JAMIE HOWELL reflected on the Rocks’ Dulwich demolition and declared: That was one of the best displays in my six years back at the club.
Bognor blew away the title hopefuls with four first-half goals then did a professional job in protecting their big lead.
It set up the Rocks for a serious push for an amazing fourth play-off spot in five seasons and continued their impressive run of results against a team who have become one of their biggest rivals in recent seasons.
They followed up the 4-0 win with a creditable 1-1 draw away to more promotion hopefuls, East Thurrock, on Tuesday night. But boss Howell warned a few niggling injuries were starting to affect their chances of retaining the settled team that has done much to help their recent cause.
Goals by Doug Tuck, Alex Parsons, Craig Robson and Jason Prior (penalty) had the points sewn up by the 39th minute and Howell said: “It was one of our best performances since I became manager (in 2009).
“Some days everything goes right for you and it did on Saturday. To beat a team like Dulwich Hamlet – who are a very good side – in that manner was quite something. It’s one of those days you’ll look back on when the season is over as a big highlight of the campaign.
“But it wasn’t just the first half and the goals that pleased us. Dabba (Darin Killpartrick) and I told the lads at half-time not to allow Dulwich to fight back. We had a similar first half at home to Witham in December and let them back in it with a couple of goals, and we didn’t want that again.
“The way we closed the game out in the second half was superb. And what was pleasing about both halves was it was a real team effort. We attacked as a team and defended as a team – when you have the likes of Alex Parsons and Ollie Pearce racing back to cover, it’s good to see.”
Killpartrick said: “From a coaching point of view I was as pleased with the second half as the first. We have a young team but they showed they can do the hard work defending as well as the flair and pace going forward.”
At East Thurrock, Howell admitted the Rocks were fortunate to claim a point – although he confessed he had thought at 1-0 up with less than 20 minutes left they might nick the victory.
Chris Winterton was by far the busier of the two keepers and Bognor rode their luck at times, but it was a vital point that left them just two points behind Met Police, who occupy the final play-off spot and visit Nyewood Lane on March 28.
The downside to the draw was the number of injuries picked up. Midfielder Tuck, a revelation in recent weeks, sustained a groin injury and will be out for two to four weeks, while Harvey Whyte and Craig Robson picked up knocks and niggles that could put them in doubt for Saturday’s visit to Tonbridge.
Forward Stuart Green, out since the win at Kingstonian with a calf problem, may be fit for Saturday, by when the Rocks also hope striker Terry Dodd will be over a bout of illness.
Howell said: “After a long trip and a tough game on Tuesday, and the same to come on Saturday, we’ll only have a very light training session. We have been lucky with being able to keep a settled team and it would be a shame if injuries now started forcing us to chop and change.”
* The Rocks are waiting to find out if they will be punished – along with Kingstonian, and Ks keeper Rob Tolfrey – for last week’s ructions at Kingsmeadow.
As reported last week, at the end of the sides’ Ryman premier clash, Tolfrey climbed on to the terraces where the Bognor fans had been watching and appeared to confront a Rocks supporter.
Things soon calmed down but both clubs have been asked to give their take on it to the FA by next Tuesday.