Little Common Football Club’s five-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by table-topping opposition yesterday (Saturday).
Common were edged out 3-2 at home to Crawley Down Gatwick in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One despite a gallant fightback from 2-0 down to level at 2-2.
In a match which went ahead after the pitch passed a morning inspection, Common gave themselves a big uphill task by conceding twice in little more than a minute early on.
Somewhat irritatingly from a Common perspective, both goals came from set-pieces. Luke Trotter headed the opener from a corner and James Lovett’s free kick was then nodded in by Sam Cane.
Common were 2-0 up at a similar stage of the reverse fixture on the opening day only to lose 5-2 and on this occasion Crawley Down learned that a two-goal lead is notoriously dangerous.
In damp and blustery conditions, Common certainly had their chances. Lewis Hole was denied by a point blank save from Crawley Down goalkeeper Andy Greaves and Jared Lusted then blasted over after the diving Greaves palmed out Jerome Smith’s low cross into his path.
Hole spurned a golden opportunity to pull one back when he blasted wide with only Greaves to beat. At the other end, Dave Houlders fired just over when invitingly placed.
Common halved their deficit in the 28th minute. A good cross by Russell Eldridge ricocheted around the Crawley Down box before being turned home from close range by Kyle Holden.
Hole came close to an equaliser before the break, but couldn’t quite force the ball home at the near post following good work by Dan Estherby on the Common left.
With the breeze at their backs in the second half, Common initially had the bulk of the play, albeit without creating a great deal on a slippery surface which was becoming increasingly heavy.
A Liam Foster shot from outside the box was beaten out by Greaves before Common equalised in the 62nd minute. Hole again went clear of the away defence and this time slotted neatly beyond the goalkeeper.
The referee dished out a handful of yellow cards as the contest became a bit fractious at times, but Crawley Down stepped up a gear after the equaliser and both sides would probably have fancied their chances of finding a winner.
Lusted was whiskers away with a powerful strike after driving into the box, but it was Crawley Down who scored the all-important fifth goal in the 81st minute.
Cane was first to a loose ball just inside the Common area and his deflected shot looped into the far corner, giving Crawley Down their 12th win in 14 league matches.
Common: Cruttwell, Curteis (Spice 88), Smith, Brown (Denny 52), Ammoun, R. Eldridge, Lusted (Wells 82), Holden, Hole, Foster, Estherby. Subs not used: Hudson, C. Eldridge.
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