13 goals in a week - but Rocks are told to keep grafting

Kane Wills strokes in Bognor's fifth against Bury Town  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Kane Wills strokes in Bognor's fifth against Bury Town Picture by Tommy McMillan

JAMIE HOWELL reflected on a 13-goal week for the in-form Rocks and told his players: Only hard work will continue our run.

They beat Bury Town 5-2 in the Ryman premier on Saturday before battering county-league side Lancing 8-0 in the Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

They’ve scored an incredible 52 goals in their past 13 games in all competitions and have scored four or more in nine different home matches in less than three months.

Although their away form has been less impressive, they still sit in sixth place in the table and on the fringes of the play-off race.

But as they prepare to visit Harrow on Saturday then host fourth-placed Maidstone next Tuesday, Howell and coach Darin Killpartrick are again warning players and fans not to get carried away with what’s been achieved so far.

Terry Dodd, Ollie Pearce and Ben Godfrey have been leading the goal feast. Dodd (17), Pearce (9) and Godfrey (8) have netted 34 between them as the club reap the benefit of having three in-form forwards vying for two spots in the team.

Howell said: “We’re a good side and we’re playing well with confidence sky-high. I was delighted by the performances and results against Bury Town and Lancing.

“They were different challenges but we met both head-on and were professional and clinical. You can’t really ask for more. But we know we won’t score that many goals every week - we have difficult games coming up and we have to keep up our standards.”

Howell said the perfect Nyewood Lane pitch suited their style of play and was a big factor in the fluent home displays, but he warned there would be plenty of games over the winter played on heavy or churned-up surfaces, like the one on which they lost at Hornchurch last week.

Killpartrick said: “We say it often but we really mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. The next game is more important than the last one, but it’s been nice to serve up some great performances and plenty of goals for fans who keep supporting us in terrific numbers.”

Howell praised his strikers for their form, saying all three knew any spell without a goal would threaten their place.

Godfrey was the one to sit out the cup win over Lancing on Tuesday, which was the Rocks’ highest-ever home win in the competition and joint-highest win anywhere in the cup, along with a 10-2 win at Hailsham in 1956.

Howell revealed Godfrey had been suffering with a tight hamstring but should be in contention for the Harrow game. But with Dodd and Pearce each netting a hatr-trick in the past week, Godfrey may find it hard to break the partnership.

The Rocks will be without defender Craig Robson and winger Arron Hopkinson for the Maidstone match. Both are suspended for that one game after picking up five bookings.

But worries over defensive back-up have been eased by the return of former Havant defender Paul Hinshelwood, who has opted for a second spell at the Lane in a switch from Gosport.

Another defender, Alex Malins, has returned to Crawley Town at the end of his three-month loan. Rocks secretary Simon Cook said: “Alex has performed extremely well in the three months he has spent at Nyewood Lane and the club are extremely grateful to him, and wish him all the best in his future career.”

Howell pitched in the likes of defender Dan Sackman and midfielder Dan Kempson for the Lancing game and said everyone in the squad would have a role to play in a busy couple of months.

And he is not ruling out further additions to the squad, saying: “We’re always looking. We’d be silly not to.”

The Rocks have seven games scheduled in December and another six - and that’s without any more senior cup ties to fit in.

STEVE BONE