THE Rocks under-18s – aka the Pebbles – clinched the Ryman Youth League title in style by beating Whitehawk 4-0.
They started the game playing up the hill and in the first 20 minutes Whitehawk pumped balls into the box which the defensive unit dealt with.
The Pebbles settled and started to play some decent football, and neat play by Lloyd Rowlatt and Joe Ashmore released Will Stone, who slotted home his tenth goal of the season.
Five minutes before half-time it was 2-0, again Rowlatt pulling the strings for a reverse pass that played in Callam Overton.
They knew attacking downhill would be easier – and were aware the three points to clinch the prize were in touching distance.
Minutes in it was 3-0 as Ben Mendoza beat the full-back down the Pebbles right to cut inside and deliver a back-post cross for George Cody to tap in.
On the hour, manager Dan Cox made a triple substitution. Off came Ashmore, Overton and Stone to be replaced by Tom Atkinson, Ben Mepham and Tyler Nightingil.
It was 4-0 on 65 minutes. Cody, now playing on the right, received the ball on the halfway line, cut inside and 35 yards out hit a rocket into the Whitehawk net.
With news coming in that Burgess Hill had drawn 1-1 with Worthing, it confirmed that Bognor had won the club their first Ryman Youth League championship.
On Saturday, a few days after the crucial win, the players were introduced to fans at the senior Rocks’ game with Margate and got a great reception from the 464-strong crowd (see video above).
I’d be surprised if any team in our league wouldn’t say we didn’t deserve to win it this season.Dan Cox
Delighted manager Cox said: “The boys set out from pre-season to win this league and we have. I’d be surprised if any team in our league wouldn’t say we didn’t deserve to win it this season.
“We have played attacking, attractive football all season but have also been disciplined in our defensive duties. The league stats don’t lie with the most goals scored, fewest goals concerned and we are undefeated in 17 league games.
“We’d like to say a massive thank-you to everyone that has watched or travelled all over Sussex to watch us this season – without your support this dream wouldn’t have been possible for me, Luke Cooper and the boys.”