Rocks go second - and throw Stones off course

Scott Chamberlain was on target again at Maidstone  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Scott Chamberlain was on target again at Maidstone Picture by Tommy McMillan

Play-off chasing Bognor answered the call from manager Jamie Howell for three points in the race for promotion with a gutsy 2-1 win at rivals Maidstone.

It puts the Rocks in second place - and in with a good chance of a home play-off semi-final with two games to go. A win over Hendon at Nyewood Lane on Easter Monday afternoon would guarantee a play-off place.

The Rocks had the best of the opening exchanges. In the third minute, Terry Dodd saw his fierce shot blocked and cleared before the striker fired wide two minutes later.

James Crane’s marauding run then resulted in a shot straight at Lee Worgan in the Maidstone goal as the Rocks continued their positive start.

On 20 minutes, the hosts threatened as Zak Attwood made a good run down the right but, frustratingly, there was nobody on the end of his inviting cross.

In the 24th minute the hard-working Dodd once again got a touch on the ball but the home keeper made a good save.

Bognor went 1-0 up in the 40th minute in front of the bumper 2,148 crowd.

A through ball from the dangerous Crane was met by midfielder Scott Chamberlain, who slotted in from 20 yards for his third goal in two games.

Just before half-time, Arron Hopkinson picked up an injury and was replaced by Ollie Pearce.

Maidstone nearly equalised right on the whistle when Alex Brown shot from 30 yards out but his effort just sailed over the bar.

The Rocks went 2-0 up on 64 minutes when a great cross from Pearce to substitute Dan Thompson saw the leggy striker calmly prod the ball into the net.

Maidstone responded with an intense spell of pressure, though, and reduced the deficit in the 71st minute when Steve Watt flicked into the net following a long-throw.

Maidstone exerted a lot of pressure in a thrilling last 15 minutes. Grant Smith in the Bognor goal was in inspired form, though, and twice denied Brown and Alex Fisher as the visitors held on to claim three priceless points.

BOGNOR: Smith, Hinshelwood, Crane, Tuck, Sackman, Robson, Hopkinson, Wills, Dodd, Igoe, Chamberlain. Subs: Pearce, Axten, Johnson, Thompson, Weir.

ROGER NASH