JAMIE HOWELL spoke of his delight after his side booked a spot in the FA Trophy first round on Saturday.
A Jason Prior penalty on 90 minutes was enough to see Bognor secure a 1-0 win over division-higher National League South side Bath City at Nyewood Lane.
Their impressive Trophy run has followed what proved to be a successful FA Cup run earlier in the campaign.
Rocks reached the fourth and final qualifying round before slipping to a 2-1 loss at another National South side in Wealdstone.
Those cup runs have seen Rocks see off three out of four National League South or North sides so far this season.
And performances against division-higher opposition have been something Howell has been particularly impressed with so far this season.
He said: “I was really pleased we managed to get the victory on Saturday.
“It looked as though we would be back at Bath on Tuesday, with no goals on 90 minutes.
“But Gary Charman won a penalty and Jason slammed home the spot-kick.
“We have struggled in recent seasons in cup competitions but this year has been a great success so far.
“We were one round away from the FA Cup first round proper and were a little unlucky to lose at Wealdstone.
“Now we have made it into round one in the Trophy.”
Rocks will once again have to overcame division-higher opposition if they are to reach the second round.
Monday’s draw saw them pitted against National South side Maidstone United with the Rocks making the trip on Saturday, December 12.
Howell knows his side will need to be at their best if they are to cause yet another cup upset.
But the Bognor boss is hopeful his side can make it four wins from five against league-higher opponents when the fixture comes around.
He added: “Maidstone are a quality side and are flying in the league above at the minute.
“We have played them quite a bit in recent seasons with them getting promoted last year.
“It’s a place we always enjoy going to and playing on the 3G surface they have up there.
“We know it’s not going to be easy but on our day we can be a match for most sides.”
Bognor return to Ryman League Premier action on Saturday when they travel to Hendon.
Rocks were flying high and on a 13-game unbeaten run before two league losses in a week before the Bath City clash.
Table-toppers Dulwich Hamlet ran out 3-2 victors at Nyewood Lane before they went down by the same margin at Merstham just four days later.
That has seen Bognor slipped down to fourth in the table but they are only five points off Dulwich at the top with two games in hand.
Howell is hopeful his side can get back to winning ways in the league at Hendon.
He said: “We were on a really good run in the league but suffered two straight defeats before the Trophy game with Bath.
“That happened to us earlier in the season when we had back-to-back defeats against Tonbridge Angels and at Metropolitan Police.
“But after that we went on a five-game unbeaten run in the league.
“So I don’t see any reason why we can’t go on a similar run to that again.
“Hendon had a great season last year but lost a couple of players in the summer.
“They are struggling a little so far but we know what they are capable of.”
Rocks will be without injured duo Alex Parsons (hamstring) and Dan Beck (knee).
Daryl Woolers has also dual signed with Southern Combination Premier League side Pagham.
Howell believes the talent needed game time and feels the move will benefit him.
He said: “Daryl needed to get some games so he has dual signed with Pagham.
“It’s a move that suits both clubs and I’m hoping he does well there.”
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