ROCKS REVIEW: Let’s show Met Police 4-0 defeat was just a blip

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The Rocks welcome the league leaders to Nyewood Lane on Saturday determined to prove their nightmare defeat at Faversham was a one-off.

They lost 4-0 in Kent after having defender Perry Ryan controversially sent off in the third minute, but believe they can quickly put it behind them with a positive display at home to Met Police.

Tuesday night’s defeat was their first in the league in three months and now they are out to launch another unbeaten run which will carry them towards at least a play-off spot and the real prospect of promotion.

Ryan will be eligible to play on Saturday but he will be banned for three games because he was red-carded for violent conduct after the referee said he elbowed an opponent in the face in an aerial challenge.

The Rocks believe an appeal is pointless but joint manager Darin Killpartrick said: “I couldn’t see much wrong with the challenge.

“Perry is an honest lad and says he genuinely went for the ball. The ref has seen something but I can assure people there’s no malice in Perry.

“I’m extremely upset about it because we missed him for the rest of the game and will miss him when he’s banned.”

The nature of the defeat - the Rocks were three down by half-time and fortunate not to concede more than four - gives Killpartrick and Jamie Howell the task of lifting their players in time for Saturday’s tussle with the leaders, who have lost only twice in the league this season.

Howell said: “Our approach will be the same as always. We know Met Police are a very good side who, like us, try to play with wingers and attack on the floor, but we will try to dictate the play.

“There’s no reason why one defeat should put us off-course. We’ve lost other games this season and come back well. We have to keep believing in ourselves and show we can bounce back.”

The players looked tired at Faversham - it was their eighth game in 25 days - but the bosses aren’t using that as an excuse.

Killpartrick said: “For the first time this season we looked tired. But having said that, Faversham looked hungrier than us. We might have got something had we kept 11 men on the pitch but we have no qualms about them having won the game.

“One or two players’ performances weren’t acceptable but we’ll learn from it.

“And we must keep things in perspective. We’ve taken 18 points from 21 so far in January and anyone would have settled for that at the turn of the year.”

Ironically, the hammering meant the Rocks’ goal difference for the past two weeks was zero - for it came just three days after they’d dished out a thrashing of their win, winning 5-1 at Whyteleafe.

Luke Nightingale led the procession with a hat-trick and Jason Prior and Ben Johnson both weighed in with another goal apiece.

All three of those players have taken knocks and suffered niggly injuries in recent weeks but all three should be fit to face Met Police.

And the Rocks could get a major selection boost if midfield maestro James Fraser - out since suffering a knee injury at Whitehawk three weeks ago - proves his fitness in a training session tonight.

The Rocks seem guaranteed another big crowd for Saturday’s third-versus-first match - probably 400-plus.

They were again backed by a large and vocal travelling green army at Whyteleafe and Faversham, which drew praise from the managers.

Killpartrick said: “I think a couple of them even booked a hotel and stayed overnight in Kent on Tuesday because it was a long journey. All the support is hugely appreciated.”

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