Rocks Review: Be more clinical or we’ll get punished

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Jamie Howell has warned his players to start taking more chances – or get punished by some of the top teams they’re about to play.

The Rocks have won seven and drawn one of their eight league and cup games to date, despite being less-than-convincing in a number of the matches.

They progressed to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup last Saturday with a 1-0 win over Sittingbourne that might have gone to a replay had the Kent side taken any of their second-half chances.

Howell feels the Rocks need to become more clinical as they gear up to face Whyteleafe and 100 per cent leaders Dulwich Hamlet in the league in the next six days and then head for an FA Cup tie with Maidstone.

They go into the tough period without midfielder James Fraser, who has made a shock move to the Rocks’ Ryman one south rivals Whitehawk.

Against Sittingbourne, Terry Dodd’s shot was turned into his own net by defender Jack Hooper after ten minutes but the Rocks failed to build on it.

Joint manager Howell said: “We played really well in the first half but what’s slightly concerning is that we are having lots of possession and not turning it into goals.

“I’d say we’re creating enough chances but not taking enough. On this occasion Sittingbourne couldn’t punish us for that, but other sides will.

“We have three tough games in the next week or so and if we have chances we need to take them, or at least a better proportion of them.”

Fellow boss Darin Killpartrick described Saturday’s second-half display as ‘flat’ and ‘extremely disappointing’ after an ‘outstanding’ first-half show.

The Rocks may be boosted at Whyteleafe by the return of Luke Nightingale, who has missed the past two games with a trapped nerve in his neck. They hope he can train tonight with a view to being fit for Saturday.

Everyone else is available but the Rocks have lost a third player from the squad in a week – defender Chris Breach moving on after failing to find full fitness and a regular spot on his return to the Lane.

Coming after last week’s departure of defender Duncan Jupp and winger Louie Castles, that leaves the management anxious to bring in one or two reinforcements before injuries and bans leaves them short.

Killpartrick said: “We were hoping to get Chris fully fit and have him in the squad but he chose not to stay. We’ve a small squad and we’ll need to tinker. Teams don’t win things – squads do – so it’s important to have a good 16.”

Dulwich’s visit on Tuesday (7.45) comes less than five months after their play-off win at the Lane to end the Rocks’ promotion dream.