ROCKS REVIEW: We won’t let fear of failure hit our hopes

Ben Johnson celebrates a goal against Godalming   Picture by Louise Adams
Ben Johnson celebrates a goal against Godalming Picture by Louise Adams

Fear of failure won’t haunt the Rocks in their promotion run-in.

The team have been on a terrific run of nine wins and a draw from 11 league games since the turn of the year.

They dropped two points when they missed a succession of chances in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Ramsgate.

But the management have moved to take any pressure off their players by telling them ahead of Saturday’s revenge mission at Eastbourne Town: “It’s no big deal if we lose.”

Joint boss Jamie Howell said that was not because they weren’t desperate for a win which would strengthen their position at the top of Ryman one south. Instead it was an attempt to deflect some of the attention now on the team because they are at the summit.

The Rocks produced a workmanlike performance to beat Godalming 2-0 at Nyewood Lane on Saturday but couldn’t follow it up with another victory against Ramsgate in midweek.

Nevertheless, they’re four points clear in the lead with 15 games to go.

Howell said the camp had mixed feelings after the Ramsgate draw, in which the Rocks had the majority of the possession and chances but couldn’t finish off the visitors.

He said: “We weren’t sure how to take the result. We felt it could be one of those games where it didn’t quite go for us, but at least we played well and at least we didn’t lose.

“We’re not going to win every game - everyone has to accept that. We may be clear at the top at the moment but this division will go to thr wire and all the top sides will have good runs and wobbles.

“We want to take some of the pressure off the players and while we would love to win at Eastbourne, who gave us a bit of a shock to the system when they won at our place in October, if we are beaten, so be it.

“We can’t be scared of losing. There must be no fear of failure. We have to be positive and brave and see what happens. If we win the league or get in the play-offs, great, but if we don’t, we will learn from it.”

Fellow boss Darin Killpartrick warned there would be many more games to come like the Ramsgate draw, with rival sides happy to draw against the Rocks or make it hard for them to play their passing game.

“Word’s got around that we can move the ball with speed and there’ll be other teams who park the bus in front of their goal. We have to be ready to adapt.”

Meanwhile, Luke Nightingale is ready to boost the Rocks with a quick return from his leg injury - and the Rocks are hoping he and Jason Prior stay fit for the run-in after releasing Dean Maynard.

Nightingale, scorer of 19 goals in 23 starts and ten appearances off the bench, has missed the past three games but looks like being fit to return at Eastbourne to partner 24-goal Jason Prior.

That will be a relief for the Rocks after they allowed Maynard to turn his dual-registration status into a permanent switch to Wick.

That leaves Charlie Marshall as the only back-up striker, although James Fraser and Kane Wills have been successfully used in support roles behind Prior while Nightingale has been out.

Jamie Howell said: “It’s difficult because you always want back-up, but we were paying out for Dean when he was only going to be of real use to use when he was match-fit.

“We’ll be okay as we are but, heaven forbid, if Luke or Jason were ruled out for any length of time we may be able to talk to Wick and to Dean and get him back.”

Fraser and Dan Beck are slight doubts for Saturday. Fraser took a knock on his knee on Tuesday while Beck complained of tight hamstrings.

Dan Royce, Phil Turner and Matt Wood stand by to come into the starting line-up.