Rocks Review: Rocks 6 Godalming 0

The rampant Rocks produced arguably their best display of the season to brush aside play-off hopefuls Godalming and pass the 50-goal mark for their league campaign as they went second in the table.

Two apiece from James Crane - named man of the match - and sub Steve Harper and one each for Jason Prior and Ben Johnson sent the Surrey side home with their tails between their legs.

A defeat at Faversham for Maidstone - who visit Nyewood Lane on Saturday - put the Rocks above the Kent side, and only Dulwich Hamlet now lead the Rocks at the head of Ryman one south.

The Rocks welcomed back skipper Dan Beck after he missed the win at Merstham through a ban and that meant Harper had to be content with a place on the bench.

It was a lively start - and a perfect start for the Rocks. Just six minutes had gone when Johnson swung over his first curling cross from the left - a source of so many Rocks goals in recent weeks - and Crane got his foot on the end of it at the near post to divert the ball past helpless keeper Jamie Norris.

The hosts weren’t far away from a second on ten minutes. First Prior’s low drive was blocked in the six-yard box from a Johnson cross, then Ben Andrews headed just wide from the follow-up cross.

Jon Marzetti has been getting forward well from right-back in recent games and went on a surging run to the edge of the box which ended with a shot which was blocked by a defender.

It was all Rocks in the opening stages and Crane was unfortunate to mishit a shot when Johnson put him through on Norris, and then Crane unsettled the keeper from a high cross. From the corner, Andrews’ header was superbly pushed away by the busy Norris.

Terry Dodd weaved away from two defenders in cutting in from the right and firing in a shot which Norris had to get down to sharply.

The inevitable quieter spell followed after the Rocks’ frenetic start, but Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick’s men seemed in reasonable control of the play.

Suddenly, though, Craig Stoner was called into action on 24 minutes and he saved well at the end of a rare Godalming attack.

Dodd’s involvement ended just before the half-hour as he went down just inside his own half with a leg injury and was replaced by Harper - a worry for the Rocks with a heavy programme of games coming up.

The Rocks lost a little of their fluency as Godalming came more into the game, but that didn’t stop them going two up on 36 minutes.

Beck made the goal when he unleashed a fierce low drive from 25 yards which beat the keeper and hit the base of the post. It came back out to Prior, who had the relatively simple task of putting it away.

This put Godalming on the back foot and Harper might have done better when running on to a pass on the edge of the area and sidefooting a shot at Norris.

Beck was goal provider again four minutes later when he won a 50-50 ball 35 yards from goal and poked a pass through to Crane, who ran on, drew the keeper and calmly sidefooted it under him for his second of the night.

Johnson’s mazy run down the left on 43 minutes caused more problems for Godalming but his cross-shot was blocked.

Then there was another injury scare for the home team when Darryl Wollers went down after a 50-50 ball. Happily he was soon up on his feet after treatment and back on the pitch.

HT 3-0

The Rocks carried on in the second half where they’d left off and Harper got his first Nyewood Lane goal by smashing home a far-post volley when Prior got away down the left and found him unmarked with a high, hanging cross.

Godalming gave notice they were still a threat when Scott Harris’ header forced Stoner to tip the goal-bound ball over for a corner. Then a game of pinball in the box put Stoner’s goal under threat again.

It was 5-0 on 56 minutes with a rare right-footed goal from Johnson as he ran on to a ball through the middle and coolly chipped it over Norris as he closed down his angles.

Marzetti went into the book for hauling back Dan Read, but the free-kick came to nothing.

Read shot weakly wide of Stoner’s near post when he was put clean through on 61 minutes before the downtrodden visitors brought on Jon Palmer for Jamie McClurg.

Godalming were at least enjoying a better share of the possession but the Rocks seemed content to sit back for a while and soak up the pressure. Prior was replaced by Jack Blatchford with 24 minutes remaining.

Johnson tried to beat about six players in one foray into the box and almost managed it before being crowded out.

Crane was unlucky to see yellow when he appeared to win the ball on the Rocks left.

Godalming were still working hard but were overcomplicating things in trying to find an opening, and at the other end Johnson eyed up a second with another weaving run which ended in a shot being blocked.

Sub Blatchford tried his luck from 30 yards but all it threatened was the clubhouse roof.

Godalming’s frustrating night was getting to them and left-back Ryan Lake and striker Harris both went into the book for crude challenges.

Crane had a sniff of a hat-trick after being put through but shot across goal, but it was 6-0 on 87 minutes when Johnson crossed for Harper to sidefoot in a close-range effort.

Rocks: Stoner, Marzetti, Wollers, Crane, Axten, Andrews, Beck, Wills, Prior, Dodd, Johnson. Subs: Harper, Blatchford, Sackman, Breach, Boyle.

Godalming: Norris, Cooper, Lake, Smith, Simeone, Short, Read, McClurg, S Harris, Wheeler, edwards. Subs: Palmer, W Harris, Baker, Hibbert.

Ref: S Finch (Southampton).


Get all the latest from Nyewood Lane in the Observer on Thursday