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Smith to the rescue for Rocks

Dan Smith’s late header clinched Bognor an eighth straight win as they beat Merstham 2-1 at Nyewood Lane in Isthmian Premier.

 

Tommy Leigh’s close-range finish had put Rocks on course for victory until veteran Barry Hayles struck ten minutes from time.

 

Smith snatched the victory after he headed Brad Lethbridge’s deep cross back over the keeper with a minute left.

 

Boss Jack Pearce was delighted with the way his side responded again to the body blow of Hayles’ leveller.

 

Pearce said: “Merstham signed three players from a higher level on the Friday and were much stronger than they had been.

 

“We played well and created quite a few chances in the first half. We failed to take them so that was a worry and with nine minutes to go they got their goal.

 

“The pleasing thing was that would have really put us down a month ago but this time we worked very hard and got the late winner.

 

“With a cup game this week we could not afford not to get the three points because of the points we had dropped earlier in the season.

 

“It was very pleasing that we managed to do that.”

 

Pearce added: “The last five weeks we have turned things around.

 

“We know, though, that a few injuries to key personnel can see things change and go the other way.”

 

One concern for Pearce and coach Robbie Blake was the influential Doug Tuck limped off early with a hamstring injury.

 

The midfielder was being assessed this week but he is doubtful for the Trophy trip to National League South Tonbridge Angels.

 

Rocks will host Southern Combination League premier Horsham YMCA in the Sussex Senior Cup third round on Tuesday, December 10.

 

Pearce said: “I’ll never forget the year in the 80s when we did ever so well in the FA Cup and drew with Swansea. In the week we got YMCA in the Senior Cup and lost to them. You cannot under-estimate anyone and we shall be giving them total respect.”

Posted in Sport.