Up and running - Rocks celebrate first win of season

The Rocks celebrate No 10 Oliie Pearce's goal, which put Bognor 2-0 up against VCD Athletic and their first win of the season  Picture by Chris Hatton
The Rocks celebrate No 10 Oliie Pearce's goal, which put Bognor 2-0 up against VCD Athletic and their first win of the season Picture by Chris Hatton

EIGHT matches into the season, the Rocks finally chalked up their first victory thanks to goals from Harvey Whyte and Ollie Pearce.

The 2-1 success over VCD Athletic lifted them to 19th in the table and gave them their first win in the Ryman premier since Easter Monday.

Bognor made one change, giving a debut to attacking midfielder Stuart Green, signed earlier in the day on a dual-registration basis from Gosport Borough, with Alex Parsons dropping to the bench.

This was the first time the Rocks had faced the south-east London outfit, last season’s Ryman one north champions.

The visitors were quickest out of the blocks, making a number of surging attacks but without troubling Chris Winterton in the Rocks goal.

Six minutes in, the hosts almost went in front with their first attack when good work from Green on the left forced a smart save from VCD keeper Nick Blue, who got down low to block Whyte’s snap-shot.

The visitors occasionally played themselves into trouble, as was the case on 11 minutes when the deadlock was broken.

A poor clearance from Blue found its way to the feet of Whyte - later nominated man of the match by the sponsors - and he took one touch before rifling his effort in spectacular fashion from 30 yards into the unguarded net.

In the 28th minute, Bognor’s injury woes took another turn for the worse when Paul Hinshelwood hobbled off having come off worse after a sliding tackle. The Rocks captain appeared to be in considerable discomfort and was replaced by Harry Medway.

Bognor had the ball in the net again on the half-hour when a neat exchange of passes between Whyte and Pearce set up Ben Johnson, who headed home from six yards, only to have it chalked off by referee Sam Ogles for an earlier infringement, which left puzzled faces.

More wayward passing from the visitors in their own half was intercepted and Charlie Oatway sent a 20-yard drive just wide after Whyte’s effort was blocked.

In the 38th minute, the Rocks should have doubled the advantage when Pearce was through with just Blue to beat, but the custodian tipped the effort on to the post. The ball found Whyte on the right and his deep cross was met by a Pearce scissor-kick, which bounced into the keeper’s arms.

VCD went close just before the break, with James Duckworth cutting inside from the left and unleashing a low strike which Winterton did well to get down and block.

Into the second half a neat interchange of passes almost set up Green but his first touch was too strong.

But in the 54th minute, Bognor were two goals to the good for the first time this season. Johnson’s floated corner from the left was met by the head of James Crane, who was denied by a fine block on the line from Ahmed Deen, only for Pearce to force in the loose ball.

The defensive frailties which have haunted the Rocks in recent matches were again evident on 62 minutes when a cross from the left was met by the head of the unmarked Leigh Bremner, who comfortably beat Winterton to halve the deficit.

It breathed new life into the visitors and Winterton was called into action to tip a low effort from substitute Lewis Perkins round the post.

As a light mist descended on Nyewood Lane, the Rocks held on to secure their first win of the season.

ROCKS: Winterton, Hinshelwood (Medway 28), Crane, Tuck, Sackman, Robson, Whyte, Oatway, Green, Pearce (Parsons 66), Johnson. Subs not used: Thomson, Hopkinson, Boyle.

VCD: Blue, Cox, Deen, Basey, Reeves, Smith (Perkins 64), Carpenter, Dent (Powell 89), Bremner, Duckworth (Eisa 83), Dawson. Subs not used: McDonagh, Penfold.

Rob Garforth