Rocks back in play-off zone with Thamesmead win

Terry Dodd scored what proved the winning goal against Thamesmead            Picture by Tommy McMillan
Terry Dodd scored what proved the winning goal against Thamesmead Picture by Tommy McMillan

The Rocks recorded their seventh win in a row as two quickfire goals at the end of the first half saw them take all three points on a rather churned-up pitch at Nyewood Lane.

The victory put them back into the top five on a day when only two games in the division were able to be played - with the Bognor groundstaff deserving major praise for their work to enable this game to go ahead.

The Rocks managed to borrow goalkeeper Anthony Ender again, with Chichester City among many victims of another soggy Sussex Saturday.

Early on, Paul Hinshelwood made a run down the right - but the visitng defence stopped him in his tracks.

James Crane’s attempted cross from the left was partially cleared on four minutes but the ball fell to Arron Hopkinson, who took a few touches before blasting well over from just inside the box.

Hopkinson followed up seconds later with another cross but goalkeeper Sam Mott claimed it.

Bognor gave away a seemingly avoidable free-kick just outside the D. Derek Duncan stepped up to neatly curl the ball over the wall and into the bottom corner to take the lead on seven minutes.

Ollie Pearce pounced to force a great save by Mott and win a corner. Kane Wills’ kick was well headed clear by masked captain Junior Baker.

On a pitch that was cutting up, Bognor struggled to hold on to the ball in defence and Shamir Mullings threatened on ten minutes but couldn’t make it count.

Wills ran through with no marker and in plenty of space to cross, but Pearce couldn’t quite get to it near the back post.

Bognor failed to hold on to the ball and Tommy Whitnell curled a shot high over the bar from over 25 yards.

Crane won a corner down the left on 29 minutes. Wills’ kick found Craig Robson but his attempt was blocked and cleared.

On 31 minutes, good work from Pearce allowed him to cross from the left. Dodd headed the ball low towards goal but Baker cleared off the line.

Bognor’s equaliser came from a corner by Wills on 32 minutes. His driven cross found Crane, who rose above the defence to glance a header into the bottom corner.

Now the Rocks were flying and Hopkinson’s run down the left allowed him to swing the ball towards goal, forcing Mott to push the ball away.

Fantastic play from Bognor saw Wills chip the ball over the top to Pearce. His cross found Dodd but his shot was saved.

A right-wing cross by Dodd found Pearce unmarked but Mott managed to block him at the last moment.

Bognor took the lead on 41 minutes. A cross from Wills fell to Pearce and after his effort was saved, Dodd poked home from close range with the loose ball.

Whitnell struck a left-footed shot into the arms of Ender with half-time beckoning.

HT 2-1

Doug Tuck looked offside but was allowed to turn and smash a shot goalwards but Mott was equal to it.

Pearce got to the byline to get a cross in and it fell to Hopkinson, but his attempt sailed over the bar.

Then Hopkinson’s cross found Wills but his left-footed attempt flew well wide.

Crane combined with Wills down the left and passed to Pearce. The striker managed to win a free-kick near the corner flagand it was played to Dodd, who smashed a shot over the bar.

Striker Shamir Mullings ran through on the counter-attack for the visitors and Scott Chamberlain picked up a nasty knock while defending. The physio was straight onto the field to tend to him.

Goalkeeper Ender was tested on 60 minutes by a low shot before Daryl Wollers replaced the injured Chamberlain.

Dan Sackman blasted an attempt at goal from the edge of the area. A defender headed the ball over.

Great work from Jay Porter down the left for the visitors led to Kamara curling a shot narrowly wide on 70 minutes.

Pearce, with his back to goal, hooked a shot over his head but the ball flew high over the bar.

Pearce won possession and passed to Crane, who cut inside to try his luck. His low drive was a few feet wide of the post.

Duncan was spoken to by the referee for clumsily bringing down Hopkinson on 82 minutes but didn’t receive a booking.

Dodd was replaced by Dan Thompson on 83 minutes. The striker had put in another good shift.

A through ball into the penalty area saw Robson stretch and stick awkwardly in the turf, appearing to hurt himself, but he got back up and carried on.

Thamesmead threw their goalkeeper forward for a free-kick at the death, but it came to nothing and the points were the Rockss’.

ROCKS: Ender, Hinshelwood, Crane, Chamberlain, Sackman, Robson, Hopkinson, Wills, Dodd, Pearce, Tuck. Subs: Kempson, Godfrey, Wollers, Thompson.

LIAM GOODLEY

The Rocks are next in action at Hampton and Richmond next Saturday.