A Lewis Hole hat-trick fired Little Common’s footballers to victory over what was table-topping opposition yesterday (Saturday).
The Commoners produced a dominant performance to record a 3-0 win at home to East Preston and knock their opponents off the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One summit.
The result also ended East Preston’s 10-match winning run and halted their unbeaten away record in the league this season.
In a depleted Common line-up, player-manager Russell Eldridge was forced into a number of changes due to the unavailability of Dan Cruikshank, Steve Mote, Jared Lusted and Tom Climpson.
Eldridge himself moved into the centre of defence alongside Louis Walker with debutant Ollie Black slotting in at left-back.
The match was played in less than ideal conditions on a bobbly surface and with a strong wind, but Common adapted quickly as they battled against the elements in the first half.
Adam Smith almost gave the Commoners a perfect start, but saw an effort from the edge of the area cannon back off the crossbar. Jamie Crone then had a shot saved from a tight angle at the goalkeeper’s near post.
East Preston also made their attacking intentions clear with Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell tipping an effort over the crossbar before a shot was scrambled away from the goal-line following a neat interchange of passes.
The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute. A quick break down the left saw the ball played across to Rosh Wells, whose delivery found Hole and his somewhat miskicked effort wrongfooted the goalkeeper before trickling over the line.
The visitors went on to enjoy their best spell of the match as they looked to get back into it, and the post and crossbar both came to Common’s rescue as they saw out the half to take a 1-0 lead in at the interval.
Common couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second period, doubling their lead with barely two minutes on the clock. A Wells free kick was headed home by Hole from close range.
Common managed the game well and barely gave their high-riding visitors a sniff at goal, breaking up play and looking to add a decisive third goal. Smith saw a low effort gathered by the visiting goalkeeper before Wells fired over the crossbar.
The visitors almost pulled a goal back with 10 minutes remaining, but hit the post before Cruttwell smothered the rebound.
Common got a third with the last kick of the game. Wells once again provided an assist for Hole to run through and slot past the goalkeeper to complete his treble.
Common: Cruttwell, Bristow, Black, Saville, Walker, Eldridge, Wells, Tate, Hole, Crone (Sloat), Smith (Denny).
Southern Combination League Division One top eight (played-points): 1 Saltdean United 28-63, 2 East Preston 27-61, 3 Mile Oak 29-60, 4 LITTLE COMMON 27-59, 5 Steyning Town 30-56, 6 Lingfield 26-48, 7 Selsey 25-42, 8 BEXHILL UNITED 30-37.
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