Jamie Howell hailed the Rocks’ much-needed first win of the season – then warned his players not to start thinking others would follow easily.
It took until the eighth game of the season for Bognor to record their first victory, a 2-1 success over VCD Athletic at Nyewood Lane on Tuesday night.
The win continued the improvement the Rocks have shown since starting the campaign with four straight defeats.
But Howell said just because last season’s slow start was followed by a three-month run full of goals and wins, the same wouldn’t happen this season without continued hard work.
After goals by Harvey Whyte and Ollie Pearce gave the Rocks their first win since April 24, Howell said: “We needed it. It had been a long time since our last win and you forget what it feels like. It’s given everyone a lift.
“I got to the ground and even before I’d got out of the car, people were saying ‘Ooh, we need to win tonight.’ I thought: ‘I know!’.
“In the previous three games or so, we’d been playing well without getting much reward, so it was nice to play well and get the result we deserved.
“It was nervy for a while after VCD made it 2-1, but we played it out quite comfortably in the end.”
Now attention turns to another home game, with mid-table East Thurrock at the Lane on Saturday before Bognor go to Billericay on Tuesday.
But there is an injury setback – skipper Paul Hinshelwood will undergo surgery on a ‘locked’ knee that forced him off against VCD and is set to be out for four to five weeks.
Forward Alex Parsons (ankle), keeper Chris Winterton (hamstring) and midfielders Jake Thomson (tendonitis) and Charlie Oatway (thigh) all have niggles but should be okay for Saturday.
The Rocks have also given themselves another attacking option by signing Stuart Green on dual-registration forms. He is a Gosport player, but is on loan at Moneyfields, and won’t be available every week.
And Howell revealed the hunt for new players was continuing.
“I’d still like another centre-forward and another centre-half,” he said. “It’s an intense period of the season with two games every week and if you don’t have cover, you’ll struggle.”
One early-season bonus is the form of midfielder Whyte, who has scored in each of the past two games – his effort against VCD coming from 35 yards out.
Howell said: “Harvey had a stop-start season last year because of injuries, but is in excellent form. I think his display against VCDS was the best I’ve ever seen from him. Something we’ve lacked is goals from midfield players, but he can put that right.”
Meanwhile, young winger Ryan Morey has joined Pagham.
Howell says everyone is looking forward to the next game with renewed confidence because of that first win. “It changes your outlook and we’ll go into the next one with confidence. But we can’t just turn up, not in any game. We need to be more clinical in both boxes.”
Get first news of the East Thurrock and Billericay games at www.bognor.co.uk