Rocks ready for play-off showdown

Connor Tighe scores the fourth goal against Hendon last weekend / Picture by Tim Hale

Connor Tighe scores the fourth goal against Hendon last weekend / Picture by Tim Hale

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For the third time in six seasons, the Rocks take in Dulwich Hamlet in a Ryman League play-off tonight.

After finishing second, Jamie Howell’s team welcome the south London side to Nyewood Lane knowing a win will put them within one game of promotion to National League South.

Defeat on the other hand would give them another season in the Ryman premier.

If they win they go through to Monday’s final, which would be at home to Tonbridge or East Thurrock, with a coveted place in National League South at stake.

The Rocks missed the Ryman title and automatic promotion by just a point but have done superbly to finish second in a season which also saw them make great progress in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.

Tonight is their 65th competitive game and boss Jamie Howell admitted anything could happen.

It’s a play-off and you just can’t predict what will happen.

“It’s a play-off and you just can’t predict what will happen,” said Howell.

“Our home form is excellent and we must aim to continue it tonight, and then a second time if we get to the final.

“There was a little disappointment at not winning the league but if you’d offered us second spot at the start of the season we’d certainly have taken it.”

Bognor lost to Dulwich in a Ryman one south play-off semi-final in 2011, but beat them in the final a year later.

Recent absentees Craig Robson and Alex Parsons could be in the squad after getting over injuries.

Howell and coach Darin Killpartrick are hoping a huge crowd pack into the Lane to cheer on Bognor in their fourth play-off in six seasons.

Killpartrick said: “We have a team who are fully prepared for this and know what we want them to do. We have a lot of respect for Dulwich Hamlet and it should be a great, close game.

“We need everyone behind us.”

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