An abject display saw Lewes suffer a heavy defeat at Sussex rivals Bognor, as the Rooks were made to pay for a slow start against their promotion-chasing hosts reports Tom Harper.
Darren Freeman made two changes to the side that had lost 2-0 at home to Enfield in their previous game, with Alex Laing and Trevor McCreadie replacing Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe and George Landais in the starting line-up.
Bognor got off to a bright start and hit the woodwork early on, with Jason Prior sending a far-post header from a deep Stuart Green cross against the top of the bar. The hosts did not have to wait long to take a deserved early lead though, as Prior was left unmarked to powerfully head home a corner from close range after just 12 minutes.
Prior doubled his and Bognor’s tally just four minutes later, as he sent a well-struck free-kick past Chris Winterton and into the bottom corner. There was an element of controversy about the goal however, with Phil Appiah having appeared to win the ball in a strong challenge on the edge of the area for which the free-kick was awarded.
The hosts were continuing to look the better side all over the pitch and should have extended their lead within minutes, with Chike Kandi forcing Winterton into a smart save at his near post after out-pacing Stacey Freeman down the left. Lewes came into the game a bit more in the lead-up to half-time, and saw both Laing and Henry Muggeridge force comfortable saves from Grant Smith in the host’s goal with speculative efforts.
The Rooks started the second half brightly and saw McCreadie send a long-range effort just over the bar as they looked to find an unlikely route back into the game. Bognor continued to pose a far greater threat going forward, with Prior having a towering header acrobatically cleared off the line by the covering Alex Malins.
The hosts were able to increase their lead just after the hour, as Alex Parsons beat Leon Redwood to a long ball forward and teed up Prior for a simple close-range finish into the bottom corner to complete his hat-trick.
Unsurprisingly, the game began to peter out at this stage, with Lewes unable to force Smith into meaningful action and Bognor content to sit on their three-goal lead whilst continuing to enjoy the majority of possession.
Bognor added a fourth goal in the final minute of normal time through substitute Ollie Pearce, who was on hand to convert a low cross from virtually on the goal-line and seal an emphatic win for the hosts.
The Rooks briefly rallied in stoppage time and saw Charlie Coppola denied a first senior goal by a smart save from Smith on an otherwise disappointing afternoon for the impressive number of Lewes supporters who made the short journey to West Sussex.
Next up for Lewes is a home game against Merstham on Saturday, kick-off at 3pm.
Bognor Regis Town: Smith, Crane, Wollers, Tuck, Field, Robson, Parsons (Rutherford 71), Beck, Prior, Kandi, Green (Pearce 64).
Unused Subs: Whyte, El-Abd, Boughton.
Lewes: Winterton, Brinkhurst, Redwood, Appiah (Coppola 69), Freeman, Malins, Muggeridge, Cotton, McCreadie, Fraser (Ben El-Mhanni 26), Laing (Landais 78).
Unused Subs: Breach, Carey.
Referee: William Bull