Rocks edge past Chi to lift Community Shield
Bognor Regis Town won the first silverware of the new football season with a narrow victory over Chichester City in the Sussex Community Shield in aid of the NSPCC at Culver Road on Tuesday evening.
The annual curtain raiser pitted Sussex Senior Challenge Cup winners Bognor against Southern Combination Football League (SCFL) champions Chichester City with the added spice of a local derby thrown into the mix.
Chi are set for their first ever season at Isthmian League level having lifted the SCFL Premier Division title last time out and, on this evidence, will not struggle to adapt to their new surroundings.
Despite his side’s victory at Culver Road, Rocks boss Jack Pearce was far from happy at the nature of their win.
Pearce said: “I’m pleased to win, but to be honest I’m disappointed with how we played. We missed too many chances and took the wrong options in possession, we didn’t work their goalkeeper hard enough and, to be fair, I felt he should have saved the one that we scored from.
“We know that you can’t play well every game, but if we play like we did tonight this season will be a struggle. We have looked good in pre-season so it was disappointing to see that level of performance.
“Chichester were a credit to their club tonight, the division gap was not apparent and I wish them well for the season.”
Dan Smith - the ex-Portsmouth player who spent the second half of 2018-19 on loan in Ireland with Cork City - notched the only goal of the game with a neat low finish shortly before the interval.
Jimmy Muitt went close early on for Bognor before Kareem Haitham was denied by Pompey loanee Petar Durin at the other end.
The Rocks stopper was called into action again, this time as he tipped wide from forward Lloyd Rowlatt, and Jamie Horncastle nodded off a post from the resultant corner.
The pendulum swung back Bognor’s way as three openings came and went in as many minutes, all from the boot of that man Muitt.
He smashed over the bar from a Stuart Green cut-back, Ant Ender came to his side’s rescue with a smart stop, and the Bognor number 10 then sliced an opportunity wide from the edge of the box.
The dust had barely settled on that glut of chances before the breakthrough arrived five minutes before the break.
Doug Tuck advanced through midfield and found Smith, whom dropped the shoulder and placed the ball under the reach of Ender to send his side in ahead at the interval.
Chi sub Rory Biggs went close from distance and Scott Jones fizzed over the bar, but the best chance of the second-half fell to Bognor in the closing stages. Muitt linked up with Dan Simmons who seemed poised to score but Ender stretched every sinew to tip his diving header over the bar and keep his team in the contest.
A combination of Bognor’s good game management and a flurry of changes from both sides saw the tie meander to a conclusion, but in the end it is the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup winners that begin the 2019-20 season with silverware already secured in the trophy cabinet!
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and also on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)
Stats: (Bognor Regis Town-Chichester City)
Goals: 1-0; Shots: 8-9; Shots-on-target: 6-5; Corners: 3-4; Fouls: 4-6; Offside: 1-3; Yellow cards: 0-1; Red cards: 0-0.
Bognor Regis Town: Durin, Dandy, Tuck, Leigh, Crane, Read, Wood, Whyte ©, Muitt, Green, Smith.
Subs: McCormack, Searle, Simmons, Dunn, Scutt.
Chichester City: Ender, Heath, Cody ©, Axell, Martin, Clack, Pashley, Horncastle, Rowlatt, Haitham, Overton.
Subs: Jones, Hutchings, Biggs, Peake, Lewis.
Match report by Jamie Spoor