Rocks Review: Canvey Island 1 Rocks 1

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The Rocks continued their impressive unbeaten away record in the Ryman premier by earning a hard-fought point at Canvey Island.

There was just one change to the side who won at Carshalton in midweek, with Ben Andrews returning to the back four in place of Dan Sackman.

Canvey enjoyed their best crowd of the season so far with 476 coming through the Park Lane turnstiles, boosted not only by the estimated 70-80 supporters following the Rocks but also the national Non-League Day promotion, which attracted fans of numerous Premier League and Football League clubs, as English football’s top two divisions were out of action because of the international break.

Bognor were quick out of the traps, wasting no time in search of an early opener, and an enterprising move in the first few seconds resulted in Dan Kempson’s angled drive blocked by a defender.

In the fourth minute, the hosts had their first chance and Bognor had Craig Stoner to thank - and not for the only time in the first half - when he reacted well to deflect a Bradley Woods-Garness effort around the post.

But in the 17th minute, Bognor were ahead. A Kane Wills free-kick from the right saw Andrews rise through a crowd of players to knock down for the unmarked James Crane, who took one touch before rifling his effort home from ten yards.

In search of a second goal, good work from Kempson on the left saw his low cross just elude Mu Maan from six yards out and Canvey’s Ashley Jones gathered the ball safely.

But Bognor’s lead was shortlived as the hosts levelled in the 24th minute.

Having been denied by Stoner early on, Woods-Garness was determined to get himself on the scoresheet and made no mistake from the edge of the box, firing home an exquisite low volley from Ashley Miller’s cross from the right.

Both teams looked to attack from every opportunity and Mu Maan soon stung the fingers of Jones with a 30-yard piledriver, tipped over the bar.

At the other end, the ball was slid through to Harrison Chatting whose left-foot strike flew over - before Stoner came to the rescue on two occasions.

The Rocks custodian did well to deny Louis Dennis in a one-on-one situation before coming out on top again to block a Woods-Garness effort from a similar attack.

Bognor could have gone in at the break 2-1 up when just seconds before the half-time whistle, Jon Marzetti’s cross was met by the head of the unchallenged Carl Walshe - but he was unable to connect properly with the ball which harmlessly bounced into the grateful arms of Jones.

HT 1-1

Early in the second half, Andrews left the field for treatment following a rash challenge from James Hawes, which earned the home midfielder a booking. Fears the former Brighton defender could become another addition to a lengthy injury list were quickly dispelled as he returned to the action.

The referee waved away appeals for a penalty from Canvey after a Dennis header appeared to strike a hand in the Rocks 18-yard box but the man in black signaled for a corner.

Harvey Whyte - who had a busy afternoon in the Rocks midfield - then had the ball in the net with a perfectly-executed finish from 25 yards, only to be denied by the assistant referee’s flag, which had been raised for offside seconds earlier.

With legs tiring in the visiting line-up, the hosts were stamping a mark of authority in the midfield and went close through Chatting’s well-struck effort which fizzed narrowly over Stoner’s crossbar.

Canvey went even closer just inside the last ten minutes when Dennis arrived at the far post but somehow blasted over from close-range when it seemed much easier to score.

Maan earned himself a late booking for dissent and although the hosts were enjoying the better of proceedings late on, the battling Rocks held on for a point to move them up to sixth place in the Ryman Premier table.

Canvey Island: Jones, Miller, Dumas, Hawes, Hayles, Orlu, Curran, Dobinson, Woods-Garness, Dennis, Chatting. Subs: Mason, Blackwell, Edgar, King, Foster.

Rocks: Stoner, Marzetti (sub Cody 86), Tuck (Stockford 65), Crane, John, Andrews, Whyte, Wills, Walshe, Maan (Chick 89), Kempson. Subs unused: Harper, Boyle.

ROB GARFORTH

* The Rocks are next in action on Tuesday night in a Ryman League Cup tie at Burgess Hill.