Little Common Football Club finally played its first league match of 2016 yesterday (Saturday) and collected all three points.
The Commoners won 4-2 against Sidlesham in a home match played on the 3G surface at Worthing FC due to the ongoing pitch problems at Little Common Rec.
The strong wind made conditions tricky, but Common player-manager Russell Eldridge made the most of the wind in only the second minute. A poor clearance from the visiting goalkeeper fell straight to Eldridge just inside the centre circle and he struck a first time effort back over the stranded goalkeeper.
The visitors were soon level, however, when a sloppy midfield pass led to a quick Sidlesham break and John Phillips was on hand to fire into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Both teams looked dangerous on the break, but it was Common who regained the lead. Some neat play down the left allowed Steve Mote to deliver a cross for Lewis Hole to prod home his 14th league goal of the season.
The Sidlesham front pairing proved a handful for the Common defence and the equaliser looked destined to arrive when Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell was rounded, but the striker somehow managed to blast over the crossbar with just a defender on the goal-line to beat.
Jake Sherwood had a header saved on the line from an Eldridge corner before Dan Estherby extended the Commoners’ lead when a delightful ball from Steve Morris found him on the edge of the area and his slightly deflected effort looped beyond the goalkeeper.
Sidlesham rattled the crossbar from six yards with just Cruttwell to beat before once again missing a glorious opportunity to narrow the deficit by blasting over from close range.
Jamie Crone had an opportunity to further increase Common’s advantage on the stroke of half time as Estherby’s low cross slipped underneath his foot.
Common started the stronger of the two teams in the second half and Hole saw an effort cannon off the post before another shot was thwarted by the goalkeeper’s legs.
Sidlesham began to exert some pressure of their own. Cruttwell was rarely troubled by a number of long range efforts, but did pull off a fine save with his legs when left one on one with the visiting attacker.
At the other end, Estherby saw a lob just drop wide before Eldridge blasted an effort over the crossbar. The points were effectively made safe in the 80th minute when the ball was rifled into the net by Jared Lusted.
The visitors did pull a goal back in the 88th minute, but the Commoners held firm to see out a hard-fought victory.
Common: Cruttwell, Lusted, Mote, Eldridge, Morris, Sherwood, Denny (Ammoun), Brown, Hole (Bristow), Crone (Hudson), Estherby.
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