Common stay second after narrow victory

Little Common midfielder Dom Bristow keeps a close eye on Billingshurst's Ollie Joels. Picture by Simon Newstead
Little Common midfielder Dom Bristow keeps a close eye on Billingshurst's Ollie Joels. Picture by Simon Newstead

Little Common's footballers made it three consecutive league wins with a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Billingshurst yesterday (Saturday).

A nicely executed first half goal from Lewis Hole and a resolute defensive display gave Common the edge in a tight and unusually uneventful Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One contest at the Rec.

Billingshurst certainly enjoyed their fair share of possession in a match which certainly didn't look like second-from-top against third-from-bottom, but virtually all the meaningful attempts at goal came from Common and for that reason the result was probably about right.

The first real chance fell to Common when Jamie Crone's shot following a quickly-taken Russell Eldridge free kick was beaten out by away goalkeeper Tom Betts.

Eldridge wasn't far away with a free kick before Betts pulled off a good save to keep out Zack McEniry's header from a Rosh Wells corner and then Crone's driven follow-up.

Common landed the decisive blow in the 34th minute. Wes Tate delivered a beautiful ball to the far post where Hole made a tricky finish look simple with a side-foot volley for his 17th goal of the season.

Little Common defender Zack McEniry stands in the way of Billingshurst forward Sean Curley. Picture by Simon Newstead

Little Common defender Zack McEniry stands in the way of Billingshurst forward Sean Curley. Picture by Simon Newstead

Common survived a couple of scares during the remainder of the first half. Matt Cruttwell's clearance from an under-hit McEniry back pass struck Nick Tilley in the face and rebounded just wide before Louis Walker cleared Eno Eding's header from a Paul White corner off the line in added time.

Billingshurst had a penalty appeal turned down early in the second half when Walker appeared to nudge Tilley, while at the other end, Crone shot wide of the near post having latched on to a ball over the top and McEniry headed over from an Eldridge corner.

Dom Bristow's low shot from outside the box went just wide and Crone was denied by the goalkeeper's feet after racing on to Hole's flick in the best chance of the half.

Billingshurst saw a lot of the ball, but created precious little as Common defended stoutly with impressive centre-halves McEniry (who sustained a bloodied nose during the first half) and Dan Cruikshank getting a boot or head to seemingly everything tossed into the box.

Billingshurst midfielder Paul White tries to skip away from the Common defence. Picture by Simon Newstead

Billingshurst midfielder Paul White tries to skip away from the Common defence. Picture by Simon Newstead

In truth you just couldn't see Billingshurst scoring, a point backed up by the fact that probably their best effort of the second half was a low drive by Sean Curley from outside the box which went just wide.

Common: Cruttwell, Walker, Mote, Eldridge, McEniry, Cruikshank, Bristow (Saville 65), Tate, Hole, Crone (Smith 86), Wells (Denny 75). Sub not used: Aston.

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Little Common substitute Martin Denny pokes the ball past Billingshurst replacement John Brazil. Picture by Simon Newstead

Little Common substitute Martin Denny pokes the ball past Billingshurst replacement John Brazil. Picture by Simon Newstead

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