Pre-season friendly: Rocks 2 Worthing 2

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Honours were even at a sunny and warm Nyewood Lane at the end of a game which came to life in the second half.

The Rocks were without Darryl Wollers and Ashley Robinson, who were watching from the main stand, while Ben Andrews was missing through work commitments. But Kane Wills returned to the starting line-up and Dan Kempson, Lewis Stockford and Omar Folkes also started, making it a youthful first XI.

Three minutes in Connor Wilkins crossed from the right, but the ball was too high and Ben Johnson’s cross from the left on the follow-up was headed away.

For the Rebels, Matt Reece couldn’t quite get his head to a left-sided cross from Chris O’Flaherty.

Home keeper Craig Stoner had to quickly exit his goalmouth to punch clear an O’Flaherty corner.

On 12 minutes Tom Lawley’s winding run saw him reach the penalty area but his final pass was intercepted.

After a Wilkins corner was only partly cleared, Johnson’s run allowed him to beat the defence and get a shot away - but Mansfield saved comfortably.

Stoner had to pull off a reaction save to keep out Matt Hubert’s header from point-blank range after a neat corner from Owen Kessack.

Good play from Kempson led to Stockford getting hold of the ball in the box. The midfielder crashed his shot against a defender - then Johnson sent a free-kick sailing well over the bar from 30 yards out.

James Crane did well down the left, which allowed him to pick out Stockford in the box. But his shot was blocked and the loose ball fell to Kempson, who belted it narrowly wide of the left post.

On 26 minutes Jon Marzetti’s cross found Terry Dodd in the box and the striker managed to flick the ball over the defender before shooting. He would have been disappointed by his finishing touch as he sent the ball flying well over the bar from 12 yards out.

Crane then cut inside from the left to let fly with a shot but Dodd got in the way.

The Rebels countered when Lawley’s cross from the left found Reece in space in the area. Reece was unmarked as he headed beyond Stoner and in but the celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

The impressive Kempson got himself into a great position inside the area. He drilled a shot at goal but Mansfield deflected the shot high up in the air. It came down and hit the top of the bar before going out. Mansfield had to punch clear a Johnson corner kick moments later.

Johnson beat the defence with his pace before passing to Foulkes. The striker smashed in a shot but it took a big deflection off Hubert and went out for a corner.

Kempson’s neat through ball to Dodd was good enough to split the defence but the striker’s shot was poor.

Lawley narrowly bounced the ball past the post at the other end before Dodd was denied by Mansfield.

HT 0-0

The Rocks looked like scoring straight from the restart. Stockford’s neat cross from the right found Foulkes on the back post but the striker’s header was poor and didn’t trouble the goalkeeper.

Worthing took the lead on 47 minutes when Wilkins netted an own goal after good work from O’Flaherty saw his cross diverted in.

The Bognor management saw the need to bring on some fresh legs on 56 minutes. Off came Marzetti, Dodd and Kempson while Connor Cody, Dan Simmonds and Doug Tuck replaced them.

Kessack’s forward ball found Lawley on the run and he passed to ex-Rock Scott Kirkwood, but he smashed his shot wide of the right post.

On 64 minutes Johnson’s dipping free-kick was tipped over the bar. The resulting corner fell to Tuck, who turned and had a go but it was well saved. Then Folkes hit a shot from 20 yards but found the side netting.

With 15 minutes left, Johnson’s left-sided cross found Foulkes in the area. The striker’s header went awry.

Bognor were gifted an equaliser when Foulkes was tripped inside the box. Up stepped Johnson, who coolly curled the penalty high into the top corner with his left foot to make it 1-1.

A confident Johnson was set up by Wills moments later but after taking only a few steps forward, his shot was always rising over the bar.

The Rocks took the lead on 86 minutes. Substitute Ben Chick did well to beat the defence before crossing for Tuck to head the ball in.

But with only two minutes left, a penalty was awarded to the Rebels for a foul in the area. Kirkwood spoiled Bognor’s evening, slotting the ball home beyond Stoner.

This game gave the Rocks management their final pre-season look at some of their younger players and they now step up preparations for the first game of the Ryman premier season away to Concord Rangers next Saturday.

Rocks: Stoner, Marzetti (Cody 56), Kempson (Tuck 56), Crane, Axten, Wilkins, Stockford (Chick 69), Wills, Dodd (Simmonds 56), Folkes, Johnson. Unused sub: Boyle (G/K).

Worthing: Mansfield, Lewis, Kessack (Sparks 79), Kennett, Hurley, Hubert, Lawley, Huckett (Kirkwood 56), Reece, Gedling (Davis 61), O’Flaherty (Daniel 71).

LIAM GOODLEY