ROCKS REVIEW: Rocks 2 Godalming 0

Ben Johnson - scorer of both goals - on the attack against Godalming at Nyewood Lane
Ben Johnson - scorer of both goals - on the attack against Godalming at Nyewood Lane

The Rocks went three points clear at the top of the table with a comfortable win against a strong Godalming side.

A double from Ben Johnson was enough to extend the lead at the top of the table with Met Police losing at home to Worthing 3-0 - their third defeat in eight days after only two all season before that.

The Rocks began without Luke Nightingale through injury but Jason Prior was fit enough to play.

It has been revealed Dean Maynard has left the club to join Pagham and is no longer on dual-registration terms with the Rocks.

The game had only 25 seconds on the clock when Johnson received the ball from midfield. His first shot was saved by Jamie Norris in goal, but he pounced on the rebound to slot into an empty net.

The ball was in the Godalming goal again on five minutes. A corner from the right was hit by a visiting defender into his own goal, but the linesman had flagged for offside.

Bognor continued to dominate and on eight minutes Prior pulled the ball back to Kane Wills just outside the area. His shot beat the ‘keeper but crashed off the crossbar.

Godalming’s first chance came from a James Evans corner on the left. Neil Baker rose well in the box to head narrowly over the bar.

Down the other end, James Fraser hooked the ball over his head for Prior. Norris dashed out of his goal to clear before the striker could get on to it, but the linesman’s flag was up again anyway.

The impressive Perry Ryan, playing again at right-back, drove in a deep cross and the ball fell on to the head of Prior, who teed up Dan Beck. The midfielder belted the ball low but narrowly wide of the post.

Then James Hennessey took a knock and had to receive treatment. He was replaced by Gabriel Odunaike.

Beck again went close on 23 minutes when he volleyed wide after James Crane had sped down the left to drive the ball into the box.

Yinka Salami and Michael Birmingham collided in a sliding tackle but it was a 50/50 challenge and no cards were issued.

Another incident saw Crane go down clutching his legs and also required treatment. Crane did return to play moments later.

Bognor dominated possession and on 32 minutes good play from Fraser allowed Ryan to be set free down the right. But the defender’s cross was well cleared.

Miles Mithchell must have been disappointed with his attempt when he swung in a cross from the left but Craig Stoner easily gathered.

The first yellow card was shown to Salami after he brought down Johnson on the run.

With five minutes left of the first half, Evans’ swerving corner was heading straight for the net but again Stoner saved confidently.

The hard-working Crane then beat Salami down the left to cut the ball inside the box for Fraser. But the midfielder’s shot was instantly blocked by a defender.

The last incident of the half saw Beck appearing to be brought down on the edge of the area by Baker, though the referee ignored the claims.

HT 1-0

Bognor came out for the restart as positive as they’d finished the first half. Norris had to pull out a save to stop the ball from flying into the net from a left-sided shot.

Moments later Godalming tried to reply. Steve Sargent crossed for Gavin Smith whose shot was deflected into the arms of Stoner.

Then Sargent flung a left-sided corner into the box for Evans but the player couldn’t head the ball towards goal as it flashed across the area.

Beck received a yellow card after complaining about an offside decision given against Fraser. Many in the crowd believed Fraser was onside during the move.

Beck then managed to dart his way through the defence to get a shot off. His effort was low and bounced awkwardly in front of Norris, who saved, and then the defence cleared.

Another yellow card was brandished by the referee on 59 minutes after Birmingham was brought down by Sargent.

Perhaps the best chance for the visitors came three minutes later. Miles Mitchell swung the ball in from the left but neither Odunaike or G Smith could get their heads to it.

But the Rocks scored their second on 65 minutes. Prior had done well to get into a position for a shot and he forced a save out of Norris from the edge of the area. But the goalkeeper could only parry it to the on-rushing Johnson, who slotted home with ease from inside the box.

Soon substitute Dan Royce did well to curl the ball in for Fraser. The midfielder tried an overhead kick inside the area, which bounced towards goal. Norris spilled it along the by-line but managed to gather again before Royce could follow up.

It was evident that Godalming were lacking up front. Sub Jon Palmer slid the ball low to Smith, but Stoner was equal to it and saved after the player failed to get full contact on the ball.

Royce crossed for Prior, who got in front of his defender to volley the ball over the bar.

Good attacking play led to Prior teeing up Johnson on the edge of the area. The in-form winger forced a decent save out of Norris, who had to dive low to his left to save.

Odunaike required treatment after an incident off the ball and play was held up for a few moments.

The last chance for the visitors fell to Sargent who flashed a shot well over the bar from the corner of the box.

Johnson won a free-kick with seconds remaining after being brought down by Baker. Johnson’s powerful shot, heading directly for goal, was bravely blocked by a defender in the box.

Bognor will be pleased that they grounded out another three points - their ninth win in ten league matches in 2011 - and another clean sheet. What a response it’s been to that thrashing at Faversham.

ROCKS: Stoner (9), Ryan (9), Crane (9), Wills (8), Axten (8), Bond (8), Beck (8), Birmingham © (8) (Royce 64), Prior (9), Fraser (9) (Wood 78), Johnson (10). Unused subs: Whitehead, Turner, Marzetti.

The Rocks are next in action when Ramsgate visit the Lane on Tuesday night.

Report by Liam Goodley