Tight at the top as pack close in on Common

George Aston on the ball for Little Common against Steyning Town last weekend. Picture by Derek Martin
George Aston on the ball for Little Common against Steyning Town last weekend. Picture by Derek Martin

Little Common Football Club heads a logjam of teams in what is shaping up to be a fascinating title battle.

The top five clubs in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One are covered by just four points and Common lead the way on goal difference.

Common suffered just their third league loss of the campaign last weekend when they were beaten 3-0 away to third-placed Steyning Town, with all the goals coming in the second half.

Player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “The result last weekend was disappointing, but we’ve got to remember that’s the first time we’ve lost for 10 games and winning eight on the spin was a good achievement.

“We’ve lost one game of football; we can’t be too disappointed with ourselves. We just have to bounce back and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.”

On the face of it, Common have a good opportunity to make a swift return to winning ways as they are due to visit bottom club Ringmer tomorrow (Saturday), weather permitting.

Common were 6-0 winners in November’s reverse fixture, but Ringmer’s last two completed matches have produced a win away to St Francis Rangers and only a 1-0 defeat against second-placed Saltdean United so Eldridge is taking nothing for granted.

“We know it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll be looking to do things right at both ends of the pitch,” he continued.

“Whenever you lose a game or have a negative result, the most important thing is to bounce back with a positive one. We need to go on another run like we did last time (after Common’s previous defeat in late October).”

Common again expect to field a similar squad, with Anthony Cooper and Zack McEniry not yet ready to return from injury.

Bexhill United joint manager Ryan Light feels the football club restored some pride during last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Mile Oak.

The Pirates produced a gutsy display and only a goal 10 minutes from time consigned them to a sixth successive Southern Combination League Division One defeat.

Light said: “We spoke about restoring a bit of pride and they (the players) really did that on Saturday. They were dejected afterwards, but there was an air of positivity in the dressing room, and a feeling of ‘let’s finish the season strongly and pick up as many points as we can’.

“The players are so full of enthusiasm: they want to get to training, they want to improve and they want next Saturday to come.”

Next up tomorrow is a home game against an Oakwood side which lies four positions and nine points adrift of ninth-placed Bexhill. Kick-off at The Polegrove has been brought forward to 2pm.

“The quicker we can get this win, or even a draw just to stop the rot, the better we will be and hopefully it will come this Saturday,” continued Light.

“Only in one of the games in our losing run have we truly been well beaten. In all the other games we’ve lost by one goal and been well in the game.”

Billy Trickett is likely to be out for around six weeks with an ongoing knee niggle so Kyle Holden has taken over the captain’s armband. Kevin Barden and Matt Cunnington remain sidelined, and Gordon Cuddington serves a one-match ban.

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