Rocks Review: Return to form is a big FA Cup boost

The Rocks roared back to form just in time for their big FA Cup date – and with their bosses proclaiming: Talk of a crisis was over the top.

After two straight defeats, fans had begun to express fears over unrest in the dressing room and concern the season could unravel unless the squad was strengthened.

But that sort of talk was nipped in the bud by a second-half super-show at Ramsgate - read the report here - which saw the Rocks back to their best and in flying form for Saturday’s FA Cup visit to Conference South side Sutton.

The victory, which took Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick’s side back up to second in Ryman one south, was just what was needed after a week in which they lost 3-1 in a league match at Corinthian Casuals and 1-0 at home to Mangotsfield in the FA Trophy.

After a goalless first half, goals by Jason Prior (2) and Ben Johnson plus a Luke Nightingale penalty earned the Rocks their seventh league win in ten.

The win came after general manager Jack Pearce gave the pre-match team talk with Howell and Killpartrick held up en route to Kent.

Howell and Killpartrick admitted the Ramsgate win was timely but said they had not lost faith in the squad.

Howell said: “I certainly wasn’t panicking after two defeats and I wouldn’t have been if we’d lost at Ramsgate.

“People were starting to talk about needing to bring in players but who would you drop from our starting XI? There’s no need to rip up the team.

“Admittedly, when we played Mangotsfield, we couldn’t break them down and ran out of ideas. But that doesn’t make us a bad team.

“We knew we had to keep faith in our own ability and we’d come good again – and at Ramsgate we did.

“The boys were disappointed to have lost two games and to a man, they performed really well at Ramsgate. We were quite happy to be goalless at half-time and once we got in front early in the second half, the confidence and goals flowed.

“It was a real team effort and sets us up nicely for the Cup game.”

Killpartrick echoed Howell’s views and said: “Good teams don’t become bad teams overnight.

“We knew the mentality was all right and I thought we were excpetional and professional at Ramsgate.”