Bosses urge Bognor to be ‘brave’

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New Gosport Borough chairman Iain Sellstrom

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Be brave – and let’s have one last push for the big prize.

That’s the message to Bognor as they gear up for tomorrow’s huge Ryman one south play-off final against Dulwich Hamlet.

The Rocks reached the final with a heart-stopping win on penalties at the end of a thrilling 4-4 draw with Godalming in Tuesday night’s semi-final.

A crowd well in excess of 1,000 is expected at the Lane for the 3pm kick-off.

Joint-managers Jamie Howell and Darin Killpartrick have spoken of their pride in reaching the final.

And they are urging the squad to raise themselves for one last push over the line.

Howell said: ‘What pleased me most about the past two games – the Godalming game and Saturday’s win against Maidstone – was the passion and desire the players showed.

‘That’s what had been missing from the draw with Walton & Hersham but we knew they had it in them.

‘Tuesday night was the best I’ve experienced at the club and there were quite a few others saying the same.

‘As an advert for the club and for non-league football, you couldn’t have bettered it.

‘The football was brilliant – if nerve-wracking – and the atmosphere was, too.

‘Play-offs can be like that – a slugfest. Neither team ever gave up.

‘If there was a disappointment it’s that we had to work hard for our goals but we gave them three of theirs too easily.

‘We were too open and will need to tighten up against a good side like Dulwich.’

The weary Rocks players haven’t trained again before tomorrow – the bosses felt resting their legs and minds was more important.

And Howell said a play-off final was one of those matches where the importance of the game was motivation enough.

‘I just hope we perform,’ he said.

‘It needs one more performance like we saw on Tuesday night and then we can have an enjoyable summer.

‘Whatever happens, Dabba (Killpartrick) and I are proud of the lads.’

Killpartrick added: ‘The league season counts for nothing now.

‘It’s a cup final, really, and it’s about who can be bravest.

‘It’s about getting hold of the ball and being brave.’

The Rocks have a full squad to select from.

Defender Stuart Axten has served his three-match suspension, while Tuesday’s hat-trick hero Ashley Robinson and in-form Terry Dodd should continue up front.

– STEVE BONE