Rocks’ second-half super-show mashes Margate

Shep Muzombedzi about to fire the Rocks level on his debut  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Shep Muzombedzi about to fire the Rocks level on his debut Picture by Tommy McMillan
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It was goals galore - again - at Nyewood Lane as the Rocks from a 1-0 interval deficit to beat Margate 5-3 with goals from debut-making Shepherd Murombedzi, Terry Dodd, Ollie Pearce and James Crane (2).

The Rocks bounced back from their disappointing loss at home to Maidstone United on Tuesday with another five-goal performance - the tenth time this season they have scored four or more in a home game, and restoring them as the Ryman premier division’s top scorers, with 46 league goals.

Loanee Murombedzi - brought in from Reading after Ben Johnson suffered a suspected recurrence of his knee injury - went straight into the first XI to begin his one-month spell at Nyewood Lane.

Almost straight from kick-off Margate’s Matt Bodkin sent in a right-sided cross and Jack Sammoutis went flying in the box as he tried to get to it - but the ball was cleared.

Warren Whiteley beat James Crane on the right before shooting from the corner of the box - but his feeble rolled wide.

Ollie Pearce was brought down by Scott Kinch after just four minutes and the referee showed the player a yellow card.

Terry Dodd hit a shot with his left foot on the turn but it bounced well wide.

Moses Ashikodi beat Stuart Axten by rounding him before shooting low at goal. Mark Zawadski pulled out a low save to deny him.

But Margate scored on eight minutes. A corner led to a goalmouth scramble in the box and the ball eventually fell to Whiteley, who followed it up to smash in a low shot, helped by a deflection.

Things just weren’t working for Bognor as Murombedzi’s early runs were shielded and Craig Robson’s through ball was gathered by keeper Craig Holloway.

Crane won a corner on 16 minutes and Kane Wills’ kick fell to Robson, but the defender sent his header high over the bar.

Wills found Murombedzi on the right and the winger gained some distance with his run before firing a low shot which Holloway claimed.

Another Wills’ corner fell to Murombedzi, who was tripped in the area on 21 minutes. Doug Tuck stepped up for the penalty and struck it low but Holloway made a great save to his left and gathered the rebound.

A great through ball fell to Dodd on the run but the striker’s shot on 26 minutes was at Holloway. Crane headed the ball into the box from a cross-field ball from the right. Neither Pearce nor Dodd could turn the chance into a goal.

Ashikodi hit a fierce shot almost out of nowhere but Zawadski dived to his left to pluck the shot out of the sky. Ashikodi tried his luck again when he smashed a low shot just wide of the post.

Pearce’s spin and shot brought another save by Holloway on 39 minutes. Then a good move saw Wills combine with Crane on the left. After linking with Murombedzi, Wills looped a cross in towards the back post but Holloway gathered.

HT 0-1

A half-time substitution saw Arron Hopkinson replace Dan Kempson for Bognor as they added to their attacking options.

Margate failed to clear their lines on 47 minutes and the ball was in the net. But Pearce’s goal, after a Hopkinson cross, was disallowed for offside after the referee had debated it with his linesman.

But Rocks did equalise a minute later. Murombedzi received the ball on the left and cut inside before firing into the net from the edge of the box - a terrific goal.

Murombedzi was in the thick of the action again when he cut inside to shoot in similar fashion moments later. Holloway was equal to it this time, pushing the ball away for a corner.

Hopkinson’s right-sided cross was deflected for a corner on 55 minutes. The kick eventually fell to Dodd, who smashed home after a pinball game in the box with Robson, Axten and Pearce.

The third came soon after with Pearce outpacing his defender and rounding the goalkeeper before chipping home on 57 minutes.

A long hopeful ball forward from Ryan Dolby saw Walsh have a glancing header dealt with by Zawadski.

Bodkin crossed deep into the box on 67 minutes and Ashikodi hit the side netting with his shot.

Ashikodi had a golden opportunity when he snatched the ball from a poor pass by Zawadski and Wills failed to receive the ball. Ashikodi’s shot rolled wide of the post.

A ball forward by Crane was diverted by Dodd’s boot only narrowly wide on 70 minutes.

Murombedzi hit Margate on the counter attack with a neat through-ball splitting the defence to find Dodd. The striker beat the defence but instead of shooting, played the ball across the area, where no other Bognor players could be found.

Scott Chamberlain replaced scorer Pearce.

Dolby’s cross from the left found Walsh but the defender’s header was straight at Zawadski. Then Sammoutis hit a right-footed shot from outside the box well wide.

Margate did score on 78 minutes when Walsh headed in from another neat left-sided cross to make it 3-2.

But Bognor roared back with a fourth goal a minute later when a through-ball was deflected to Crane, who tapped home from inside the area.

A move which started with Zawadski and Robson at the back eventually saw the ball fall to Wills, who played the ball forward for the onrushing Crane - and he ran through the defence before slotting the ball into the bottom corner on 83 minutes.

Wills smashed a shot over the bar with a driven effort when he was allowed space and time on the edge of the box with Bognor all over Margate. Crane followed this up by looking for his hat-trick, shooting low and forcing a save from Holloway.

Ben Godfrey replaced Dodd to enthusiastic applause from the Rocks faithful on 84 minutes.

Zawadski had to deflect a shot over the bar with his legs after a powerful attempt from the edge of the area as Margate kept going.

Margate did score again in stoppage time when Walsh nodded in from a left-sided corner on the back post.

Rocks: Zawadski, Hinshelwood, Crane, Tuck, Axten, Robson, Murombedzi, Wills, Dodd (Godfrey 84), Pearce (Chamberlain 74), Kempson (Hopkinson HT). Unused sub: Sackman.

LIAM GOODLEY

The Rocks are next in action on Tuesday night when they make the long trip to Leiston.