FA Cup: Rocks breeze through with five-star show

The Rocks eased into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup by disposing of Combined Counties League side Camberley 5-1 at Nyewood Lane.

Luke Nightingale’s 11th-minute header was the only goal between the sides at the break but Ben Johnson’s strike eight minutes into the second half opened the floodgates.

Terry Dodd made it 3-0 three minutes later but Michael Smith pulled one back for the Surrey visitors with 19 minutes left.

A Paul Andrews own goal 12 minutes from time restored the three-goal advantage and Jason Prior netted the fifth three minutes from time to send most of the 427 crowd home happy.

It was the Rocks’ fifth win in five games so far this season and sends them into a first qualifying round tie at home to Sittingbourne on Saturday, September 17. They visit Sittingbourne in the league next Saturday.

The Rocks began proceedings with Prior on the bench - one of six substitutes, who also had teenage midfielder Jack Blatchford among them. James Crane was missing from the teamsheet.

Surprisingly it was the lower-league visitors who took the initiative early on. With just three minutes on the clock, James Mepham almost got on the end of a cross by Smith, but Craig Stoner managed to gather.

Martin Girling let fly with a looping shot from well out but Stoner had it covered.

The Rocks’ first attack came on five minutes as Johnson laid the ball off for James Fraser, who smashed a shot towards goal that was easily caught by Stuart Norman.

The Rocks continued to create chances. Fraser got into space in the box to chip the ball across the area. After a defender looped a header into the air, Dan Beck tried to capitalise but his header went over the bar.

Adam Cornell headed the ball on to Mepham from a Stacey Thripp free-kick. Mepham’s acrobatic attempt rolled wide of the left post.

On 11 minutes Johnson used his speed to beat Dale Webb on the left to curl in a great cross for Nightingale in the area. All the striker had to do was glance his unmarked header into the net.

Dodd cut the ball to Johnson in a one-two, splitting the defence. Johnson threaded in Nightingale, whose shot was saved by Norman’s legs - though the linesman had his flag up for offside.

Matt Whitehead squared the ball to Johnson and from 30 yards he put his left-footed shot well wide.

Jon Marzetti, surging forward from right-back, bounced a low ball in to Dodd. Dodd, under pressure and with a player behind him, managed to flick the ball over his marker, but the ball ran away from him.

The Rocks continued their search for a second. On 27 minutes Kane Wills received a pass from Johnson’s short corner. Stuart Axten rose well but headed over the bar from a few yards out.

Camberley seemed doomed in their attempts to find an equaliser - evident when Webb’s long-range free-kick went out for a goal-kick.

Wills linked well with Fraser, who put Dodd through, but last ditch defending halted the striker.

Johnson sped through and hit a low shot from outside the box but Andrews was in the way to deflect the shot.

Marzetti had a right-sided cross headed clear before Whitehead had won a corner on the left. Johnson’s kick fell to Fraser who dived to head it but Norman saved.

Another corner for the hosts was won by Fraser. Johnson’s cross tried to pick out Tim Bond but Girling headed clear. It came at price - with both requiring immediate treatment after a clash of heads.

HT 1-0

Camberley, relieved to have gone in at half-time only 1-0 down, had the first half-chance of the second half when a long ball by Jeff Cavey was chipped forward but Axten headed neatly back to his goalkeeper.

Fraser was brought down just outside the box. He stepped up to take the free-kick which Norman saved.

The Rocks scored their second on 53 minutes. Nightingale did well to hold the ball up and lay it off to the onrushing Johnson. The winger hit the ball first time with his unfavoured right foot into the bottom corner.

Three minutes later Bognor were 3-0 up. Again Nightingale was the provider when he laid the ball off for Dodd, who rounded three players before slotting home.

Substitute Prior’s first attack came within seconds of his introduction. His shot at goal was saved and Dodd tried to follow it up on the rebound but he was thwarted by a defender.

At the other end Mepham played in Cornell. After beating his defender, Cornell’s left-footed swirled wide of the left post.

Marzetti drove the ball across the six-yard box but Michael Siemack was on the back post to boot it away.

Bognor were playing their traditional passing game, frustrating the opposition. Dodd found Prior who was tripped from behind by Siemack. The free-kick, taken from just outside the area by Prior, took a deflection from the wall before spinning on to the post and away.

The referee deemed that Smith was tripped in the area on 71 minutes and awarded a penalty. Some Rocks fans disagreed, with the player seeming to go down easily. Up stepped Smith, who drove it low beyond the reach of Stoner. The goalkeeper got his fingertips to it, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Sub Louie Castles managed to beat Thripp for pace on the right to let fly with a cross. But it was headed clear instantly.

Whitehead teed up Prior with a left-sided cross, but he headed narrowly over.

Credit is due to the visitors, who stayed strong defensively and stuck to their task. Wills lofteda ball forward to Prior but Siemack sprang into the air to head clear.

Bognor nabbed their fourth on 78 minutes. Castles crossed from the right and it fell to Axten deep on the left side of the box. The defender headed back across the goal and Camberley defender Andrews headed it into his own net.

Whitehead, named man of the match, sped forward and unleashed another attempt at goal from the corner of the box but Norman easily saved.

The Rocks finished off the opposition on 87 minutes with their fifth and last goal of the day. Another cross from Castles found Prior in the centre of the area and he headed over Norman’s right shoulder and into the net.

Mepham sent another shot go sailing over Bognor’s goal but the final whistle soon sounded to end Camberley’s miserable day.

The Rocks’ win earns them a free midweek in which they can concentrate on their visit to Sittingbourne nmext Saturday, when they can eye up their first qualifying round opponents and try to continue their 100 per cent start to the 2011-12 campaign.

ROCKS: Stoner, Marzetti, Whitehead, Fraser (Breach 60), Axten, Bond, Beck (Castles 70), Wills, Dodd, Nightingale (Prior 60), Johnson. Unused subs: Blatchford, Wollers, Ide

Our other local side in the preliminary round are Selsey, who visit Erith & Belvedere under new boss Adam Hinshelwood on Sunday.

In today’s other local football, Pagham went top of division one of the Sussex League with a 1-0 win at Crowborough. Chichester won 3-1 at Little Common in the John O’Hara Cup.

Midhurst lost 3-0 at home to Dorking in division two, while Bosham lost 2-1 at Forest in division three.

We’ll have local football updates on this website throughout the week, including news of Selsey’s Cup tie later on Sunday. And as always you can get all the action in the Observer on Thursday.

Report by LIAM GOODLEY