Rocks show signs of hope – and areas for concern

Tommy Block on the attack for the Rocks at Truro / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Tommy Block on the attack for the Rocks at Truro / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Signs of encouragement – but things to worry about.

Those are the two things the Rocks management have seen in a testing week on the road for the club.

Bosses are delighted by some of the football the young squad are producing – but remain concerned over their tendency to gift goals to the opposition and lose their quality when trying to convert chances of their own.

It’s a worry that has the Rocks keen to sign another two quality players they think they need to hold their own in National League South – with one new arrivial possible before Saturday’s visit to high-flying Braintree.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Truro was a big improvement after a run of three defeats while the 3-1 midweek Sussex Senior Cup loss at Crawley Town also included positives.

Manager Jack Pearce admitted time was not on their side as they tried to find the formula that could turn decent football into goals and victories.

I was taken aback at how many fans went – it was amazing.

Darin Killpartrick

One big plus is the form of ex-Crystal Palace and Dulwich Hamlet forward Ibra Sekajja, whose equaliser at Truro was his second goal in two games. They’re also heartened by the way teenage midfielder Tommy Block is making his mark in the starting line-up.

Pearce said: “I’m immensely encouraged by some of the football the young team is playing, but unfortunately results are everything in football. Success for us will not be instant but time is in limited supply.

“We’re improving slowly but there’s a long way to go. Ibra has improved the team and we are playing some pleasing football.

“Much of our approach play is excellent but you get nothing for possession or being easy on the eye, and if you’re not at your best in your defending third or the attacking third, you won’t get much.

“Ollie Pearce took his goal well at Crawley but it came after we had given away possession for two goals they scored.”

Coach Darin Killpartrick praised the fans who made the 475-mile round trip to Truro, thought to be the longest journey the club have made for a league game, and said the players and backroom staff were working extremely hard to achieve the results the support deserved.

“I was taken aback at how many fans went – it was amazing,” he said. “We played okay but scoring goals is a problem for us. I’d describe Saturday as a real ‘club’ performance – a day when everyone did their bit to try to get a result.

“At Crawley, again we played some good stuff, but we are giving away far too many unnecessary goals – it’s got to stop.”

Pearce, who also praised the commitment of the fans, is trying to work out if a lack of quality in Bognor’s shooting and crossing is down to ability or confidence – and he suspects it is the latter because of the way the team have shown they can knock the ball about.

There are four senior players set to come back into the reckoning. Skipper Dan Beck and full-back Harvey Whyte are available again at Braintree on Saturday, when Bognor will be visiting a top-six National South team for a second successive week.

while defenders James Crane and Sami El-Abd are each a couple of weeks away from a return after hamstring ans shoulder injuries.

The Rocks have been pleased by the early form of left-back Archie Edwards, a Charlton Athletic under-23 star who has joined on loan for a month.

STEVE BONE