Seven-goal second-half show adds up to a Rocks rout

Jimmy Muitt and James Fraser / Picture by Tim Hale
Jimmy Muitt and James Fraser / Picture by Tim Hale

A remarkable seven-goal second-half display by the Rocks floored Folkestone and kept them top of the table.

A remarkable seven-goal second-half display by the Rocks floored Folkestone and kept them top of the table.
Goals by James Fraser (2), James Crane (2), Ollie Pearce and Jimmy Wild - plus an own goal - capped a stunning turnaround by Jamie Howell's team after they trailed 1-0 at the end of a poor first half.
The phrase 'game of two halves' doesn't really cover how different the two 45-minute performances by the home team were, and the Rocks will be delighted to remain top of the pile with only seven games to play.
They began the afternoon having gone back to the top of the Ryman premier with their 3-1 midweek win at Burgess Hill. Folkestone arrived at the Lane in 16th spot and still with work to do to make sure they don't get dragged into the relegation mire.
The Rocks had a rude awakening when Invicta took the lead just three minutes into the game, Ian Draycott slotting low past the helpless Dan Lincoln after Joseph Taylor slipped a pass through to him and caught the Bognor defence napping.
Pearce looked like having a great chance to level it up three minutes later from Alex Parsons' ball in from the right but he was flagged offside and keeper Tim Roberts saved his low shot anyway.
There was another scare for the Rocks on nine minutes when Jordan Wright got on the end of a high ball into the box and volleyed the ball across the six-yard box, but luckily for Bognor there was no forward there to put it away.
Sam Hasler hurried a 25-yard shot on 15 minutes and it went well wide. Immediately the Rocks created their best chance at the other end as Fraser was played in on Roberts, but the keeper got down to his left to save the shot.
Draycott ran through on to a pass down the middle and curled a shot goalwards which Lincoln did well to palm away.
Parsons beat the Folkestone offside trap but couldn't find Pearce among a sea of defenders from the cross - then Dan Beck's high ball to the edge of the area fell for Pearce, but after a sharp turn he shot well wide with Charlie Moone lurking.
Folkestone's Frankie Chappell was lucky not to be booked for scything down Moone as the Rocks tried to break from their own half. Then Pearce got to the byline and almost found Parsons with the cut-back but a defender intercepted.
Both sides made a change on 33 minutes. Jimmy Wild replaced Beck - who seemed to have suffered a recurrence of his hip problem - while Ashley Miller replaced injured left-back Sam Beale for Invicta.
Folkestone were close to a second when Draycott's low ball into the six-yard box was turned only just wide by Taylor.
Pearce's measured pass along the floor almost found Parsons on the edge of the box but Roberts was quickly out to claim it.
Gary Charman was the first man of the afternoon to be booked and it looked to be for a fairly innocuous foul. The free-kick 40 yards out came to nothing. El-Abd followed Charman into the book when sub Miller made an acrobatic tumble as he went past him.
Nathan Blanks was booked for Invicta for halting a Rocks break rather crudely near the centre circle.
HT 0-1
As the Rocks management tried to breathe new life into their team for the second half, they brought on Jimmy Muitt for Parsons, who had picked up a niggle - meaning there were now four home strikers on the pitch.
Two minutes into the half the Rocks were level in sensational style. A throw-in found its way square to Fraser 25 yards from goal and he allowed the ball to bounce once before firing a tremendous shot on the volley into the top corner with Roberts helpless.
The goal lifted the Rocks, who looked a few yards sharper than before the break, and Fraser's pass to Muitt brought a lovely cross that the keeper plucked out of the air as Pearce waited to head it in.
Folkestone were still a threat and Chappell rose above his marker at a corner but headed just high and wide.
Then Muitt robbed his man down the Rocks right and crossed perfectly for Fraser but somehow his shot was stopped on the line by a defender.
On 58 minutes the Rocks completed a quick turnaround when Fraser's chipped pass sent Muitt racing clear down the right and his cross was flicked into his own net by Callum Davies at the near post.
Wild was next to try his luck with a shot from the acutest of angles but it flew across the face of goal and out for a throw.
It was end to end now and completely unrecognisable from what we'd seen before the break and Lincoln had to get down sharply to save Blanks' long-range shot before an offside flag put a halt to the danger.
There was a shout for handball when Pearce crossed from the left but nothing was given. Wild was proving a handful for the Invicta defenders and fired a low shot on target after working his way into the box when collecting a throw-in.
Wright tested Lincoln with a low hlaf-volley from 20 yards that he saved before prodding the loose ball out of the way of an advancing striker.
Calvin Davies replaced Moone on 68 minutes.
Hasler curled a free-kick high and wide from a decent position in the 73rd minute as Invicta looked for a way back into it.
A Calvin Davies header back to Lincoln from a long Folkestone pass was a little too short but the keeper was quickly out to smother the ball as Draycott tried to get it past him.
El-Abd and Wild were both denied by desperate blocks as a free-kick routine that seemed to have gone wrong almost ended in a third goal for the hosts.
The third did come 13 minutes from time and it was Crane who got it as the keeper appeared to save his shot only to see it bounce up and in with El-Abd ready to poke it in if needed.
Two minutes later it was 4-1 and it was Crane again, on hand to sidefoot home from a couple of yards out after Wild had flicked on a Pearce corner won by Fraser's tenacity.
Muitt and Hasler were booked for a minor flare-up on the main stand touchline. Hasler was immediately replaced by Euan Sahadow.
Davies curled a free-kick straight at the keeper as the game entered its final five minutes. Pearce crossed, Fraser pulled it back from beyond the far post and Wild was there for a goal his second-half effort deserved.
The goals kept flowing as Folkestone's heads dropped - this time Wild turned on the edge of the box and played in Pearce, who controlled it with one touch and fired low into the far corner. Wild soon made it six - just as keeper Lincoln was named MoM, surely a first in a game that ended in such a comprehensive win.
Fraser made it seven when he ran on to a pass intended for Pearce - Pearce was offside so stopped chasing, but Folkestone didn't clear it and Fraser took it past the keeper and scored from a tight angle, with the visitors complaining the game had not been stopped.
Even then Bognor weren't done - Muitt and Fraser were both denied in stoppage time and Folkestone must have glad to hear the whistle just as Fraser tried to control the ball in the box in search of another. The home fans were breathless - and trying to remember the last time Bognor scored seven in a league game, or seven in one half.
Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Crane, Tuck, El-Abd, Charman, Fraser, Beck, Moone, Pearce, Parsons. Subs Muitt, Davies, Haynes-Brown, Budd, Wild.
Folkestone: Roberts, Vincent, Beale, Davies, Chappell, Wright, Hasler, Blanks, Draycott, Taylor, Cornwell. Subs: Miller, Sahadow, Brisley, Brabham.
Ref: Marc Meeten
* Next up for the Rocks, it's Canvey Island at home next Saturday - then Leiston visit the Lane three days later.

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