Rocks sign fifth keeper of season as they try to put horror show behind them

Ben Ward-Cochrane about to round Myles Roberts for Potters Bar's first goal on a dreadful day for the Rocks / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Ben Ward-Cochrane about to round Myles Roberts for Potters Bar's first goal on a dreadful day for the Rocks / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Jack Pearce wants Bognor to get their goalkeeping and defensive horror show against Potters Bar out of their system quickly when they take on Isthmian premier leaders Folkestone on Saturday - and they will have a new goalkeeper to help them try..

The team’s recent revival came shuddering to a halt last weekend when four second-half errors at the back led to a 4-0 home defeat against the Hertforshire side.

Two of the goals were given away by keeper Myles Roberts, making his debut on loan from Reading, while either side of his howlers, centre-half Joe Cook wrongly tried to play offside before their opener and full-back Joe Hancott sliced a clearance which led to their fourth.

The club have moved quickly to sign another keeper - who will be the fifth they have fielded this season after Petar Durin, Charlie Searle, James Holden and Roberts.

They have signed Amadou Tangara, 27. He is from the Ivory Coast and joins from Kingstonian, having previously been with Merstham last season and Dulwich Hamlet the season before. Both Merstham and Dulwich reached the play-offs with Tangera between the sticks.

Last Saturday's woes left fans and mangement wondering what the team need to do to start moving up the table.

But coach Robbie Blake insists the squad is now strong enough to recover and have a successful campaign.

Their next test is a stiff one. The Rocks go to Folkestone on Saturday to face a side who went four points clear at the top on Tuesday with a 4-2 home win against Cheshunt and who have strikers Ira Jackson and Jerson Dos Santos in flying form with half a dozen goals apiece already.

Pearce said: “The most interesting statistic for me from Saturday’s game was that our keeper made his first save when we were 4-0 down.

“Two of the goals, you don’t normally see at this level or at much lower levels of the game.

“We keep making mistakes like those you normally see once a season. It’s worrying. The second and third goals have got no place at this level of the game.

“We dominated the first half but they were the best-organised side we’ve seen in getting people behind the ball.

“I apologise to supporters because they would have expected to see another goal feast but it’s hard. We have to regroup, reorganise and go again.

“The goalkeeper will be very disappointed with his performance because you don’t see goals conceded like that very often. He’s got to learn and we’ve got to learn.”

Pearce said centre-half Cook had transformed the Rocks defence since he joined and he would know all too well he should not have tried to play offside in the move that led to the opening goal.

Coach Blake said after the game: “I’m quite shellshocked. At 0-0 at half-time if someone had told me we were going to lose 4-0 I’d probably have knocked them out!

“We’ve committed errors you don’t normally see on a football field and that’s the frustrating thing. Football’s all about learning and sometimes people can learn in a negative way and that’s what Myles has to do.

“But we’re a far better team than two weeks ago and I think the first half showed that.

“Did we work their goal enough? Probably not. But once they got one goal they got every man behind the ball.”

Blake said he still firmly believed the Rocks now had a squad who could go on and have a successful season.

Pearce said Folkestone would give his team a tough afternoon but he reiterated his view that most sides in the division were close to one another in terms of ability.

The manager, meanwhile, has rejected suggestions the midfield three of Harvey Whyte, Doug Tuck and Tommy Leigh is a weakness.

“Who controlled the first 45 minutes against Potters Bar?” Pearce asked. “We did, and if our midfield isn’t strong enough I don’t know how we did that.

"People say we need experienced midfielders but they do not exist in our area and anywhere near within our budget. If we got the sort of players in that some supporters would like, we’d run out of money in months.”

Bognor have also signed young ex-Pompey academy centre-half Eddie Wakley. He was a sub against Potters Bar.

The league match away to Bowers and Pitsea – called off this midweek because of the Essex club’s involvement in the FA Cup – will now be played on Tuesday, October 29, subject to neither club drawing in the FA Trophy on Saturday 27, when Bognor will visit Uxbridge.

Bognor visit Kingstonian next Wednesday and will go to Storrington in the Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday, November 5 (7.15pm).