Controversial penalty leads to Little Common defeat

Jamie Crone scored Little Common's opening goal and set up the second in the 3-2 defeat at Lingfield
Jamie Crone scored Little Common's opening goal and set up the second in the 3-2 defeat at Lingfield

Little Common Football Club’s long wait for a league victory continues following a narrow 3-2 defeat away to Lingfield yesterday (Saturday).

The Commoners rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 down with goals from Jamie Crone and Wes Tate, but it wasn’t quite enough to salvage a point from their latest Southern Combination League Premier Division encounter.

Common were missing Lewis Parsons and Sam Ellis from the previous weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to high-flying Newhaven. They were replaced by James Pool and Lewis Hole, with player-manager Russell Eldridge moving back into a defensive role.

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The Commoners started the brighter of the two teams. Hole had a shot on target in the opening minutes after finding himself in space on the edge of the area, while Adam Smith drove a shot across goal from a tight angle.

Crone was thwarted by the home goalkeeper following a Tate throughball as the Commoners looked to press the home defence on a tricky surface.

The hosts rarely threatened Matt Cruttwell in the Common goal, but he was on hand to deal with a couple of crosses into the box and a low effort from the edge of the area.

The match looked like it would remain goalless at half time until an extremely dubious penalty gave the hosts the opportunity to open the scoring.

Having waved away initial appeals, the referee then pointed to the spot, much to the amazement of the Common players, who remained unsure of what infringement had taken place. Despite Cruttwell diving the correct way, the penalty was dispatched.

Common made the worst possible start to the second half, finding themselves 2-0 down within two minutes of the restart after giving away possession on the edge of the area. A neat turn and early shot wrong-footed Cruttwell and found its way into the bottom corner of the net.

Common responded well and reduced the deficit within five minutes. A neat move saw the ball played out to Ryan Paul and his first time delivery into the box found the head of Crone, who guided the ball home from six yards.

It did not take the hosts long to regain their two-goal advantage. Three minutes later an unstoppable drive from 25 yards flew into the top corner of the Common net, giving Cruttwell no chance.

Common pushed Eldridge into midfield and began to create more chances of their own. Eldridge himself saw a free kick palmed away before miscuing an effort from the edge of the area.

Common’s persistence finally paid off in the 74th minute. A quickly taken Crone free kick released Tate and he made no mistake, lifting the ball past the home goalkeeper.

Common pushed for an equaliser and Crone blazed an effort over the crossbar after jinking into the box before seeing another shot blocked as he raced towards goal.

The home side remained dangerous on the break and Cruttwell was on hand to beat an effort away, but a final chance for a Common equaliser never arrived and Lingfield held on for the three points.

Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Feakins, Ward, Alexander, Eldridge, Pool (Ryan), Tate, Hole, Crone, Smith (Weeks).

Southern Combination League Premier Division bottom six (played-points): 15 Langney Wanderers 27-21 (-28 goal difference), 16 Shoreham 27-21 (-31), 17 Arundel 25-19 (-35), 18 LITTLE COMMON 25-18 (-23), 19 Loxwood 25-17 (-29), 20 Eastbourne United AFC 25-12 (-45).