Bishop’s Stortford 2-2 Bognor Regis Town Match Report 19/9/20
Bishop’s Stortford came from two goals down to secure an opening day draw against 10-man Bognor Regis Town.
The newly named Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division got underway, a month later than usual, with the Blues ending a 193-day wait for competitive action.
Tommy Leigh scored in the first half for the hosts and Jordy Mongoy doubled the lead, before two penalties by Tom Richardson salvaged a point after the visitors appeared to be cruising the game.
The Blues – featuring debutants Jack Giddens, Sam Mvemba, Tom Richardson and Archie Jones – made a fast start, winning a corner in the second minute, that goalkeeper Amadou Tangara got nowhere near, but no Blues player could apply the finishing touch. A foul on Richardson gave Foxley a chance to strike from the free kick, but it was straight at the wall, before Foxley’s right-wing cross was deflected into the path of Jones, but his half-volley was easily saved by Tangara. Ben Marlow won the ball back high up the pitch and took an early shot but it was high and wide, before a cross by Marlow was nearly headed in for an own goal by Keaton Wood. Tangara’s shaky start continued, as he fired an attempted clearance from a long ball out for a throw-in inside the Bognor half. Correy Davidson beat the right back and crossed into the middle but it was headed away, before he got in behind the defence and latched on to Sam Robbins’ long ball, his attempted chip shot was wide of the target with Tangara stranded.
Davidson had a shot from the free kick, but it went high over the bar, before the best chance of the match fell to Foxley, he struck powerfully towards the middle of the goal, but it cannoned off the crossbar and behind for a goal kick. From the next attack Bognor broke the deadlock, after ex-Blue Mongoy was fouled in the build up, referee Michael Robertson-Tant played a great advantage as Tommy Leigh ran through and curled the ball into the top right corner from the edge of the box. Similar to the friendlies against Leyton Orient and Chelmsford City, the Blues made a fast start but couldn’t find the net and were eventually punished. Alfie Stanley nearly doubled the lead with a shot from a tight angle, but Giddens made a good save and it was scrambled clear. Instead of shooting from the next free kick, Foxley chipped over the wall into the path of Richardson, but he couldn’t get there before Tangara had claimed the loose ball. Jones went down in the box, pleading for the penalty but the referee dismissed any appeals, before another poor clearance by Tangara fell to Davidson, but his tame effort was directed straight back to the keeper. As the Blues pushed for the equaliser before the break, the Bognor bodies were flying to block the shots, first from Richardson and then Davidson.
A great through ball by Marlow found Foxley in the box, but his low cross was easily taken by Tangara, before Bognor went up the other end and doubled their lead, Mongoy turned past Robbins on the edge of the box, before chipping the onrushing Giddens and into the empty net. Another free kick brought another taker, this time Ryan Henshaw failed to find the target. A great combination down the left between Leigh and Mongoy looked certain to bring the third goal and kill the game, but for a brilliant tackle and clearance by Thomas. Up the other end, Richardson had another shot blocked, so too did Davidson and Foxley on the rebound. Another free kick failed to get past the wall by Davidson, and on the counter attack it fell to Mongoy who shot, but it was a tame effort straight to Giddens. Stanley made a run through the middle and fed Mongoy with a through ball to the left, but his curling effort went over the bar. Sam Dowdridge made a powerful run down the right and cut in to shoot on his left foot, but a brilliant tackle by Henshaw denied him. Substitute Bradley Lethbridge’s first touch was a poor one, giving it away to Marlow, who laid off to Frankie Merrifield but his shot went wide. Foxley’s throw-in went to Richardson with his back to goal, and as he tried to turn past Harvey Whyte, the Rocks captain hauled him down in the box and the referee did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. Richardson sent Tangara the wrong way and smashed it home from 12 yards, before running to get the ball and take it back to the middle for the restart – game on. A free kick from the half-way was in towards Merrifield, he was appealing for another penalty as he went down before he could take his shot. Marlow crossed from a similar position to the last attack and this time the referee did give a penalty, it was Joe Cook the guilty party this time, and for a second bookable offence he was red carded. Tangara dived the same way and nearly got a hand to it this time, but Richardson’s second penalty was just as powerful as the first and rippled the back of the net. From cruising the game to hanging on for a draw, Bognor were up against it for the last few minutes. Richardson held the ball up on the left wing, turned his man and fired towards the near post, stinging the palms of Tangara, and Louie Johnson’s rebound shot went over the bar. There were strong appeals for a third Blues penalty, when Richardson went down in the box, the referee gave a corner, suggesting that the defender won the ball with a fair tackle. From the corner, Haines headed it back across goal and Merrifield had the chance to seal the victory but couldn’t jump high enough to connect.
The Blues travel to Welwyn Garden City in FA Cup First Qualifying Round action on Tuesday, before hosting Hornchurch in the league on Saturday.
Bishop’s Stortford XI
1 Jack Giddens
3 Sam Mvemba
4 Jack Thomas (Merrifield 59’)
5 Sam Robbins (Yellow card 53’)
6 Ryan Henshaw (c)
7 Correy Davidson (Johnson 63’)
8 Ben Marlow
9 Tom Richardson (Goal pen 79’ pen 83’)
14 Archie Jones
15 Darren Foxley
17 Mark Haines
2 Michael Mullings
10 Frankie Merrifield
12 Joe Gardner
19 Louie Johnson
20 Ben Smith
Bognor Regis Town XI
1 Amadou Tangara
2 Harvey Whyte (c)
3 Calvin Davies
4 Ethan Robb
5 Joe Cook (Yellow card 38’ 83’) (Red card 83’)
6 Keaton Wood
7 Sam Dowdridge (Lethbridge 74’)
8 Ben Mendoza (Yellow card 40’) (Flannigan 61’)
9 Jordy Mongoy (Goal 49’)
10 Tommy Leigh (Goal 24’) (Yellow card 52’)
11 Alfie Stanley (Leigh 85’)
12 Jake Flannigan
14 Bradley Lethbridge
15 Alfie Lis
16 Ashton Leigh
17 Keiran Rowe
By Hamish Arnold