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Rocks must ditch fear factor in hunt for first league win in ten

Bognor boss Jack Pearce is warning Rocks fans there is ‘no magic wand’ to sort out his side’s poor league run.

 

The Nyewood Lane side have struggled to adapt to life in the more physical National League South, failing to win in their past nine outings. After missing out on entering the first round proper of the FA Cup after a 1-0 loss at Oxford City last week, the Rocks now switch their attention back to the league. A first game at the Nye Camp in almost a month will see Chippenham Town visit, a side that are five spots and five points above the 19th-placed Rocks. Speaking to the Post, Pearce said: “It’s a game that we need to win, they are a mid-table team like us.

 

“In some cases, we will have better players than them, but it will come down to the fact that they will be physically stronger than us. We need to pass the ball better and make sure we get rid of the fear factor.”

 

The fear factor was evident more than ever during last weekend’s FA Cup clash with Oxford City. With the opponents sitting just below the Rocks in the National South table, there was a chance for Pearce’s side to clinch a spot in the first round proper for the first time in more than 20 years. But a timid display followed and the Rocks were unable to find an equaliser after falling behind to a well-taken goal by Rocks’ summer target Matt Paterson.

 

To compound the misery, Calvin Davies was sent off for two bookable offences.

 

That sent the Rocks on the long trip south with lots to think about while Oxford City progress to take on League Two side Colchester United in the next round.

 

Pearce said: “I share the same reflection as supporters, players, as anyone that cares about the club and that’s of deep disappointment as our performance was not what you would expect for a game of that importance.

 

“I expected us to test their keeper more than we did. And. even though I’m delighted for the player, it was a very sad reflection when a 17-year-old [Tommy Block] was head and shoulders our man of the match.”

 

Pearce said he was determined to use his four decades as a manager to steer his side out of the slump – though he warned there would be no easy solutions.

 

He said: “The atmosphere at training is really good, then on Saturday before the match, the passing drills we look sharp and positive which makes everyone feel confident. But the whistle goes and people go into their shell. There’s no magic wand, we just have to keep on working.”

 

He added: “We have done brilliantly to get here in the National South and it will be a mountain to stay there. There are no easy answers but we will work really hard to stay.”

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