Common beat Bexhill to move closer to title

Little Common midfielder Wes Tate is closely watched by Bexhill United defender Lewis McGuigan. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Little Common midfielder Wes Tate is closely watched by Bexhill United defender Lewis McGuigan. Pictures by Simon Newstead

For the second time this season, Little Common Football Club achieved a 2-0 victory over crosstown rivals Bexhill United.

Goals in either half from Jamie Crone and Sam Ellis moved table-topping Common three points closer to the Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One title on Easter Monday.

Both sides had their chances in a tight contest on a Polegrove pitch which had absorbed all the pre-match rain commendably well, but Common made two of theirs count to come out on top.

The fine margins the game came down to were well illustrated during a key passage of play midway through the first half of a match watched by a very healthy bank holiday crowd.

Bexhill came close to drawing first blood when Gordon Cuddington’s first time flick from Liam Foster’s near post corner was blocked on the line by Common midfielder Adam Smith.

Barely a minute later Common were in front. Wes Tate played a good ball through for Crone to run onto and roll a fine finish across Bexhill goalkeeper Dan Rose, despite the best efforts of home defender Craig McFarlane to get a last ditch tackle in.

Jamie Crone, scorer of Little Common's opening goal, holds off Bexhill United midfielder Liam Foster.

Jamie Crone, scorer of Little Common's opening goal, holds off Bexhill United midfielder Liam Foster.

After that, Nathan Lopez’s angled drive was well held by Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell and Common defender James Maynard got back to clear from near the line when Cuddington almost forced the ball home as he collided heavily with Cruttwell.

Jack McLean fired over Common’s crossbar from the edge of the box, while at the other end, a half-hit Ellis shot at the end of a lovely move involving Tate, Russell Eldridge and Smith was touched wide by Rose.

Into the second half and Crone was denied his second by the feet of Rose having been played in by a neat flick from Tate. Bexhill substitute Corey Wheeler, on for the injured Nathan Lopez, blasted over from inside the box following good work by McLean.

Harry Saville’s cross from near the byeline on the Common left was almost spilled into his own net by Rose, but McFarlane cleared the danger. Three minutes later, a terrific angled drive by Bexhill full-back Connor Robertson smacked against the inside of the post.

Sam Ellis, scorer of Little Common's second goal, tries to bring the ball under control with Bexhill United midfielder Gordon Cuddington in close attendance.

Sam Ellis, scorer of Little Common's second goal, tries to bring the ball under control with Bexhill United midfielder Gordon Cuddington in close attendance.

Crone shot wide from the tightest of angles following a good pass by strike partner Lewis Hole and Crone then saw an effort well saved by the feet of Rose when played in by Ellis.

Tate pulled the resulting corner back to the edge of the box for Ellis to drill a superb finish into the roof of the net, giving Common the comfort of a two-goal cushion in the 77th minute.

Bexhill kept striving to get back into it and a decent strike by Georges Gouet flashed wide of the far post. In the fifth minute of added time, a tremendous effort by McFarlane from outside the area was kept out by an equally good save from Cruttwell diving to his left.

Bexhill: Rose, Robertson, Ottley, McFarlane, McGuigan, Holden, McLean (Giles 80), Foster, McEniry (Gouet 74), Cuddington, Lopez (Wheeler). Subs not used: Rea, Butchers.

Little Common full-back Ryan Paul gets to the ball just ahead of Bexhill United wide player Corey Wheeler.

Little Common full-back Ryan Paul gets to the ball just ahead of Bexhill United wide player Corey Wheeler.

Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Parsons, Winter, Maynard, Eldridge, Tate, Smith (Saville 63), Hole, Crone (Feakins 86), Ellis (Bachellier 78). Sub not used: Walker.

Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 30-79 (+73 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 30-72 (+59), 3 Lingfield 29-64 (+52), 4 Ringmer 31-58 (+29), 5 BEXHILL UNITED 30-52 (+24), 6 Mile Oak 30-51 (+13), 7 Wick 29-50 (+28), 8 Selsey 28-40 (+2), 9 St Francis Rangers 29-40 (-14).

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