ROCKS REVIEW: Whitehawk 1 Rocks 2

BOGNOR continued their promotion push in Ryman one south with a 2-1 success at Whitehawk.

The victory, courtesty of a goal in each half from Michael Birmingham and Dan Royce, put the Rocks just two points behind second-placed Whitehawk and only five off leaders Met Police, who beat Leatherhead.

And it gives Darin Killpartrick and Jamie Howell’s men nine points from nine in 2011.

Hosts Whitehawk missed the first opportunity on two minutes when ex-Rock Sam Gargan chipped the ball through to Hughes but he appeared to handle the ball and gave away a free-kick.

On eight minutes Bognor pressed forward and Luke Nightingale won a corner on the left but Ben Johnson’s kick was easily cleared.

A minute later good work from Gargon, Jones and Tate allowed the latter to fire at goal from inside the area but keeper Craig Stoner managed to push the ball away.

James Fraser was booked bizarrely by the referee after limping off to the sidelines and was replaced by Kane Wills on 15 minutes.

The Rocks took the lead on 23 minutes when Birmingham scored from a free-kick from outside the area, which he curled around the wall and although Mansfield got a hand to it, it found the net.

Two minutes later Whitehawk scored the equaliser through Gargan fired past Stoner.

Hughes had a goal rightly disallowed for offside before the break.

Half-time 1-1

On 49 minutes Whitehawk were denied when Stoner pulled out a good save to deny Gargan. Tate then sped down the right after a poor corner-kick from the Rocks.

On 65 minutes Nightingale had a volleyed effort blocked at the last moment after good pressure.

Five minutes later the Rocks had a great chance but Dan Beck saw his long-range strike tipped onto the top of the bar.

Moments later Beck again should have done better when he blasted well over the top after the ball fell invitingly in the box.

On 77 minutes Bognor took the lead. Johnson curled in a free-kick from the right straight on to the head of substitute Royce, who managed to glance his header into the top corner.

On 82 minutes Hawks went close when Gargan drove in a deep cross from the left that fell to Akehurst but he hit the side-netting from a tight angle.

After three minutes of agonising pressure from the hosts, Bognor held out for the vital three points in their promotion push.

It means they have completed the double over Whitehawk and now can look forward with confidence to facing the other two sides in the top four, Met Police and Leatherhead, who they have yet to play home or away.

Next up, though, it’s another trip across Sussex - to Lewes - for a Sussex Senior Cup game on Wednesday night.

WHITEHAWK: Mansfield, Richards, Fisk, Armstrong, Tuck, Pullan, Hughes, Akehurst, Tate, Gargon, Jones. Subs: Budd, Kirkwood, Hurley, Brotherton, McBride.

ROCKS: Stoner, Crane, Marzetti, Fraser, Perry, Bond, Beck, Birmingham, Prior, Nightingale, Johnson. Subs: Wills, Maynard, Marshall, Royce, Wood.

Referee: Mr M Eva.

Report by Liam Goodley

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