Five-star Rocks’ fantasy Island thrashing

Harvey Whyte gets past two Canvey Island opponents  Picture by Louise Adams C131218-2
Harvey Whyte gets past two Canvey Island opponents Picture by Louise Adams C131218-2
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A five-star performance saw the Rocks hammer Canvey Island on an afternoon capped by Ben Johnson’s long-awaited return from injury, which he topped off with a goal.

There were joyous scenes at a sun-baked Nyewood Lane, where the home fans were happy to see Johnson on the teamsheet, let alone coming on and putting the icing on the cake with their fifth goal. The winger had been out since last September with an nterior cruciate ligament injury.

He scored after goals by Craig Robson, Ben Godfrey, Kane Wills and Terry Dodd had already secured the Rocks’ second straight home win.

Early on Ollie Pearce went to ground after a shoulder barge from Nicky Humphrey. Nothing was given as the ball bounced off for a throw-in.

Arron Hopkinson won a free-kick after being tugged back down the right. Doug Tuck’s kick was cleared instantly.

On-loan defender Alex Malins moved forward from right-back to get a cross in but it was dealt with by the visiting goalkeeper.

Hopkinson won another free-kick in identical circumstances which Tuck swing in to force Brightley into a two-handed save.

The Rocks scored on nine minutes when Wills’ corner from the left found Robson, who nodded low into the net - his third goal of the season, all from Wills corners.

Canvey won a corner on the right after a blocked attempt from John Curran on 12 minutes though nothing came from it. Then Godfrey was set through on goal by Pearce - but the striker’s shot was blocked off by a defender.

A handball saw the Rocks win a free-kick around 30 yards out. A touch by Wills set up Pearce who steamed in with a powerfully-driven attempt - forcing Brightley to push the ball away.

Godfrey made it 2-0 on 16 minutes. James Crane set him up with a neat pass and he striker struck the ball sweetly, curling the ball into the top corner. Ashley Dumas’ shot from 20 yards rolled wide before Harvey Whyte received a yellow card for a foul on 21 minutes.

Hopkinson’s run saw him latch on the end of a high lofted pass by Whyte but his cross was cleared.

Tyron Smith smashed his shot miles over for Canvey, then Hopkinson’s cross almost let Wills in on goal.

Dumas was found by Curran on 41 minutes on the left and his cross flashed across goal.

HT: 2-0

A half time substitution for the visitors saw James Hawes replace Louis Boucott.

Pearce was fouled on 47 minutes in the Canvey half. Pearce’s shot from the free-kick was instantly blocked by Spencer Bellotti.

Bellotti’s attempted cross from the right fell straight into the grateful arms of Zawadski on 50 minutes.

Bognor continued to be the superior side and Wills beat the offside trap to the puzzlement of the Canvey defence to speed into the box and round Brightley before tapping in on 54 minutes.

Bellotti was replaced by Emeite Onwubiko on 57 minutes, then Dodd replaced Pearce a minute later.

Canvey’s final substitution saw Humphre replaced by Ellis Sands on 61 minutes.

Canvey were awarded a free-kick that led to home keeper Mark Zawadski having to punch the ball clear.

Dodd snatched the fourth on 64 minutes. He slotted the ball into the bottom corner after beating the defence and surprising everybody with his shot from a tight angle.

Whyte struck a 30-yard effort over the bar on 69 minutes and then Jon Marzetti had to head clear from a dangerous cross from the right.

James Hawes received a yellow card on 75 minutes after tripping Godfrey. The free-kick around 35 yards out came to nothing.

Johnson came on for Hopkinson on 76 minutes to a standing ovation from the Rocks faithful. He was soon creating problems for the visitors, swinging one ball into the box that Wills couldn’t quite get to.

Zawadski had to deal with an attempt down the other end - gathering the ball at chest height on 83 minutes after a cross.

Another cross from the right found Zawadski again minutes later - the goalkeeper doing very well to scupper any chance for Canvey late on.

Wills set up Dodd on 85 minutes but Dodd’s ball across the box was deflected away by a defender.

Johnson looked dangerous and swung in a curling shot that forced a fingertip save from Brightley.

Then Johnson capped a fantastic return with the fifth goal - he nodded home from a brilliant cross from close range to end a sensational afternoon at Nyewood Lane.

The win moves the Rocks up to 14th in the premier division and sets them up nicely for their next match, at Billericay next Saturday.

Rocks: Zawadski, Malins, Crane (Marzetti 66), Tuck, Axten, Robson, Hopkinson (Johnson 76), Wills, Godfrey, Whyte, Pearce (Dodd 64). Unused subs: Wollers, Boyle.

LIAM GOODLEY