Leyton Pennant continued their opening day hoodoo with their third opening day defeat in four years.
The day was a combination of bad luck and bad defending as they lost to a moderate Bognor team.
Goalkeeper Clark Wells made his senior debut and Bradley Quinn who had three games on loan last season played his first game as a full time Leyton Pennant player — they were both to remember the day for all the wrong reasons.
Leyton Pennant almost snatched the lead on 12 minutes when a cross into the box was headed back by Billy Cove to Che Stadhart whose header flew past keeper Mathews and onto the post.
A few minutes later Mathews had another decision go his way. A good ball by Sid Nelson sent Cove free and as the keeper came outside his area he made a lunge at the forward. The referee awarded a free kick and booked the keeper. He might have sent him off on another day.
On 20 minutes Bognor must have known it was to be their day. A ball into the Pennant box saw Paul Salmon turned inside out and Bognor’s striker fired in a shot to give the visitors the lead.
But seven minutes later came the equaliser. Salmon’s free kick was blocked by the wall and the ball was played back in by Jason Gerraghty. Mathews punched clear but the ball flew off at a right angle and Billy Read appeared in time to sidefoot into an empty net.
Pennant went close on a number of occasions in the opening 20 minutes of the second period. Read curled a shot just wide and a reverse pass from Cove sent the same player away for a one on one with Mathews. The giant goalkeeper did well to make the save. Finally, an excellent move ended with Gerraghty’s cross almost forcing an own goal.
McLean sent Stadhart away and Mathews again did well to save his snap shot on the run and a few minutes later, Read sent in a shot with the outside of his right foot that easily beat Mathews but bounced behind off the bar.
Then came the second giveaway goal for the visitors. A ball across the box saw a Leyton Pennant defender and Bognor forward take a tumble, the ball ran to keeper Wells who seemed to have it but allowed it to roll past him to a Bognor forward who netted easily.
Cove then had to leave the field with a suspected break of two fingers – he was replaced by Riley before the home side’s misery was complete when after a skirmish involving Quinn and a Bognor player where both threw punches – the home side’s man was shown the red card and inexplicably the visitor the yellow.