Rocks boss tells of cup-final ‘humiliation’

The Rocks line up for the SSC final, but it all ended in tears   Picture by Chris Hatton
The Rocks line up for the SSC final, but it all ended in tears Picture by Chris Hatton

JAMIE HOWELL has spoken of his humiliation at seeing his goal-shy Rocks team lose another Sussex Senior Cup final. And he said he – and particularly the club’s bosses – needed to work out in the summer how to attract a proven goalscorer.

The manager was clearly upset at seeing Bognor lose 3-0 to Peacehaven, a side who have only just been promoted to a league his team had just finished third in. And he pulled no punhces in describing how unhappy he was.

Howell was speaking shortly after his players had picked up county cup runners-up medals for the third time in five seasons.

Their failure to score during a lengthy spell on first-half dominance – while it was still 0-0 – was crucial to the outcome.

Howell said: “I’m shellshocked. I’m bitterly disappointed.

“I said to them (the players) in the dressing room that I’m upset for me and Dabba. The way that we play football and get them to play is excellent. But if you can’t score you can’t win games.

“I was expecting to come in 4-1 up at half-time and we lost the game 3-0. I’m humiliated and I’m hurt – not because I disrespect Peacehaven, I think they’re a good team. But if you can’t score you can’t win games of football. We’ve tried all season to get players in who can do it and we can’t.

“That’s my frustration and that is how I feel. If you can’t score you can’t win. That’s why we lost in the play-offs to Lowestoft. I’ve been fearing the worst for two months because we haven’t been able to score goals for two months.

“Getting people in at Bognor is hard and that’s my frustration. That’s what I’ve got to do. I’ll think about it in the summer – see what I want to do, see what the club want to do with me. It’s down to them.

“I just can’t see us scoring a goal. I don’t know how many chances we had – I think we had five in the first half.

“Peacehaven had a game plan and played really well. Last year we were a weaker team, this year was a fairer contest. But we have come away with a similar result.”

The day after the final loss, the Rocks suffered another blow, losing skipper Kane Wills to big-spending Ryman premier outfit Margate, who have already signed former Nyewood Lane favourite Jason Prior for next season’s title bid.

A Rocks statement said: “Although we are obviously disappointed to lose Kane, who has been an exceptional performer for the Rocks over the past few seasons, we wish him all the best in his future career and thank him for all his efforts on behalf of the club.

“Unfortunately there was no way we could compete with the financial backing at Margate, and they are certainly assembling what should be a formidable side to challenge for promotion next season.”

Get more from the Rocks camp – and where they go from here – in the Observer, out on Thursday