Rocks Review: Rocks 3 Burgess Hill 0

Terry Dodd sweeps in his first, and the Rocks' second, againat Burgess Hill  Picture by Tommy McMillan
Terry Dodd sweeps in his first, and the Rocks' second, againat Burgess Hill Picture by Tommy McMillan

The Rocks set up a Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final against Brighton reserves as Terry Dodd’s double killed off Burgess Hill at Nyewood Lane.

The 3-0 victory was the Rocks’ sixth win in seven games in which they have not conceded a goal - that’s close to 11 hours of clean sheets.

A pitch inspection was needed at 3.30pm over flooding fears but the surface was deemed playable.

Callum Saunders got a start in a strong first 11. Jason Prior and James Crane were on the bench.

The Rocks could have been ahead in the third minute when the Hillians failed to clear their lines as Steve Harper latched on to the ball inside the box, but he was blocked.

Two minutes later Staurt Axten headed down a cross for Harper inside the box and he smashed a shot on the volley – forcing a neat one-handed save from Joel Harding in the visitors’ goal.

Saunders drew a similar save out of the goalkeeper moments later as he headed at goal.

The visitors’ first attempt came on eight minutes when Luke Donaldson spotted Craig Stoner off his line, but from the edge of the box his looping shot flew over the bar.

On 14 minutes Joe White brought down Saunders just outside the box. Harper tried to direct the ball low around the defensive wall from the free-kick but it was blocked.

Dodd won a free-kick in a similar position after Neil Watts tugged him down. But again the kick was hit straight into the wall – this time from Ben Johnson. This was seconds before Johnson teed up Dodd with a cross from the right, but the striker headed over.

At the other end Jordan Woodley blasted narrowly over from long distance.

Johnson’s left-sided corner fell to Chris Breach in the box, but leaning backwards the defender couldn’t direct the ball with his head beyond Harding, who saved easily.

Fred Foreman forced Stoner into fumbling his save from a shot before Pat Harding blazed over the bar.

The impressive Saunders did well to reach the ball on the right flank on 36 minutes. But after he cut inside his shot was disappointingly way off target.

Nearing half-time the Hillians seemed to increase in confidence. Jonno Melia skipped into the box but his shot was feeble and straight at Stoner.

But Rocks took the lead just before half-time. Kane Wills, who looked lively all game, rattled the inside of the right post with a fierce shot. Then Harper was in space in the box to drill a low shot at goal. Defender Kit Tregear had the final touch before it rolled low into the bottom corner beyond Harding.

HT 1-0

As soon as Bognor kicked off the second half, it was obvious they wanted to increase their lead.

With 51 minutes on the clock Johnson cut inside to pass to Dodd, who glided across the front of the defence before getting a shot away.

Harding dived to his left to save, just managing to push the ball far enough to be out of the reach of Saunders, who was rushing in.

Two minutes later Harper sped through with a solo run but curled his shot agonisingly wide of the right post after cutting in from the left.

The Rocks doubled their lead on 55 minutes. Johnson did well down the left to square the ball across the area for Dodd to slide in and poke into an unguarded net.

On 64 minutes Wills sped down the right to get a low cross in for Harper, who slid in with the goalkeeper, but after the ball ran loose no-one could capitalise.

Burgess Hill rarely threatened in the second half but on 67 minutes Melia played a short pass forward to Ollie Lockyer, who hit it ambitiously from long distance. Stoner gathered comfortably.

Dodd’s second and his team’s third came on 84 minutes. Wills sped through on the break and set up Dodd, who passed two players before firing low into the net from inside the box.

The striker should have scored his hat-trick seconds later with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he appeared to take too much time before shooting and his low attempt was saved.

ROCKS: Stoner, Marzetti (Sackman 74), Wollers, Saunders, Axten, Breach (Blatchford 66), Beck (Crane 58), Wills, Dodd, Harper, Johnson. Unused subs: Prior, Boyle.

The Rocks are next in action in the league at Whitstable on Saturday. The next home match sees Worthing visit for a keenly-anticipated derby on Boxing Day.

LIAM GOODLEY