Thomas (Alves, 86), Youngs, Knight; Wyllie (Cass, 91)