Little Common Football Club scored three goals in the last 20 minutes to see off crosstown rivals Bexhill United in the Easter Monday derby.
Strikes by Lewis Hole, Russell Eldridge and Jamie Crone gave Common a 3-1 victory at home to a Bexhill side which led at half time through Wes Peoples before having manager Marc Munday sent-off at 1-1.
The result completed a rare league ‘double’ for Common over Bexhill having won the Christmas reverse fixture at The Polegrove 2-0. Common also beat Bexhill in a Peter Bentley Challenge Cup second round tie during September.
Bexhill chose to play with the gale during the first half of the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One fixture, which went ahead after the pitch passed an early morning inspection despite the heavy overnight rain from Storm Katie.
Common made the brighter start and carved out the game’s first chance of note in the 18th minute when Hole was denied by a good save from Bexhill goalkeeper Adam Osborne having been put through by Eldridge. Osborne also saved Crone’s angled drive moments later.
A youthful and depleted Bexhill side started to enjoy more of the territory during the second quarter and stand-in captain Dan Cruikshank saw a close range header ruled out for offside.
The visitors drew first blood with a goal on the break in the 40th minute. Common goalkeeper Joe Turner saved the initial shot from Peoples and defender Dom Bristow blocked two subsequent efforts before Peoples rolled the ball home at the fourth attempt.
Common dropped Eldridge back to centre-half and pushed Steve Morris up-front for the second half, switching to a 3-4-3 formation. Osborne just about kept out Hole’s close range effort from Nick Richardson’s cross and a looping effort by Morris dropped just over.
Although Common were now dominating the play, they were creating little as a spirited Bexhill defended doggedly, frequently clearing balls into the box and making important blocks when Common got within sight of goal.
Just as it was looking as though it might not be Common’s day, they got an equaliser in the 75th minute. Dan Estherby played the ball back into the danger area and Hole struck a left-foot shot which Osborne got his hands to but couldn’t prevent nestling in the corner.
Five minutes later, Bexhill were reduced to 10 men as Munday was shown a straight red card for a stamp on Estherby having already fouled the Common substitute. He became the fifth Bexhill player to be sent-off against Common this season.
Despite being a man down and playing into the wind, Bexhill fashioned a decent chance to go back in front in the 87th minute when Turner made an important save from Cuddington following a great ball by Peoples.
Having almost gone ahead, Bexhill fell behind just a minute later as Eldridge picked out the bottom corner with a free kick from the edge of the box - his third free kick goal in as many days.
Common completed the turnaround with a third goal in the first minute of added time. Estherby rounded Osborne as he went through and although his touch was heavy, he squared for Crone, who turned one way and then the other before firing low into the net.
Common: Turner, Bristow (Sherwood 68), Mote (Estherby 60), Eldridge, Morris, Smith (Burgon 74), Foster, Brown, Hole, Crone, Richardson. Subs not used: Crathern, Curteis.
Bexhill: Osborne, A. Tudor, Rayner, Munday, Cruikshank, Mole, Barden, Cuddington, Shelton, Peoples, Freeman (Penney 54). Sub not used: Bennett.
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