The Rocks have passed their first real test of the strength of their squad – but their bosses admit they need more experience for the big league battles ahead.
They romped to a 5-0 win at Walton Casuals on Tuesday night despite resting Tim Bond, Jason Prior and Ben Johnson.
The players who came in for rare starts – full-backs Darryl Wollers and Jon Marzetti and midfield pair Lewis Ide and Jack Blatchford – all gave good accounts of themselves, and youth-team pair Connor Cody and Aran Liebschner-McCarthy did well when appearing as subsitutes.
The fact such an inexperienced line-up could beat a side from the same division as the Rocks in the Ryman League Cup is heartening, but the management aren’t getting carried away – and are continuing their hunt for experienced heads to bolster their promotion bid.
The cup win was a boost after Saturday brought another setback, a 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Conference South high-flyers Sutton, who were a class above the Rocks.
After a spell of six games in 18 days, which has included four cup games, the Rocks are now anxious to focus on their league campaign – starting with the visit of Whitstable to Nyewood Lane on Saturday.
That’s likely to be a tough one. The Kent side have just parted with their mananger and twice held the Rocks to league draws last season.
Joint Rocks boss Darin Killpartrick said he was pleased with how the new-look side coped at Walton.
“We’ve been dying to take one or two out of the youth team and see how they get on in the first team, but this was the first chance we had to do it,” he said. “Connor is a centre-half who’s comfortable on the ball who I know from Chichester College, while Aran is a promising striker.
“There are others in the youth team, at the college and at Selsey, where we have a link with the college, who we are keen to develop.”
Fellow joint boss Jamie Howell said you couldn’t read too much into one win with a changed side, but acknowledged it was encouraging. He added: “What we’re missing is experience.
“You can put out a side like that in some games and it’s great to see it come together, but we still need more older heads for the big games, for when we play the Suttons or the Whitehawks.”