Rocks Review: Burgess Hill 0 Rocks 4

A foursome display on the road gave the Rocks three more crucial points in their quest for the Ryman one south title.

Goals from James Crane, Ben Johnson, Sonny Cobbs and Kane Wills kept them a point clear at the top ahead of Dulwich Hamlet and Whitehawk, who both won but who have both played a game more.

The Rocks play their game in hand at Eastbourne Town on Tuesday night.

The Rocks were without the injured Steve Harper so Terry Dodd returned to the starting line-up. Sonny Cobbs and Ben Andrews started on the bench as they get over hamstring and knee injuries.

Ben Johnson wore the captain’s armband in the absence of the injured Dan Beck, who is due to be on the sidelines for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.

The Hillians started brightly as Jonno Melia’s long throw won a corner. Paul Tuppenney took it but it rolled off for a goal kick.

Bognor responded on three minutes when Darryl Wollers’ cross from the left whizzed across the area after the visitors had gained possession.

At the other end Wills failed to clear his lines and passed the ball straight to Tyrone Berry - but the Bognor defence blocked the right winger’s shot.

Bognor came close nine minutes in when Johnson’s chipped shot was beaten away by keeper Joel Harding. Dodd had held the ball up before Johnson’s attempt but the referee had signalled for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Crane’s right-sided cross was well saved by Harding five minutes later. Then Kit Tregear’s forward ball was blocked bravely by Johnson, who was left clutching his stomach and needing treatment.

Harvey Whyte won a corner for Bognor with 20 minutes on the clock. Johnson’s kick from the right fell to Stuart Axten, whose header was cleared away near the back post.

Defensive errors let the Hillians in again moments later after Kenny Pogue was allowed to latch on to the ball and win a corner. But Dom Clarke could only head over the bar from Fred Foreman’s cross.

The Rocks took the lead, almost against the run of play, on 26 minutes. Jon Marzetti found Crane with a brilliant right-sided cross, and the utility player, relatively unmarked, headed home with Harding stranded.

Dodd was shown a yellow card for arguing about a refereeing decision.

On 32 minutes Johnson’s corner from the left found Osa Obamwonyi, who had risen above the defence to head it just too high.

In first-half stoppage time Johnson’s dangerous dipping cross was only just dealt with by Tuppenney on the back post before Dodd could get there. Johnson’s resulting corner found Axten, but again he nodded over the bar.

HT 0-1

The Rocks were livelier at the start of the second half. Johnson’s corner kick was poor and cleared, but he tried again from open play only to see his delivery prove too strong for Axten, who couldn’t divert the ball back into the box.

Wollers required treatment after a bursting run down the left-hand side.

Bognor got the all-important second goal on 55 minutes. Marzetti played on down the right despite calls from the home support that the play should be stopped. He crossed into the area and it bounced to the feet of Johnson, who lashed the ball home into the top corner.

On 64 minutes, Dodd did well to hold up the ball for Marzetti on the right. The right-back’s low cross was easily dealt with, though.

Seconds afterwards Johnson let fly but the ball flashed just wide of the post.

Marzetti, having an excellent game, lofted the ball nicely over the defence for Wills, but the defence got there first to boot it clear.

Whyte tried to cross towards Johnson but Harding got there first.

In a rare attack for the Hillians, Berry’s cross found sub Max Miller on the back post but he headed straight at Craig Stoner when perhaps he should have done a lot better.

Then Marzetti played in sub Andrews, who outmuscled Melia before getting a shot away and forcing Harding into a decent save. The linesman had his flag up for a foul on Melia.

On 81 minutes Johnson and Ashley Robinson combined on the left to allow Robinson to cut inside and shoot. It was blocked and went out for a corner. Johnson’s cross found Andrews but he skied his header.

But the Rocks soon found the net again after a drab ten or 15 minutes when Wills’ long ball was headed on by Andrews to Cobbs, whose header flew over Harding and dipped in.

The game was over but Bognor added to the score on 88 minutes. Wills sped into the box and netted with a low shot as Harding dived the wrong way to cheers from the travelling support.

ROCKS: Stoner, Marzetti, Wollers, Crane, Axten, Obamwonyi, Whyte (Thomson 86), Wills, Robinson (Cobbs 83), Dodd (Andrews 70), Johnson. Unused sub: Boyle.

Report by LIAM GOODLEY