Common seven points clear at league summit

Little Common midfielder Wes Tate seeks to escape the clutches of a Hailsham Town defender at The Beaconsfield on Tuesday night. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Little Common midfielder Wes Tate seeks to escape the clutches of a Hailsham Town defender at The Beaconsfield on Tuesday night. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Little Common Football Club heads into February with a healthy-looking seven-point lead at the top of the table.

Two hard-earned wins over the past week have left Common sitting pretty heading into the final nine games of their Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One programme.

James Maynard and Harry Saville keep a close eye on a Hailsham Town opponent.

James Maynard and Harry Saville keep a close eye on a Hailsham Town opponent.

Common, who have played a game more than second-placed Langney Wanderers, triumphed 4-1 at home to Selsey on Saturday and 3-1 away to Hailsham Town on Tuesday night.

“I’m made up with the week we’ve just had,” said Common player-manager Russell Eldridge. “After Tuesday’s game I praised the players for their commitment, effort and attitude over the last couple of games. The boys have been excellent, especially on Tuesday.”

With a 20-point cushion over fourth-placed Wick, who were briefly above them in mid-November, Common already look nailed on for one of the three promotion places.

The Commoners have won more games than anybody else in the division (21 out of 25), possess the best goal difference (+58), are the highest scorers (84) and boast the meanest defence (26 goals conceded).

Adam Smith, scorer of Little Common's first goal against Hailsham Town, tries to hook the ball forwards.

Adam Smith, scorer of Little Common's first goal against Hailsham Town, tries to hook the ball forwards.

“We’re into the last third of the season now and the first two thirds have been excellent in terms of results,” continued Eldridge. “The performances haven’t always been great, but the results have been there.

“You’ve only got to look at the number of wins we’ve got and the goals we’ve scored to see we’ve had a very good season so far. But we’ve got nine games to go, which is a lot of games, and we know anything can happen in those games.

“We’re happy with the position we’re in, the way we’re playing and the way the results have been. We just want to continue the way we’ve been - that’s the way we’ve been all season and we’re not going to change that now.

“With every game that goes past, we play the game, tick it off and hopefully be in a better position than when we started it. That will be the same on Saturday.

Charlie Bachellier wins a header during the latter stages of Little Common's 3-1 win away to Hailsham Town.

Charlie Bachellier wins a header during the latter stages of Little Common's 3-1 win away to Hailsham Town.

“Teams will want to take points off us. We’ve never gone into a game this season and taken anything for granted. We’re not going to get complacent and we’ve very much got our feet on the ground. We just want to continue what we’ve been doing.”

Four of Common’s remaining fixtures are against top six opposition, including all of their last three and four of their final five games.

Having battled through the wet and mud in their last two matches, conditions will be completely different when Common travel to Steyning Town, who play on an artificial 3G pitch, tomorrow (Saturday).

“We’re looking forward to the weekend,” added Eldridge. “We train on a 3G and with the players we’ve got, we can’t wait to get out and pass the ball.”

Steyning, who were quite well fancied at the start of the campaign, are in ninth place with less than half the number of points Common have amassed. Common ground out a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture at the end of October.

Common will again be in action on Tuesday night when they make the long journey to Storrington for a rearranged Division One Challenge Cup second round tie.

Eldridge hopes to be fit after missing the last two games with a thigh problem, Ryan Paul will return from suspension and Sam Winter will also be back, but Lewis Parsons is unavailable tomorrow.

Little Common’s remaining league fixtures: February 3 Steyning Town (a), February 10 Oakwood (a), February 17 Midhurst & Easebourne (h), March 3 Seaford Town (a), March 10 Wick (h), March 31 Billingshurst (h), April 2 Bexhill United (a), April 14 Lingfield (h), April 21 Langney Wanderers (a).

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