Little Common Football Club made the ideal start to its home league programme with a 5-0 win against AFC Varndeanians last night (Friday).
Four attacking players got on the scoresheet and Common kept a clean sheet at the other end in a Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One fixture between the teams who finished runners-up and rock-bottom last season.
Common made one change to their starting line-up from the previous weekend’s 2-2 draw at Southwick, the returning Wes Tate coming in for the unavailable Liam Ward.
After a quiet opening 20 minutes in breezy conditions at The Oval, Sam Ellis hit the side-netting for Common and moments later Lewis Hole had the ball in the net only to be flagged offside after Varndeanians goalkeeper Tom Bradford parried Jordan Harley’s long range piledriver.
Common opened the scoring in the 29th minute. Rosh Wells delivered a lovely cross from the left and Tate glanced a neat header into the far corner of the net.
Varndeanians had their moments as well and Rickie Mitchell ought to have equalised after good work from Luke Burns on the away left. Mitchell then forced Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell into a save low to his left with a shot from distance.
At the other end, Jamie Crone was denied by the legs of Bradford after getting in between two defenders and a terrific Wells free kick brought a diving save out of the away goalkeeper.
Varndeanians started the second half fairly brightly and were well in the game until Common made it 2-0 in the 57th minute. Hole worked himself a yard of space to bury a low 20-yard shot into the corner of the net - a rare goal for the prolific striker from outside the penalty box.
It was straight-forward for Common thereafter and they added three more goals in the final quarter. Tate scored his second and Common’s third with a well-taken 70th minute penalty into the bottom corner after Crone was fouled just inside the area at the end of a surging run.
A heavy touch by Crone allowed Bradford to smother, but the pacy forward did grab his 100th senior goal for the club in the 79th minute. After a superb reflex save from Cruttwell at one end, Common went straight down the other and Crone rolled the ball past Bradford to make it 4-0.
Common netted a fifth goal seven minutes later. Adam Smith’s shot was saved by the legs of Bradford, but just seconds later Sam Ellis drilled a thunderbolt into the far corner from the left-hand side of the box for his first Common goal.
There was still time for Cruttwell to produce a fine save to keep out a powerful angled drive and Hole to see a low shot repelled by Bradford at the end of what Common will view as a very good evening’s work.
Common: Cruttwell, Harley (Lusted 80), Bristow, Saville (Bachellier 66), Walker, Eldridge, Wells (Smith 77), Tate, Hole, Crone, Ellis. Subs not used: McEniry, Ryan.