THE ROCKS have broken their points duck with two draws – but have admitted: We should have more than two points.
Draws with Kingstonian and Peacehaven ended the run of four defeats that opened their Ryman premier campaign, but in each game the Rocks were leading 1-0 with minutes left.
Poor defending saw Kingstonian equalise at Nyewood Lane on Saturday to earn a point most felt they deserved, while a succession of errors led to a leveller at Peacehaven in a game the Rocks bossed and should have won.
For manager Jamie Howell, it brought mixed feelings. He can see a gradual improvement in his team’s play but warns the sloppy goals are costing them too many points.
The search for the first win takes them to Bury Town on Saturday before they host newly-promoted Kent side VCD next Tuesday – two opponents who have also struggled for points so far.
In the meantime the hunt for new players continues, with an experienced central defender a priority after 17-year-old Jack Smith’s proposed loan move from Eastleigh didn’t work out.
The two points from the holiday weekend left the Rocks 20th – one place above the relegation zone – but they know that a couple of wins will transport them into mid-table.
Howell said: “It’s two points, which is a start, but I’d have liked it to have been four. Kingstonian would have been aggrieved to go away from our place with nothing so a draw wasn’t an unfair result. The frustration was their goal came from a passage of play we should have been able to deal with.
“But at Peacehaven, we played very well and should have turned our dominance into a greater number of chances. Then we were undone by a combination of balls we should have dealt with. To come away with a draw was very disappointing.
“We can’t go on letting in joke goals but in terms of our general play, I think we’re getting there. It’s been difficult because we’re still moulding the team and looking for new players but we’re beginning to look like a Bognor team – a team who know what we’re doing.”
James Crane’s return to the defence gave the Rocks a more solid look in the holiday-weekend games but they are still short in the centre of defence.
Loanee Smith has gone back to Eastleigh and Osa Obamwonyi, in addition to suffering nosebleeds after a knock at Hendon, is suspended for three games after Saturday’s trip to Suffolk.
Dan Sackman was drafted in to partner Craig Robson in the heart of defence at Peacehaven but is not 100 per cent fit.
Howell said: “We still need two more players and an experienced centre-half is a priority.”
They suffered another blow last Thursday when Darren Wheeler – after a bright start to his Nyewood Lane career – decided to leave for work and travel reasons. He is set to return to one of his old clubs, Godalming.
Howell said: “I’m really sorry to see Darren leave us so soon after his arrival, but fully respect his reasons. He settled well into the side and certainly showed what he’s capable of in our two home matches, when he was excellent. We wish him all the best.”
Up front, Alex Parsons and Ollie Pearce are starting to form a promising partnership – but Howell wants more competition for places.
Winger Arron Hopknison has looked lively coming off the bench but is another who’s a little below full fitness.
Skipper and full-back Paul Hinshelwood may need surgery on a medial ligament and cartilage problem but is set to play on for now.