Rocks Review: Players told to forget about Dulwich and Whitehawk

The Rocks must forget about their title rivals and get on with the job of finishing the season with three wins.

That’s what joint bosses Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick will tell their players ahead of Saturday’s critical clash with relegation-haunted Whyteleafe at Nyewood Lane.

The Rocks handed the initiative in the title race to Dulwich Hamlet on Monday when they lost their game in hand 1-0 at Worthing with a below-par display.

Dulwich, who lead the Rocks by two points, will win the title if they are victors in each of their final three games – but they host the other contenders, Whitehawk, this Saturday and any slip-up by Dulwich would put the Rocks back on top if they win their match.

All three sides have another two games after this weekend, so all have genuine hopes of final top spot. The teams finishing second and third will face home play-off semi-finals.

The Rocks will be keen to put the Woodside Road defeat behind them and could be boosted by the return to the starting line-up of any of Dan Beck, Steve Harper or Harvey Whyte.

Howell said they couldn’t afford to worry about their rivals and instead must concentrate on getting back to winning ways in the run-in.

“The boys realised Monday’s game was a big one and we were gutted to lose it,” said Howell.

“But it’s still all to play for. We’ve three games left and must go out, enjoy playing and try to win them, as we have won many games this season.

“Two of our final three are at home, where we are unbeaten in the league so far. Everyone will be interested to know what Dulwich and Whitehawk are doing but we can’t worry about that until and unless we’ve got our own job done.”

His sentiments were backed by Killpartrick, who said: “We mustn’t be distracted by anything else – we must play our own game and keep our focus on getting the right result. The same will go for each of our final three games.”

The bosses were frustrated by the Worthing defeat, admitting their team weren’t at their best but insisting they might just as easily have nicked it 1-0, as Worthing did.

It followed a nervy 4-2 home win over Sittingbourne when the visitors recovered from a 3-0 half-time deficit to trail 3-2 with 13 minutes left.

Howell said: “At Worthing we conceded another goal which was down to sloppy play on our part – there’s been too much poor defending recently and it has to stop.

“A changing line-up hasn’t helped but players have to take responsibility.”

Killpartrick said: “We didn’t get the ball down and pass and move it well enough in the second half.”