Crane the hero as Rocks make it two wins from two

Ollie Pearce, Stuart Green, Jason Prior and Gary Charman all shone for the Rocks at Staines / Picture by Tim Hale

Ollie Pearce, Stuart Green, Jason Prior and Gary Charman all shone for the Rocks at Staines / Picture by Tim Hale

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James Crane was the Rocks hero at both ends as they won 1-0 at Staines to make it six points from sixin the Ryman premier.

He smashed in the game’s only goal from close range nine minutes into the second - then twice headed off the line as the former Conference South side searched for an equaliser.

The 1-0 win follows Saturday’s 4-3 success over Merstham at Nyewood Lane and leaves Jamie Howell’s side third in the early table - a far cry from last season when we were well into September before they were celebrating their second victory.

With Pompey youngsters Chad Field and Snorre Nilsen in the starting line-up in place of Sami El-Abd, who is struggling with injury, and Alex Parsons, Bognor started on the back foot and could have been behind within 20 seconds. Shamir Mullings was put through on goal but was denied by an excellent save by Grant Smith.

A couple of minutes later, Jeremy Boakye’s 20-yard shot was well saved by Smith after a succession of corners.

Gradually Bognor got themselves into the game and Stuart Green - a handful all night - forced a decent stop from keeper Jack Turner. Ollie Pearce and Green then combined to force a corner. That fell to Gary Charman and he wasn’t far off his second Rocks goal in two games with a well-timed volley.

It was an open game, end to end, and Green and Pearce were proving the Rocks dangermen.

It was an open game, end to end, and Green and Pearce were proving the Rocks dangermen.

Jason Prior used his aerial power to good effect in clearing a couple of home corners. A 0-0 scoreline at the interval was fair.

Bognor came out after the break looking dangerous and Green sent a fine header just over from a Pearce free-kick.

At the other end Smith saved from a Michael Kalu shot after a neat Staines build-up.

Pearce set up Green for a shot that went out for a corner, then Smith saved well again from Boakye.

The goal came on 54 minutes when Jake Thomson’s corner was cleared to Pearce, who beat a couple of players before firing it into the goalmouth where Crane beat Green to the loose ball and fired in from a couple of yards out.

Staines had plenty of possession after that but didn’t work Smith too hard.

Daryl Wollers defended extremely well with some last-ditch tackles, Craig Robson and Field were solid in the centre and Crane cleared two home efforts off the line, while Nilsen did well in midfield.

The only frustration for the Bognor management team would have been a failure by their team to keep possession and take pressure off themselves as the clock ticked down.

Alex Parsons and Harvey Whyte came on for Charman, who is feeling his way back to full fitness afrer nine months out of football, and Pearce - who looked like he was hobbling - as Bognor held on for the points to the delight of the travelling fans.

Next up for Bognor is a trip to Canvey Island on Saturday.

Rocks: Smith, Crane, Wollers, Charman (Parsons), Field, Robson, Green, Thomson, Prior, Pearce (Whyte), Nilsen. Subs not used: Horncastle, El-Abd.

Report by SIMON COOK

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