THE Rocks travelled to Hampton & Richmond on Tuesday evening in the knowledge that just a point would put them in second place in the table.
However, the evening got off to the worst possible start when they fell behind in only the second minute, courtesy of a Dave Tarpey strike.
The Rocks struggled to find their rhythm during the first period and allowed their hosts to dominate proceedings. As a result it was no real surprise when the hosts doubled their advantage on 32 minutes when Charlie Moone’s angled effort beat Grant Smith.
A disappointing half from the Rocks in which their overall distribution had been poor. Cue a double substitution at half-time, with Craig Robson and Ollie Pearce making way for Doug Tuck and Terry Dodd.
The switch had the desired effect as the Rocks were rewarded in the 56th minute, when Dodd’s lay-off saw Scott Chamberlain’s drive beat Rodney Chiweshe at his near post.
In the 62nd minute Dodd hit the bar, before, against the run of play, the hosts restored their two-goal cushion just two minutes later. A low cross from the right resulted in a home forward being up-ended by Stuart Axten and up stepped Moone with the resultant spot-kick, wrong-footing Smith with a strike straight down the middle.
With Bognor slightly deflated by the setback, the hosts went further in front in the 74th minute, when a calamitous pass across the defence was intercepted by Moone who completed his hat-trick.
The visitors were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out on 78 minutes and Chamberlain curled home. In injury-time, the Rocks pulled another goal back when Arron Hopkinson’s cross was bundled home by Sammy Igoe, but it was too little too late.
ROCKS: Smith, Weir, Crane, Sackman, Axten, Robson, Igoe, Wills, Thompson, Pearce, Chamberlain. Subs: Hopkinson (Thompson), Dodd (Pearce), Hinshelwood, Johnson, Tuck (Robson).