Tom Richardson scores two penalties as Bishop's Stortford come from behind to draw 2-2 with Bognor Regis Town in Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division
Tom Richardson's penalty double earned Bishop's Stortford an opening-day point as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home with 10-man Bognor Regis Town.
The striker, who was making his competitive debut for the Blues, converted twice from the spot to cancel out efforts by Tommy Leigh and Jordy Mongoy in the Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division clash.
Stortford, who are due to visit Welwyn Garden City in the Emirates FA Cup, first qualifying round tonight (September 22), entertain Hornchurch in the league this Saturday (3pm) before also hosting Enfield Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The Blues, who also handed debuts to Jack Giddens, Sam Mvemba and Archie Jones, made a fast start. A foul on Richardson gave Darren Foxley a chance to strike from a free kick but it was straight at the wall, before Foxley's right-wing cross was deflected into the path of Jones and his half-volley was easily saved by Amadou Tangara.
Ben Marlow shot high and wide before his cross was nearly headed in for an own goal by Keaton Wood. Correy Davidson then latched onto Sam Robbins' long ball and his attempted chip was wide of the target with Tangara stranded.
Foxley was thwarted by the woodwork when his powerful shot hit the bar and the Rocks punished them on the counter-attack, Leigh curling the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Alfie Stanley nearly doubled the visitors' lead with a shot from a tight angle, but Giddens made a good save and it was scrambled clear.
Stortford looked to fight back and Jones had penalty appeals waved away before Davidson and Richardson both went close to equalising.
Bognor doubled their lead after the break when former Blue Mongoy turned past Sam Robbins on the edge of the box and chipped the onrushing Giddens.
Some great combination play down the left between Leigh and Mongoy looked certain to bring the third goal and kill the game, but a brilliant tackle and clearance by Jack Thomas kep the Blues in the contest.
Up the other end, Richardson had another shot blocked, as did Davidson and Foxley on the rebound.
Mongoy saw a couple of chances come and go for the away side while Sam Dowdridge was denied by a brilliant tackle from captain Ryan Henshaw.
The Blues pulled a goal back in the 79th minute when Richardson was hauled down in the box by Rocks skipper Harvey Whyte and the forward picked himself up to smash the ball past Tangara from 12 yards.
Then, four minutes later, Joe Cook was penalised for a foul in the area and the Bognor defender was sent off for a second bookable offence. Richardson found the back of the net again from the spot to make it all square, although Tangara did get a hand to it.
The Rocks were hanging on in the closing stages as Richardson stung Tangara's palms and Louie Johnson put the rebound over, Richardson had another penalty appeal turned down and Frankie Merrifield could not jump high enough to connect with the ball from close range.
Blues: Giddens, Mvemba, Thomas (Merrifield 59), Robbins, Henshaw, Davidson (Johnson 63), Marlow, Richardson, Jones, Foxley, Haines. Not used: Mullings, Gardner, Smith.
Bognor: Tangara, Whyte, Davies, Robb, Cook, Wood, Dowdridge (Lethbridge 74), Mendoza, (Flannigan 61), Mongoy, T Leigh, Stanley (A Leigh 85). Not used: Lis, Rowe.