Howell hopes Rocks’ horror show is a blip

Terry Dodd in action at Wingate & Finchley
Terry Dodd in action at Wingate & Finchley

BOGNOR put on a Rocky Horror Show of their own in London on Saturday as their two-month unbeaten league run came to a nightmare end.

It wasn’t so much blood and gore on display, but just plain horrible early Hallowe’en viewing as Rocks conceded two own goals in two minutes and also had substitute Dan Kempson sent off in the 3-0 defeat against Wingate & Finchley.

Some of Bognor’s travelling support may have wished they had opted for a show in London’s nearby West End, but a bad display has been a rarity recently, with The Rocks having been in inspired league form.

Saturday brought an end to Jamie Howell’s side’s excellent six-game winning run, which had seen them drop just two points in an eight-game run stretching back to August in the Ryman premier division.

A victory in north London over Wingate, who went into the match in 18th-place, would have put Bognor level on points with Wealdstone, who occupy the last play-off spot.

Little damage has been done, however, as they remain seventh, close behind the top six. And Howell is confident in dismissing the result as just a blip – admitting he’s not too concerned and won’t be unless a similar performance is seen again at Nyewood Lane on Saturday in their FA Trophy fixture.

He said: “It was a very bad day at the office. It started off badly with people turning up late due to a big smash on the motorway.

“Some arrived at 20 past or half past two which is not the ideal preparation. It just did not feel right, really.

“We started off ok, but it just did not happen and nothing seemed to go well for us on the day.

“In a retrospective look at things, the players have been brilliant for me and the club and been on a good run.

“I spoke to the players Tuesday and we’ll look at it as a blip. We are not going to play well every week, but what we need to do now is get back to winning ways and refocus.

“The attitude may have been a bit complacent on Saturday. Confidence is a great thing to have, but over confidence is not and I think that may have been the case. We need to learn from it that maybe we are not as great as we think we are.

“I am not too worried though, although if I see it reappear on Saturday I will be a lot more concerned.”

Said Saturday sees the host in FA Trophy action with Calor Southern League premier division side Chippenham Town.

Their opponents took a 9-0 hammering on Tuesday night, albeit after getting two early red cards, and lie fourth from bottom in the table with four wins and nine defeats.

Howell, however, has dismissed their latest result and pointed out they will be looking just as much at Bognor’s unexpected result on Saturday.

He said: “We have not done particularly well in the competition over the years. We are playing strong teams that we do not know too much about and we struggle to implement our style of play on them.

“Jack Pearce (chairman) went down there to watch them on Tuesday as I was obviously at training and it was a bit of a wasted journey, really. All plans go out the window after you’re two men down early on. We know they’ll be decent though, all teams are at this level.

“We need to turn up with the right attitude first and foremost to win the game as, if we turn up with the attitude we did on Saturday, we’ll get beat. I know that for sure.”

There is a place in the third and final qualifying round up for grabs on Saturday as well as an appealing winner’s bonus of £3,250 from The FA.

Crawley loanee Louis John looks set to return after the centre-half missed last week through injury, although Harvey Whyte could be rested completely to aid recovery of problem he’s picked up.