The Rotherfield in Midhurst has never been a happy hunting ground for Little Common’s footballers.
And so it proved once again yesterday (Saturday) as they went down 2-1 after conceding a controversial late penalty. It was Midhurst & Easebourne’s first victory of the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One season.
The Commoners made one change to the team that had been defeated at Haywards Heath Town the previous weekend, with the returning Zack McEniry replacing the ill Steve Mote.
Common enjoyed their fair share of possession in the opening exchanges on a bobbly surface and almost took an early lead when the home goalkeeper was dispossessed outside his area, but a grounded Lewis Hole could only hook a hopeful effort wide of the post.
Midhurst did their fair share of attacking and looked dangerous when the ball was played to their nippy winger. A run from their centre-back created their first chance, but he chose to play a pass across the goal when well placed with just Matt Cruttwell to beat.
Common opened the scoring in the 10th minute when a delightful ball from Russell Eldridge found Liam Foster, who made no mistake from 12 yards.
The home side was soon level when a rare mistake from Cruttwell saw the ball thrown to the Midhurst winger, who got down the line and cut the ball back for Miles Hamilton to sweep home.
The next passage of play ultimately proved costly for Common as they missed numerous chances to put the game beyond the home side.
Hole saw an effort saved when one-on-one with the goalkeeper before Dom Bristow pulled a shot wide of the near post. The same players then fired beyond the far post with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Common dominated long spells of the second half, but Midhurst continued to look dangerous on the break. Martin Denny blasted an effort past the post before fellow substitute Dan Estherby saw a shot saved.
Common were somewhat wasteful with their final pass and became frustrated at not being able to penetrate the home defence as the half wore on.
With 90 minutes almost on the clock, Midhurst were awarded a somewhat dubious penalty - much to the astonishment of both sets of players. Cruttwell was adjudged to have clipped the home forward despite no contact being made. Sheldrick dispatched the penalty and the Commoners were left to rue their missed first half chances.
Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood (Wells), Lusted, Brown (Denny), McEniry, Eldridge, Foster, Holden, Hole, Trickett, Bristow (Estherby).
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