Rocks lose again - now staying up looks near impossible

A second home defeat in four days has brought relegation ever closer for the Rocks - on a night when they were left 13 points off safety with only nine games to play.

Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 9:49 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:44 am
Kristian Campbell couldn't inspire the Rocks against Welling / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Positives were hard to find as clinical Welling made Bognor pay for first-half errors - with the usual story at the other end of Bognor having plenty of possession without really troubling the visiting goalkeeper.Another mistake in the second half made it three but it ended 3-1 after sub Ibra Sekajja grabbed a late consolation - and some Rocks fans will have gone home thinking 'at least it wasn't more' on another dis-spiriting night at Nyewood Lane.This was a brighter performance than the Rocks had managed against East Thurrock on Saturday but the end result was the same: a defeat brought about largely by basic mistakes and a failure to turn possession into clear-cut chances. At the start of a chilly evening, it was another game the Rocks were going into under pressure to win - with the gap between themselves and a safe spot in National League South still 10 points and with only 10 games left.There was no Stefan Ljubicic up front for Bognor after the teenager was called up for Icelandic international duty. That meant a start for Ollie Pearce alongside Jimmy Muitt in attack.Kristian Campbell was wearing the No11 shirt and was given a more advanced role than the left-back spot he has had most of the seasonWelling were first to make serious inroads and Bradley Goldberg tried a shot in the third minute but he curled it high and wide. The first Rocks attack ended in Muitt beating his man in the box and firing in a low shot from a tight angle that keeper Bailey Vose held.The Rocks have had a habit of conceding early goals at home all the season and the curse struck again in the fifth minute as the Bognor midfield gave away possession cheaply on halfway and one pass later, Adam Coombes ran on and slotted past Dan Lincoln. It was exactly the start the Rocks didn't need.In fairness they did respond positively in looking for a quick equaliser but Welling got back in numbers to thwart them.Muitt and Harvey Whyte went on the attack but it seemed to fizzle out - only to fall to Richard Gilot, whose left-footed drive had to be palmed out for a corner. That eventually fell to Muitt but he blazed a shot wildly over the bar.It was Muitt again with a fierce shot that gave Vose something to think about on 20 minutes although the offside flag went up when the keeper couldn't hold it. The Rocks were enjoying a decent little spell of possession and another attack down the right ended with a cross that Campbell hooked goalwards but with no power.Pearce took a touch and fired in a low 20-yard shot on 24 minutes that Vose had to touch around the post. A Gilot cross - or was it a shot? - flew into the Welling side netting as the Rocks continued to control things.Just before the half-hour Welling skipper Joe Healey was booked for an ugly-looking foul on Campbell.Welling wanted a penalty on 31 minutes when Jamie Philpott went down in the area after contact from Campbell.The Rocks had had a decent spell but were undone all too easily for a second Welling goal in the 38th minute. A diagonal pass split the home defence and Philpott ran on to it to poke it over the advancing Lincoln. That felt like a killer blow to a team who hadn't scored more than two in a home game since August.It could have got even worse for Bognor just before the break when Lincoln had to make a leaping save to keep out Goldberg's header.HT 0-2Both sides carved out decent opportunities in the first few minutes of the second half.First Pearce played Campbell in on goal and he looked favourite to score but he somehow put his shot the wrong side of the post. Then Philpott rifled in a 25-yard drive at the other end that wasn't far wide of Lincoln's left-hand post.A claim for a Rocks penalty ended with Pearce booked for diving. Then Gilot shot through a crowd of players but watched Vose get down to gather.The Rocks were enjoying another spell of pressure but it was coming to nothing. Muitt surged past a full-back and got to the by-line but his ball in skewed into the keeper's arms.Ben Jefford escaped as much as a lecture for a poor challenge on Muitt - then Keaton Wood was only a couple of feet wide with a long-range effort.On 62 minutes Coombes ought to have wrapped it up with a third but miskicked from five yards out and it went out for a goal kick.Two minutes later, though, it was 3-0 as Lincoln was unable to hold a cross from the right and Coombs gobbled up the loose ball from a couple of yards out.Both sides made a change after what seemed to be the final nail in Bognor's coffin. Ben Swallow replaced Adebowale and for Welling, Magnus Okuonaghe came off for Connor Dymond.Swallow raced down the right, cut inside but fired his shot well over the bar.Welling fancied their chances of more and Jefford got forward but shot wide when a cross-field ball landed at his feet.Sekajja came on for Gilot while Welling's second change saw Ryan Hall came on for Healey.A couple of Rocks corners brought hope of a consolation but one spell ended with Doug Tuck sidefooting narrowly wide from the edge of the box.Sub Sekajja at least gave the home fans something to cheer - briefly - with a consolation from close in following a low ball across the six-yard box following good work by Swallow.El-Abd was booked on 89 minutes for a challenge on a Welling man that was no worse then clumsy, before Gary Charman was a late replacement for Campbell.Goldberg was close to a fourth goal for Welling but rolled a sidefoot shot wide with Lincoln beaten.It was almost 3-2 when Swallow and Pearce combined to put the ball across the face of goal but there was no-one to get on the end of it. And that was the last bit of excitement on a night when there had not been nearly enough of it for the home fans.Lincoln, Whyte, Wood, Tuck, El-Abd, Adebowale, Gilot, Block, Muitt, Pearce, Campbell. Subs - Swallow, Charman, Sekajja, Scutt, Nelson.Welling - Vose, Driver, Jefford, Durojaiye, Okuonghae, Coyle, Jebb, Healey, Goldberg, Coombes, Philpott. Subs - Monakanna, Nanetti, Dymond, Hall, Johnson.Att 327Ref: Scott Jackson (Plymouth)

Get full reaction to the week's games in the Bognor Observer - out on Thursday morning