Bognor stars told: Wasting chances will mean wasting our play-off chances
The Rocks have been told to show their attacking quality more consistently if they want to break into the Isthmian premier play-off places.
Although they took four points out of six from trips to Potters Bar and Corinthian-Casuals, manager Jack Pearce and coach Robbie Blake were alarmed at how little they worked either opposition goalkeeper despite a massive amount of possession.
Brad Lethbridge’s goal earned a 1-0 successs at Potters Bar on Saturday but the Rocks needed a James Crane wonder-strike to secure a 1-1 draw with the Casuals on Tuesday. In each game, they had plenty of the play – but many chances went begging.
Now they return to home turf to play Kingstonian on Saturday and Brightlingsea Regent next Tuesday – being challenged to be more clincial in attack.
The Rocks are ninth, four points behind Hornchurch, who occupy the final play-off place.
Pearce warned Kingstonian and Brightlingsea would bring different but equally tricky tests. He rates Ks, who he went to watch last night, as one of the best three teams in the division and says Regent’s position near the bottom means they will be battling for survival.
Both games – plus the February 8 visit to Enfield – will go ahead without skipper Harvey Whyte after he was given a straight red card at Potters Bar.
The Rocks felt a yellow card would have been more suitable for Whyte’s mistimed challenge but, with no video evidence, have not appealed.
Bognor are still without left-sided player Ashton Leigh, while new midfielder Jake Flannigan is doubtful with a shoulder injury suffered at Corinthian and another midfield man, Josh Flint, has been having a trial at Gillingham.
Pearce said of the Corinthian draw: “If possession made points, I think we’d taken about ten on Tuesday night!
“Apart from the first two or three minutes it was us attacking and them defending, and it was the same at Potters Bar for long periods.
“But the final thing we did – whether it was the final pass, cross or shot – was so poor and nowhere near the quality of our approach play.
“We were fortunate we had Brad’s goal to show for it at Potters Bar but we’d have lost to Corinthian-Casuals but for a great goal by Craney.
“We worked very hard. You don’t dominate at this level unless you’re working very hard. Our keeper must have been very cold – he had hardly anything to do.
“But when we attacked, any shot with venom was more of a danger to anyone outside the ground; anything on target, you could have had my mum in goal and she’d have saved it.
“We do have the ability to score goals, as we’ve shown recently, but we need to be more consistent. It’s now important we get two results in our next two home games.
“Kingstonian are one of the best teams in the league.”
Pearce said the Rocks often struggled against sides near the bottom and would need a fast start in Tuesday’s clash with Brightlingsea.
Coach Blake said the win at Potters Bar came against a tough opponent. “We kept a clean sheet and worked so hard. You need that. Players have talent but what you don’t always get with talent is hard work and commitment, but we had that,” Blake said.
“We can’t always play like we did when we beat Cray 7-2 and Margate 6-1. We had to be patient and stay calm.”
Blake felt Whyte’s red card was harsh as the skipper ‘slid in’ to a challenge and did not ‘lunge in’. “We lose ‘Skip’ for three games but it’s an opportunity for someone.”