Rocks Review: Ex-Palace striker loving life at the Lane

Ashley Robinson steps up to convert the first of two goals against Walton Casuals  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Ashley Robinson steps up to convert the first of two goals against Walton Casuals Picture by Tommy McMillan

New Rocks hero Ashley Robinson reflected on a successful start to his career at Nyewood Lane and declared: I feel wanted for the first time.

The 22-year-old has had a nomadic existence in the non-league world since his controversial departure from Crystal Palace in 2008.

But after notching four goals in his first seven games for the Rocks, including two at the weekend in a man-of-the-match performance against Walton Casuals, he is feeling the love at the Lane, and is desperate to propel his new side to the Ryman one south title.

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “I’ve played at lots of different clubs and left them for different reasons – either because I wasn’t enjoying it or didn’t fit in as well.

“But the club have welcomed me and the most important thing is I’m enjoying the football.

“It’s the first time for a long time I’ve felt wanted.

“The managers are giving me the opportunity to play football in the right way – I can just express myself. They’re not holding me back.”

Rocks fans may remember Robinson from Eastbourne Town last season, when he put in a man-of-the-match against the Rocks as their Sussex rivals inflicted their only home league defeat of the campaign, winning 3-1 under the lights in October 2010.

Robinson started the season at Hampton & Richmond, and quickly moved on to Tooting & Mitcham but a new manager came in and he decided it was best to leave.

He started training at Blue Square South side Bromley, where he had played after his release from Palace, and was put in touch with the Rocks.

“I was training at Bromley, but as soon as Bognor came to me I knew I had to go there,” he said. “I’d played against them before. I wanted to be a part of it.”

He hit the headlines in 2008 after his departure from Selhurst Park when he announced on Facebook that he was to have a trial at Fulham.

Palace boss Neil Warnock found out and wasn’t best pleased. “I know there was all the controversy in the papers,” he said. “It was a good time there – I have nothing bad to say about Crystal Palace, I enjoyed every minute of it.

“He promised he was going to give me a two-year contract in the off-season, but no contract was offered.

“I said ‘If you’re not going to offer me anything I’ll go elsewhere’, there was no problem whatsoever. They didn’t expect me to go on trial at a Premier League club though.

“I was young and I did make some mistakes. I just want to get on with things now.”

And getting on with things he is. He has appeared in every game since arriving in early January and scored on his debut against Ramsgate, netting another goal, a 30-yarder, against Merstham.