While writing the history section for the Rocks matchday programme recently, I noted a trend from the 2013-14 season – that Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick’s team would go on long unbeaten runs after suffering any sort of setback.
There was a point between December 2013 and March 2014 where the team won 13 games, drew three and lost just twice. There was another period earlier in that season when that team also won 13, drew three and lost twice – that between August and November.
These two impressive runs of form were the key reason why the team finished in the Ryman premier play-off positions that season and made the Sussex Senior Cup final.
This season, between August and October, we won seven games, drew six and lost just once, which was after extra time in the FA Cup against Sudbury.
While this wasn’t the same length of run that the 2013-14 season brought, it was really key for us off to a good start to the campaign. And had we beaten Folkestone at Nyewood Lane in October, we would at that point have gone top of the league.
Unfortunately, after that sequence of results, we managed to win only once in eight games, that win being on penalties against Bracknell Town in the FA Trophy.
After that poor run we did briefly win two games in a row against Wingate and Three Bridges, but then came the hugely disappointing run of one draw and three defeats between the visit to Harlow on December 1 and the visit to Kingstonian on December 15.
But since that bitterly disappointing defeat to the Ks, we went on another good run of results with just one defeat in six before last Saturday’s loss to Tonbridge, which of course was followed by the excellent win at Merstham.
For the Rocks to make the play-offs from here, we’re going to need more of this sort of form and go on a long run like the 2013/14 side managed.
Consistency is something coach Robbie Blake has often mentioned in his interviews and he is absolutely spot-on – because all good teams need the type of consistency Jamie and Dabba’s team had if they want to be successful in any given season.
The 2013-14 vintage, of course, had the goalscoring talents of Terry Dodd, who scored 21 goals that season including one in the play-off semi-final against Lowestoft.
This season we have Jimmy Muitt who has to date bagged a very impressive 28 goals in the league and cup and is currently on a fine run having scored 11 goals in the past ten games.
This, at a time when the likes of Bradley Lethbridge and Dan Smith have been in and out of the side, shows how important Jimmy is to this Bognor team.
I mentioned last season that Jimmy was going to be a handful for defenders in the Bostik premier and anyone who witnessed his stunning goal against Leyton Orient would have surely agreed.
This squad has the ability to match the play-off finish of the 2013-14 side in a much weaker division. They just now need to find the same level of consistency.
On our day we’re as good as anyone in this league and this season still holds a lot of twist and turns. Enjoy the ride!
by Daniel Storey, editor of the Rocks matchday programme