Little Common Football Club pulled off a convincing victory in its first home game of the season last night (Tuesday).
The Commoners scored three goals in the first half and one more in the second to triumph 4-0 against landlords Eastbourne United AFC in the Southern Combination League Premier Division.
Sterner tests will inevitably lie ahead, but you can only beat what’s in front of you and Common did that in impressive fashion with a performance which showed the team has moved on from last season’s success in Division One.
Summer signings Kane Penn and Sam Willett have brought added quality to a side which played some good football when in possession, and worked hard and showed good energy to win the ball back quickly when out of possession.
On a warm evening with a few spots of rain during the first half, Common got off to a super start by opening the scoring after barely a minute. A sublime touch by Wes Tate released Jamie Crone inside the box and he rolled a cool finish into the far bottom corner.
Eastbourne - under caretaker manager Ryan Cooper - had a chance to level 10 minutes later when Penn was uncharacteristically dispossessed inside his own half by Harvey Storer, who drove towards the area only to pull his shot just wide.
On a predominantly brown pitch with several large green patches, Ryan Paul headed wide of the far post from Tate’s cross before Common took full command with two splendid goals in the final dozen minutes of the opening period.
Russell Eldridge made it 2-0 with a tremendous free kick from inside the D into the corner of the net after Eastbourne defender Dale Waring was booked for bringing down Crone.
The third goal came when Penn won possession in the Eastbourne half, then ghosted past a pair of defenders and although his path to goal was eventually blocked, Tate curled a delightful left-footed shot into the corner of the net.
With the game effectively won by the interval, Common showed good game management and dominated possession for large parts of the second period and very rarely looked in any danger of conceding.
Another Eldridge free kick was beaten out by Eastbourne goalkeeper Luke Colquhoun diving to his right just two minutes after the restart.
Common completed the scoring in the 67th minute. Tate’s corner from the left dropped kindly for Dan Ryan - a half time replacement for Paul - to calmly pass the ball into the corner of the net from around eight yards.
Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell, whose distribution was often excellent, was called into action for the only time of the night in the 80th minute, producing a superb double save - the second of which was right out of the top drawer - following an Ollie Black long throw.
The Commoners had one more opportunity a minute later as substitute Toby Clifford had a fierce angled drive well saved by Colquhoun.
Common: Cruttwell, Paul (Ryan HT), Parsons, Ward, Willett, Eldridge, Tate, Penn, Crone, Saville (Clifford 71), Smith (Astell 84). Sub not used: Spice.
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