Former Bognor star Ben Johnson grabs first Fleetlands goal

Former Bognor Regis star Ben Johnson was on target as Fleetlands took another big step towards possible Wessex League football next season.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 9th February 2020, 8:29 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 1:58 pm
Ben Johnson, left, during his days at Bognor Regis. Picture: Tommy McMillan
Ben Johnson, left, during his days at Bognor Regis. Picture: Tommy McMillan

Johnson recently came out of retirement to sign for the Hampshire Premier League club, and scored his first goal at the weekend in a 2-1 success at Liss.

‘We bumped into Ben at a wedding reception,’ said Coptermen boss Rich Bessey.

‘He decided to come out of retirement and we’re delighted.

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‘He had problems with the ligaments in both of his knees, but his goal at Liss was a moment of class - a cheeky, delicate chip.’

That gave the visitors the lead, but it looked as if lowly Liss would grab a point when ex-Fleetlands striker Jake Pepall levelled with eight minutes to go.

But full-back Perry Easton won it in the 88th minute with a shot which beat his former Fleetlands colleague Derek Harding and went in off a post.

‘As Perry was coming forward Derek was shouting ‘he’s all right foot, he’s all right foot’, said Bessey.

‘Perry IS all right foot, but he switched the ball onto his left and whacked one past Derek. It was a great goal.’

Bessey, a former Liss boss, admitted he was worried pre-match as he was minus several regulars.

They included goalkeeper Josh Whitehead, who had injured himself trying to save a penalty in the previous week’s home loss to Paulsgrove, and striker Shane Flooks.

In addition, top scorer Matt Andrews was still hampered by a recent hip injury and had to come off in the second half.

Bessey’s former assistant manager, Brad Hansler, answered an SOS to replace Whitehead in goal. And he might be asked to don the gloves again against Sway next weekend.

Fleetlands have also lost recent signing Tom Froggatt to Baffins Milton before he had even played a game for the club.

‘I can’t really blame Tom,’ said Bessey. ‘It would have been nice to have had him in the team, but you can’t say ‘no’ when a team from two divisions higher comes in for you.’