Rocks won’t bask in wondrous Worthing win for long

James Fraser's first goal v Worthing / Picture by Tim Hale
James Fraser's first goal v Worthing / Picture by Tim Hale

Jamie Howell reflected on the Rocks’ perfect day and vowed: We’ll enjoy it – but not for too long.

Bognor romped to a 5-0 holiday win over neighbours and big rivals Worthing in front of a 1,000-strong Nyewood Lane crowd.

Howell revealed he’d gone into the weekend thinking two points from games away to Billericay and at home to Worthing would be a good return – but they got six, winning 2-0 at Billericay before routing Worthing.

He said: “The Worthing game was hotly-anticipated – they’ve been doing very well.

“But it couldn’t have gone better for us. We reminded the lads how much the game meant to everyone at the club but I don’t think we needed to. We’ve got experienced players who know handle occasions like that.

“We were up for it from the start and were excellent all over the pitch. We took our chances and beat them in every department.”

This win doesn’t mean we’re the complete team – we’re far from where we want to be.

Jamie Howell

Howell praised the attacking players who tore the Mackerels defence apart in both halves but said it was a true team effort, with the defence playing their part in ensuring the visiting forwards got very few sights of Billy Granger’s goal.

“We’ll enjoy it but it’s gone now. It’s on to the next game,” he said. “This win doesn’t mean we’re the complete team – we’re far from where we want to be.

“We have 11 points from our first six games which I’m delighted with. We’ve shown what we can do but there is a long way to go and must keep out feet on the ground.”

Coach Darin Killpartrick said: “I’m a Worthing lad and one or two of Worthing’s players have come through my coaching system at Chichester College, so Monday made me very, very proud of my 14-year association with Bognor.

“It couldn’t have gone much better. We made sure from a coaching point of view our players played to the game and not to the occasion.

“We had a game plan and the team carried it out to the letter. But in the cold light of day, it’s only on e win and three points.”

Monday’s famous victory made it nine points, nine goals scored and none conceded inside seven days for the Rocks– a huge improvement after two draws and a defeat from the first three.

The only sour note was the sight of a glass and a bottle ending up on the pitch behind the goal where Worthing followers were massed at the end of the first half. The incident could be reported to the FA.

Victory took the Rocks up to fifth in the Ryman premier table –a place above Worthing.

Fans lapped up the derby delight, with some saying it was a greater day than even some of those seen in the run to the FA Trophy semi-finals last season.

Bognor still have a couple of players to come back into the team after injury – defenders Harvey Whyte and Chad Field and winger Alex Parsons the key ones – while the likes of forward Jimmy Muitt and winger Walter Figueira are still working their way up to 100 per cent fitness. And the Rocks may yet sign another striker as well.

Figueira, who impressed in the pre-season win at Pagham, had his international clearance certificate from Greece completed last Friday.

After impressing as a junior at Hampton & Richmond, Figueira moved to Chelsea. He played 22 games, scoring five goals, for their under-18s and under-21s before injury curtailed his stay at Stamford Bridge.

He played one game at Hayes & Yeading in the Conference South before moving to Greece. He joined AO Platania, who play in the top division in Greece, and made 11 appearances for them last season. He also played on loan at Acharnaikos, who play in the league below.

Next up for the Rocks are Guildford City, who visit Nyewood Lane in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday.

Sami El-Abd and Doug Tuck are slight doubts and Thomas Byrne is away with Ireland under-18s but Parsons is set to feature for the first time this season.

Bognor would love to repeat or better last year’s run to the Cup’s fourth qualifying round but are on their guard against the Combined Counties League premier side being out for an upset.

Killpartrick said: “Monday’s win over Worthing was superb for the whole club but we mustn’t bask in that as we prepare for what could be a tricky Cup game.”

STEVE BONE

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