Tempers flare as Rocks lose to ex-manager's Eastbourne

Tommy Block tries to find space in the middle of the park at Eastbourne, with ex-Rock Kane Wills, right, among the opponents / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Tommy Block tries to find space in the middle of the park at Eastbourne, with ex-Rock Kane Wills, right, among the opponents / Picture by Tommy McMillan

The end of the season surely can't come soon enough for the Rocks after another defeat - 3-0 away to former manager Jamie Howell's team Eastbourne Borough - edged them ever closer to relegation.

The 3-0 loss to the Sports left Jack Pearce's men still 13 points from safety but with only seven games left - and bottom side Whitehawk have now dranw level on points with them. Clinical finishing from the Sports was effectively the difference between the sides.

There was a bad-tempered end to the game ... after the final whistle, Rocks coach Darin Killpartrick and Borough boss Jamie Howell - the pair who were in the Rocks dugout for eight years together until last May - had to be pulled apart following their handshake.

The Rocks fielded an attacking formation with Ibra Sekajja, Ollie Pearce, Jimmy Muitt and Justin Amaluzor all getting starts. An early one-two between Doug Tuck and Pearce saw Sekajja run on to a pass but the ball rolled out of play. Muitt won a corner and took it himself. Harvey Whyte threaded it inside to Pearce but he smashed it wide on the turn.

Sekajja stole the ball in midfield but after running in on goal his strike was blocked for a corner. Pearce’s delivery found Gary Charman, back in the starting line-up in defence against his former side, and he nodded the ball down to Keaton Wood but he hooked itl well wide over his head. Bognor won another corner after Pearce was fouled but Calvin Davies' pass to him saw the striker move inside but hit the side netting.

A Kane Wills corner was headed out by Davies. Muitt went to ground after slipping over on the damp surface but was able to continue. Davies put the ball the down the left for Amaluzor to run on to it but Kiran Khinda-John slid in to stop him - and was booked for the challenge on 20 minutes. Pearce curled in the free-kick from the left which Mark Smith had to punch away.

Ex-Rock Gavin McCallum found Sergio Torres in the middle before he passed to Jamie Taylor, who fired over the crossbar - a let-off for the Rocks. However, on 26 minutes Eastbourne took the lead when Archie Edwards' cross fell to Shaun Okojie, who slammed it home from close range.

Tuck found Amaluzor, who turned instantly to shoot with his left foot, but keeper Smith was well placed to save it. Torres chipped a ball into Okojie whose header committed Dan Lincoln into a save. Lincoln's parry fell to Torres, whose low strike was blocked.

Sekajja forced Smith into a dave with a low effort. Following a corner Sekajja somehow made it through three defenders before running along the line and cutting inside the penalty area and got a shot away. But again Smith was in the way of it. Charman went to ground under a challenge and required treatment. Davies went sliding into a challenge and was hurt - Davies also received treatment and returned to the action.

Edwards sent in another cross and Torres was on the end of it but his looping header was gathered high in the air by Lincoln. HT 1-0

Yemi Odubade did everything but score straight after the restart. He beat two players but was blocked at the last moment. Muitt headed on a forward pass but Amaluzor couldn't quite get there and Smith hoofed the ball out of play after rushing out of his area.

On 50 minutesTaylor extended the lead for the hosts. McCallum's low cross fell to Taylor on the right of the area and he fired the ball low into the bottom corner beyond Lincoln's dive. For Bognor Whyte fed Muitt who fired the ball low into the area. Amaluzor was there but his first-time strike was well stopped by Smith.

On 54 minutes Tommy Block was replaced by Richard Gilot and Muitt came off for Ben Swallow. Following a Davies throw, Sekajja span but blasted wide. Things got worse for the Rocks when Eastbourne extended their lead on 64 minutes. A quick cross from the right by Torres was deflected out to McCallum who fired it low into the bottom corner.

McCallum again ran through the Bognor half following a through pass but slid the ball wide with the outside of his boot on 68 minutes. Sekajja was replaced by Stefan Ljubicic on 72 minutes. Swallow was set free down the right but his cross was blocked. Whyte’s shot was also charged down.

Another in-swinging low cross was easily gathered by Smith - before a Pearce corner was punched away by Smith high above anyone else in the box. Amaluzor, Wood and Davies combined before the latter finally got a shot in at goal, but Davies' dipping strike was well stopped by Smith. Another Pearce corner was headed high and wide by Charman.

Good play from Bognor saw Tuck thread the ball wide to Swallow but his cross was too much for Amaluzor on 89 minutes. Lloyd Dawes found himself free just inside Bognor's area and forced Lincoln into a sharp save. Will Hendon tried his luck with a long-range effort shortly after but Lincoln was well placed to save.

Whyte was booked for a challenge as Okojie worked his way through. Dawes hit the free-kick into the wall.

After the final whistle, tempers flared at the end on the touchline as Killpartrick and Howell had to be pulled apart following their handshake.

Bognor travel to Evesham on Saturday to take on Gloucester City with time running out fast on their stay in National League South.

Rocks: Lincoln, Whyte, Davies, Tuck, Wood, Charman, Amaluzor, Block (Gilot 54), Muitt (Swallow 54), Pearce, Sekajja (Ljubicic 72). Sub not used: Scutt.

Att - 525