Rocks Review: That was one of the best - now for one of the toughest

Terry Dodd impressed at Faversham
Terry Dodd impressed at Faversham

The Rocks are on the road to recovery as they put a stressful few weeks behind them to re-ignite their title bid.

Their 2-0 win at Faversham left joint managers Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick elated and describing it as one of their best displays of the season.

Suddenly life is looking rosier at Nyewood Lane after a difficult start to 2012 which was plagued by the sale of Jason Prior, injuries and suspensions.

The Rocks have won two in a row to stretch their lead at the top of Ryman one south and are unbeaten in four league games - and won’t be too concerned by their exit from the Sussex Senior Cup in a 2-1 defeat to Brighton on Wednesday night.

They know there are more twists to come in the promotion race but feel the side is becoming more settled after months of player ins and outs.

The club are still looking for a new striker to replace Prior, who joined AFC Wimbledon and made his debut as a sub in their League Two defeat to Aldershot on Saturday.

But Terry Dodd and Ashley Robinson staked a claim to be paired together up front with impressive displays at Faversham.

Dodd scored his first goal for six weeks to wrap up victory while Robinson will be out to get on the scoresheet when the Rocks visit one of his former clubs, Eastbourne Town, on Saturday.

The Rocks will be without Dan Beck – a scorer in each of their past two games – as he sits out a one-match ban but defenders James Crane and Jon Marzetti are both available after their three-game bans.

And now there is a big worry at the back: Conference South outfit Lewes have signed Chris Breach, one of the Rocks’ most consistent performers of late.

With Ben Andrews about a month away from full fitness after knee surgery and Tim Bond probably out for the season, Breach’s departure leaves the team short of an obvious defensive partner for Stuart Axten.

Sonny Cobbs could have filled in but picked up a hamstring problem against Brighton, so Brighton teenager Callum Sheriff could be drafted in.

The Rocks have added Jordan Adekunle, a 16-year-old left winger from Brighton’s City College formerly with Charlton Athletic, to their books.

Forward Steve Harper is also fit again and bidding for a start at Eastbourne while Callum Saunders was given a chance to impress versus Brighton.

The hunt for another more experienced striker to help cover Prior’s absence also goes on.

Howell said he was pleased with how his players had started to put another unbeaten league run together. “I don’t think we’re at full throttle yet – we’re still tinkering – but we have made improvements and that’s showing in results,” he said.

“It takes time to replace good players and get new players gelling and understanding how you want to play.”

Killpartrick said he was ‘elated’ by the performance at Faversham, where the Rocks lost 4-0 a year ago.

“The way we played was everything the club stands for,” said Killpartrick.

“We passed and moved really well, got the ball into great areas, delivered it well into the box and pressurised them when we didn’t have the ball.

“Terry and Ashley did well up front, but we need to get them fitter – in fact we need to get all our front players fitter.

“It’s been a massive transistional phase for us and we’re still rebuilding. We’ve brought in young Jordan, who is one for the future, and are looking for others.”

The Rocks expect a real battle at Eastbourne with Sussex pride at stake.

Killpartrick said: “On their surface it will be extremely hard – one of our hardest away games of the season, I would think.”