Bognor boss gives blunt assessment of below-par home form

Jack Pearce says he is all too aware of the Rocks’ shortcomings – but dealing with them is not proving easy.

James Crane's penalty was all the Rocks had to show for their efforts v Hornchurch / Picture: Chris Hatton
James Crane's penalty was all the Rocks had to show for their efforts v Hornchurch / Picture: Chris Hatton

A 2-1 home defeat to Hornchurch last Saturday means they have taken just nine points from eight home games – in contrast to 16 points picked up from the same number of away games.

Pearce is anxious to improve on their home form to reward fans who have been attending Nyewood Lane in huge numbers this season. But he says there is no quick fix – and the hunt for new players capable of improving the squad is no easier than it ever has been.

Bognor trailed 2-0 a couple of minutes before the break against Hornchurch – with the second goal a shot from the halfway line – before James Crane’s penalty reduced arrears. But the home side couldn’t force an equaliser in the second half.

They go to Haringey on Saturday, and host Corinthian Casuals on Tuesday, desperate to find the greater consistency the fans crave.

Bognor’s average home attendance this season is 724 – the third best in the Isthmian premier – and Pearce doesn’t want to lose any of the support through poor results.

“For me the level of support has been the most encouraging thing this season – I can’t thank people enough for coming along and supporting the team,” he told the Observer.

“But if we want to do anything as a team, home form is paramount, and if we don’t improve it, some of those fans will stop coming.

“Our away form is the second best in the league but on home form only, we’re in the bottom six.

“I can assure supporters I know our weak areas but at the moment I’ve not yet come up with how to solve it.”

Pearce estimated that of his main 16-man squad, only five had performed to a high standard consistently. He said the rest had played well in places but had been up and down.

He added: “We’re looking all the time for new players but there is not a queue of potential signings in our area who are good enough to play at step three.”

Pearce said some of the Rocks’ football was ‘exciting’ but they had to learn the balance between playing to their strengths of a passing game and knowing when to play longer.

* The Rocks have been drawn away to Bexhill in round three of the Sussex Senior Cup, The tie will be played on Wednesday, December 15.