New Pompey recruit earns praise from Bognor bosses

Bognor's young team - pictured celebrating a goal againt Burgess Hill - are winning praise from boss Jack Pearce and coach Robbie Blake / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Bognor's young team - pictured celebrating a goal againt Burgess Hill - are winning praise from boss Jack Pearce and coach Robbie Blake / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Bognor's latest Pompey recruit came through his Rocks debut with flying colours and has earned the praise of manager Jack Pearce following the 2-1 Bostik Premier triumph at table-toppers Tonbridge Angels.

Pearce signed centre-half Joe Dandy, 17, on loan from Pompey last week and he slotted in to the Bognor back four seamlessly as goals from another Fratton Park youngster Bradley Lethbridge and Mason Walsh earned the visitors the three points.

Lethbridge struck for 1-0 before unbeaten Rocks were pegged back and then Walsh, the son of former England flyer Paul, grabbed a late winner to secure the victory.

Dandy equipped himself well alongside Chad Field at the heart of the Rocks rearguard in the wake of injuries to key defenders Corey Heath and Keaton Wood. The win over the league leaders means Pearce's outfit could go top after Tuesday's game at home to Folkestone Invicta.

And Dandy's display, along with that of his team-mates, impressed Pearce, who also applauded the team's resilience given their tender years -- with an average age of just 20.

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He said: "I am ever so enthused by our group of players because they are doing ever so well and are so young. For Joe to come in to our side aged just 17 and play as well as he did deserves special mention.

"But that said, the entire squad deserve praise. Being so young means mistakes will be made but it's how you respond to mistakes and I thought our response was fantastic. We stuck to our guns and ultimately got what I think we deserved."

One blow from the game was the knock sustained by midfielder Tommy Block, who was withdrawn late on and must now be a doubt for the game against Folkestone.

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Meanwhile, Rocks No.2 Robbie Blake says the win helps build momentum for the game. He said: "It's a big game purely on the back of this win. I don't think you ever doubt us under the lights at home. We're used to the pitch, it's the best in the league and that suits us. Come Tuesday we'll be ready and raring to go and hopeful get the three points.

"Against Tonbridge, we were the better team and we created the most chances and it was very pleasing to get the three points and the lads fully desired it. With the lads' effort and commitment to the team and to each other it was fitting that we won the game.”