Rocks Review: Godalming 2 Rocks 4

TWO goals apiece for Ashley Robinson and Steve Harper kept Bognor well clear at the top of the table.

Penalties were a feature of the game with Godalming scoring one but the Rocks hitting back with two of their own as they won a fifth straight league game.

Wins for Whitehawk and Dulwich Hamlet mean the Rocks remain six points clear in pole position, but Maidstone, Folkestone and Worthing all lost - meaning the top three’s gap is growing all the time.

The Rocks welcomed back Dan Beck into the starting line-up and Sonny Cobbs was fit enough to get a place on the bench - although Beck ended the afternoon in hosipital being treated for a shoulder injury.

Godalming had got an impressive point in midweek against Rocks’ promotion rivals Dulwich Hamlet and it was the hosts who looked the brighter early on. A shot by Jon Palmer was deflected for a corner.

Robinson was causing some early problems. He ran the ball along the by=line before shooting from a tight angle. Jake Somerville in the Godalming goal saved and the linesman had already put his flag up for a goal-kick.

The Rocks failed to hold on to the ball for longer than a few passes for large periods in the first half.

They gave away a free-kick after ten minutes but Ryan Lake’s left-footed shot went over the bar from 25 yards.

Even referee Graeme Ions found the pitch difficult as he tumbled to the ground three minutes later.

Robinson and Ben Johnson set Beck on his way but he was stopped in his tracks by a defender. Then Robinson belted in a cross from the left that was pushed away by Somerville.

But at times in the first half, Godalming looked aggressive in attack. Palmer set up Dan Read with a through ball and he controlled it before firing at goal. Craig Stoner pulled out a wonderful save with his legs to divert the ball away.

On 27 minutes the hard-working Robinson went to ground and required treatment.

Harper was awarded a free-kick on the half-hour when he was brought down. Johnson’s neat shot was dipping but Somerville got his fingertips to it to send the ball over the bar.

Bognor were fortunate to keep it goalless on 33 minutes. Wheeler’s corner from the right fell into the midst of bodies in the box, but after a scramble, Stoner was there to gather.

Fortunes turned in the favour of the hosts on 38 minutes. A quick ball into the Rocks’ area resulted in Osa Obamwonyi blocking the ball with his hand. The referee pointed to the spot and Obamwonyi was shown the yellow card.

Wheeler just about netted the ball in the bottom corner as Stoner’s efforts couldn’t quite stop it from going in.

Bognor were awarded a penalty of their own on 44 minutes. Somerville brought down James Crane as he dashed out of his goal. Some thought he was just outside the box, but the referee gave a penalty and also showed a yellow card to Somerville. Robinson, after his unusual trademark slow run-up, slotted coolly into the bottom left corner.

HT 1-1

The Rocks came out strongly in the second half and straight away were on the offensive. Beck blasted a shot at goal and Lake used his hand to block the ball inside the box. Up stepped Robinson again to slot home the ball in the same bottom corner - his sixth goal in eight games for the Rocks and his third penalty in two.

Then Beck set up Jon Marzetti on the overlap, but the full-back’s cross sailed over the bar.

Godalming still pressurised and Wheeler’s corner fell to Read in the box and somehow he bounced the ball over the bar.

Bognor went further ahead on 55 minutes. A pinpoint right-sided cross from Robinson found strike partner Harper unmarked in the centre of the area. Harper rose well and glanced his header nicely beyond Somerville.

On 59 minutes Rocks failed to clear their lines before Palmer blasted well over from outside the area.

Johnson found Robinson, who had dropped back into a pocket of space 30 yards out. The striker let fly with a shot that was well saved by Somerville. Seconds later Robinson crossed for Harper but he couldn’t quite direct it goalwards.

Kane Wills provided Harper with a neat through-ball and after beating the offside trap he too had a go from the edge of the box, but just missed the target.

Johnson was deemed to have brought down Read just outside the box and was added to the list of bookings. Wheeler’s direct free-kick rose well over the bar.

But a very soft goal was conceded by Bognor with 20 minutes left. A cross from the right wasn’t dealt with, leaving Stoner stranded, and eventually Harris was allowed to tap home from close range into an empty net.

Soon Beck was tackled and went to ground. No free-kick was given, but the skipper was in need of treatment. He walked off with his right arm in his shirt, acting as a sling and was suspected to have damaged his shoulder and needed to be taken to hospital.

Stuart Axten brought down Jamie McClurg on the edge of the box, leading to the referee booking the tall centre-back. Antonia Simeone took the free-kick but it flew straight into Stoner’s arms.

The hosts could have done better when Harris’ cross found Ben Edwards in the box. Edwards’ header swerved the wrong side of the right post.

Terry Dodd, who had replaced the injured Beck, did well to beat his marker before firing in a searching cross towards Robinson. But Somerville had read it well to gather first.

Despite Godalming’s efforts to draw the scores level it was Bognor who got the game’s final goal.

Johnson did well to speed through the middle and knock the ball on to Dodd, who lost control slightly inside the box before Harper followed up to drill it home.

ROCKS: Stoner, Marzetti, Crane, Hayward (Wollers 46), Axten, Obamwonyi, Beck (Dodd 72), Wills, Robinson, Harper, Johnson. Unused Subs: Thomson, Cobbs, Boyle.

The Rocks are next in action on Saturday when play-off hopefuls Folkestone visit Nyewood Lane.