Rocks Review: Rocks 5 Bury Town 1

editorial image

A second-half goal glut carried the Rocks to their biggest league win of the season - and their second five-goal haul of the week.

It was 1-1 and evenly-balanced midway through the second half before goals from Ashley-Paul Robinson, Lewis Stockford and James Crane (2) put it out of sight.

Earlier Terry Dodd’s superb strike gave the Rocks an interval lead which was cancelled out soon after the break by John Sands.

It follows the Rocks’ 5-0 county cup win at Selsey in midweek and strengths their position near the top of the table, in which they sit proudly in fourth place.

There was a rare chance for first-choice strike pair Robinson and Dodd to start together up front - both have missed chunks of the season through injury.

The Rocks conceded but survived a first-minute corner in a relatively-quiet opening to proceedings on a chilly afternoon.

Matt Partridge - playing at left-back in place of Daryl Wollers - came to the Rocks’ rescue by heading clear a dangerous cross before Mark Coulson fizzed a shot just over Craig Stoner’s bar.

The first threat from the Rocks came on eight minutes when Partridge got forward to meet Jon Marzetti’s cross with a firm header that forced Town keeper Marcus Garnham into a good save.

Bognor were coming into the game nicely and Stockford twisted and turned just outside the area to strike a shot just wide after Harvey Whyte had an effort blocked.

Partridge was at the centre of everything for the home side and one surging run into enemy territory ended with a pass to Dodd being deflected away from the striker by a defender.

Bury broke quickly to win a corner from which Craig Parker volleyed over.

Dodd felt he should have had a free-kick after being challenged heavily 30 yards out but nothing was given.

The Rocks were enjoying plenty of possession in the Bury half but their final ball was letting them down - something that has been a familiar problem at home this season.

Some neat build-up play just before the half-hour mark ended in Robinson chipping a ball to meet Crane - named November player of the month before the game - as he ran into the box, but keeper Garnham was quickly out to gather before he could turn and shoot.

Lee Reed’s inswinging free-kick from the right caused panic in the Rocks defence as Evan Key beat Stoner to it, but with home appeals for offside falling on deaf ears, a defender cleared the Bury man’s effort off the line.

At the other end the home fans were vociferous in demanding a free-kick when they felt Garnham had carried the ball outside the box in collecting a long ball.

Bury were winning plenty of corners, but the Rocks back-line stood firm.

There was another set-up from Robinson for Crane on 36 minutes, but the midfielder’s header from the striker’s curling cross from the left touchline drifted wide after he failed to get a decent connection.

The Rocks had their best chance of the half on 38 minutes when Garnham could only palm a Kane Wills cross into the path of Stockford, who sidestepped a defender before arrowing a shot goalwards and seeing the keeper tip his effort over for a corner which was cleared.

The Rocks took the lead in spectacular fashion four minutes before the break. A flowing five-man passing move ended with the ball sitting up nicely for Dodd, whose shot from just outside the area flew into the top corner beyond the reach of Garnham.

There was no catching Dodd as he raced away to celebrate with the Rocks staff in the dugout.

Bury fancied their chances of a quick equaliser when John Sands raced clear down the right but he shot early and Stoner dived to hold the shot.

Partridge had had an excellent first half and might have capped it with a goal but he shot high and wide when he found space for an effort on goal from 25 yards.

HT 1-0

Crane ventured into the box for a dipping shot that ended up a comfortable take for Garnham a couple of minutes into the second half.

Bognor controlled the opening stages of the half but were still struggling to work the keeper.

Dodd almost doubled his and the Rocks’ tally for the afternoon when he rattled the bar with a fierce shot nine minutes into the second half.

Bury equalised out of nowhere on 56 minutes. Robinson lost possession just inside the Bury half and Sam Reed needed no second invitation to race away with the ball and run at the defence. His low shot was well saved by Stoner but the rebound left Sands with a simple tap-in.

Bury made an enforced change, bringing on Billy Clark for Lee Reed, who had picked up a knock.

Sands should have put Bury ahead five minutes later when the Rocks were again guilty of giving the ball away - this time halfway inside their own half. Parker bore down on Stoner and rolled a pass to Sands, who sidefooted wide when it looked almost as easy for him to score as it had done when he had equalised.

The Rocks came back strongly at their visitors and Stockford forced Garnham to beat away his low shot at the near post on 65 minutes after swapping passes with Whyte.

Robinson restored the Rocks’ lead on 67 minutes, taking a touch before firing home a low shot that seemed to take a deflection in beating Garnham. Dodd did the hard work, chasing a long ball down the right, controlling it and cutting in to find his strike partner with a well-placed pass.

A second Bury change involved Alicion Blake replacing Luke Ingram.

The Rocks made their first change four minutes after their second goal, Dan Beck coming on for Whyte.

A lovely long pass from the left by Stockford almost put Crane in on goal but he couldn’t quite reach it before it went out for a goal-kick.

Ollie Pearce replaced goalscorer Robinson with 14 minutes left, the striker possibly having tired as he continues his route back to full fitness.

Sub Blake forced Stoner into a sharp low save on 79 minutes after running at the defence down the inside-right channel.

Pearce was getting stuck in and brought an excellent save out of Garnham with a rasping shot from the angle of the area that might have crept in at the near post.

Stockford gave the Rocks a two-goal cushion with seven minutes left and like Dodd’s earlier effort, it was a superb strike. He exchanged passes with Partridge wide on the left and then danced past two defenders and crashed a shot past Garnham and in off the far post.

Stockford (pictured by Tommy McMillan at the top of this article celebrating his goal) was deservedly named man of the match minutes later.

Wollers came on for Dodd, while Bury also made their final substitution by replacing Key with Jordan Patrick.

Bury’s defence were falling apart and with two minutes left, Pearce picked up possession centrally just outside the area and played in Crane, who cut back to wrongfoot his defender and fire a low left-foot shot into the corner with the keeper motionless.

Two minutes later Crane cemented his place as top scorer with another - the Rocks’ fifth - when he chased a long ball over the top, kept it in by the goal-line and moved towards the goal before rifling a shot past a hopelessly-exposed Garnham.

His double took his tally to the season for ten - four more than the next highest scorer, Robinson.

There was just time for Stockford to try for his second with a drive from an acute angle that Garnham parried away for a corner.

Rocks: Stoner, Marzetti, Partridge, Crane, Axten, John, Whyte, Wills, Dodd, Robinson, Stockford. Subs: Beck, Wollers, Pearce, Kempson, Boyle.

Bury: Garnham, Short, Coulson, Key, Nunn, Bullard, Sands, Parker, S Reed, L Reed, Ingram, Subs: Patrick, Blake, Clark, Rossis.

Att: 425

Report by Steve Bone

Here are the match highlights

Here is the latest Ryman premier table and the latest results in the division

Get all the latest from Nyewood Lane in the Bognor Observer - out every Thursday