Promotion-chasing Rocks are ordered to relax

The Rocks can follow up their seven-goal super-show with more home success '“ as long as they relax.

James Crane celebrates one of his two goals against Folkestone / Picture by Kate Shemilt
James Crane celebrates one of his two goals against Folkestone / Picture by Kate Shemilt

After scoring seven in one half to flatten Folkestone last Saturday, Jamie Howell’s team now have another two Nyewood Lane outings to try to strengthen their promotion bid.

Both are against in-form teams, with Canvey Island – who have won their past five games – in town on Saturday and Leiston, who have moved up to fourth place, coming next Tuesday.

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Howell felt Saturday’s goal feast showed what his team were capable of when they relaxed – and said he wanted to see more of it over the remaining games.

Bognor actually trailed 1-0 at half-time after a below-par first-half display, and only once they made it 3-1 in the 77th minute did they play their best attacking football – going on to score another four in 11 minutes in the process.

They go into their final seven games with skipper Dan Beck a major doubt.

The midfielder will miss Saturday’s game after a recurrence of his hip problem forced him off against Folkestone and he may struggle to feature again this term.

Howell said: “It was a surreal game on Saturday. We went a goal down every early, which has happened too often this season, but worked hard to get back into it. But it was only really when we went 3-1 up that the shackles came off.

“Before that Dan Lincoln had made a couple of excellent saves – that’s why he was man of the match again – but the third goal gave us the confidence to play the sort of football we know we can.

“It shows we need to relax and remember how we got where we are now.

“You can’t play fluent, attacking football all the time but we must remember what we are capable of, and try to enjoy our football.

“We need to do that and see where it takes us.”

Coach Darin Killpartrick said: “I’d never experienced a game like last Saturday’s in my career.

“It’s all about being unforgiving in both boxes.

“Every game from now on is a cup final – every game will be tricky.”

The hammering of Invicta left Bognor two points clear at the top, and Havant lost their game in hand at Dulwich Hamlet. That leaves both sides with seven games left – including their Easter Monday showdown at Havant’s West Leigh Park.

Beck may not feature much, or at all, in the run-in after his hip problem forced him out of last weekend’s game.

Howell said: “He has been playing with the problem and we need to get to the bottom of it. He’s been manfully carrying on but has probably been operating at only 60 or 70 per cent. It’s only fair to him to get it sorted.

“He won’t play on Saturday but could play again this season.”

Beck is the only man in the treatment room although winger Alex Parsons and centre-half Sami El-Abd are being monitored with minor thigh and neck problems.

Defender Chad Field has another two games of a three-match ban to serve.

The Folkestone win saw four different players on the scoresheet and, at one stage, four different strikers on the pitch – and the contributions of subs Jimmy Muitt and Jimmy Wild have given Howell plenty to ponder as he plots his line-up for Saturday.


Get the first reports from the Canvey and Leiston games on this website

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