Rocks Review: Margate 3 Rocks 0 ... two more depart from squad

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Bognor’s disastrous run of league form continued at Margate against a side with a realistic chance of making the play-offs.

And the Rocks’ weekend didn’t get any better when it was revealed former skipper Ben Andrews and goalkeeper Nick Jordan were the latest two players to leave Nyewood Lane.

The game at Margate was in some doubt just hours before kick-off but the referee ruled the pitch playable - although the surface was very difficult for both sides.

With the Rocks still suffering from the hangover of sickness in the squad and on-going injuries, it was always going to be a difficult game and within the first minute, Margate nearly took the lead when Tommy Whitnell latched on to a defensive error - but his fierce shot was put over for a corner by Bognor keeper Nick Jordan.

The next ten minutes saw chances fall to both sides, but the home side opened the scoring on 15 minutes when Kezie Ibe slotted the ball into the net following a goalmouth melee.

Bognor responded and chances fell to both Terry Dodd and Harvey Whyte but with no end result - and in the 29th minute, Margate scored a spectacular second goal when Whitnell, who was proving a real handful for the away defence, managed to fire home with his back to the goal with a superb overhead kick.

Once again, Bognor did not lie down and tried to take the game to Margate and Whyte was causing problems for the home side.

The beginning of the second half saw Bognor really trying to reduce the arrears and a shot from Dan Kempson on 46 minutes went just wide .

The visitors forced three consecutive corners and Sam Pearce had an almost open goal but headed just over.

Margate responded with several chances of their own created by a midfield who were now dominating the game. Midway through the half, they also forced three corners on the trot and it was no real surprise when Whitnell got his second goal of the

game in 67th minute when he ran on to a pass from Margate`s Jamie Hand to coolly slot past Jordan.

By this time, Ollie Pearce had come on for Dodd and James Crane was replaced by Lewis Stockford on 67 minutes.

In the 80th minute, Jack McFarlane came on for Jon Marzetti.

Margate continued to dominate although right at the end Bognor could have reduced the arrears when a great cross from Ollie Pearce was headed goalwards by Dan Thompson only for Craig Holloway in the home goal to save his effort.

ROCKS: Jordan, Marzetti (McFarlane), Beck, Crane (Stockford), S Pearce, Wollers, Kempson, Wills, Thompson, Dodd (O Pearce), Whyte. Sub not used: Boyle.

The Rocks host Canvey Island on Tuesday night - but will do so without keeper Jordan or former skipper Ben Andrews, who have both left the club.

A statement said: “The club very much regret to announce that both Ben Andrews and Nick Jordan have left the club. In both cases continuing long term injuries have meant neither could realistically expect to play again this season.

“Ben joined the Rocks some 18 months ago and when fit proved to be not only an inspirational central defender, but also capable of playing effectively up front. Sadly his long term knee injury has now worsened and he will not be able to play again this season.

“As Ben had already announced he intended to retire at the end of the season, his contract has now been terminated by mutual consent.

“Nick arrived six weeks ago following Craig Stoner’s injury and the club are extremely grateful for his commitment and assistance since then. However, Nick has been carrying a shoulder injury over the past few weeks which has now worsened.

“It is clear that this will not recover if he continues to play, and he will therefore not be available again this season.

“Manager Jamie Howell expressed his disappointment on behalf of both players, and also on behalf of supporters who have stayed remarkably loyal despite the horrendous injury list which has blighted the season.

“He assures supporters that every effort is being made to bring in new players who can benefit the team, and one who has already signed is Simon Woods, a striker from Wessex League side AFC Portchester.

“Simon has already scored 22 goals this season and is expected to be in the squad to face Canvey Island at Nyewood Lane on Tuesday.”

ROGER NASH & SIMON COOK