Late penalty clinches victory

Russell Eldridge scored a late penalty to give Little Common a 3-2 victory away to Steyning Town
Russell Eldridge scored a late penalty to give Little Common a 3-2 victory away to Steyning Town
  • Late Eldridge penalty gives Common victory at Steyning
  • Hole earlier bags a brace but Common are pegged back twice
  • Fourth away league triumph of the campaign
  • Common’s second 3-2 win over Steyning this season
  • Common are eighth in the table with three games left

A penalty from player-manager Russell Eldridge five minutes from time gave Little Common victory in their final away game of the season.

Lewis Hole had earlier struck twice as Common clinched a 3-2 win over Steyning Town in Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two yesterday (Saturday) despite being pegged back twice.

There was one change to the team that had taken on Wick & Barnham United a fortnight earlier with Jared Lusted coming in to replace the injured Steve Morris.

The unavailability of assistant manager Glyn White led to the veteran duo of Marc Eldridge and Spencer Wells overseeing proceedings from the dugout.

On a difficult surface, both teams struggled to get the ball down in a scrappy opening quarter, but it was the Commoners who enjoyed the greater possession as the half wore on and looked the most likely to open the scoring.

Lusted saw an early effort blaze wide before Martin Denny engineered a clever shooting opportunity, stinging the hands of the home goalkeeper with a fiercely hit volley.

It was no surprise when the deadlock was finally broken in the 25th minute as Hole met a perfectly flighted Eldridge free kick and side-footed beyond the rooted goalkeeper.

Despite Common’s dominance, they were only able to hold on to the lead for 10 minutes. A rare Steyning attack saw an unfortunate deflection off Jerome Smith fall at the feet of Rob Clark, who made no mistake from six yards.

Lusted had an opportunity to restore Common’s lead five minutes before the interval, but his low effort was well-saved and the teams went in all-square at half time.

Common did not have to wait long after the restart to regain the advantage. An attack straight from the kick-off saw Lusted lay the ball into the path of Hole to notch both his and Common’s second of the afternoon.

As the half wore on, neither team created many clearcut chances. Lusted hit the side-netting and Jake Sherwood was unable to test the goalkeeper from long range.

However, it was the home side who brought the scores level with their first effort of the half 15 minutes from time. A long ball forward deceived Smith, allowing Kris Harding to get in behind the Common defence and smash the ball home.

It looked as though the match was ebbing towards a draw, but with five minutes left on the clock, Sherwood burst into the box before being upended and a spot-kick awarded.

Despite Common’s poor penalty record this season, Eldridge capped a fine individual performance with a well-struck effort into the corner of the net to give Common their second 3-2 victory over Steyning this season.

Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood, S. Mote, Eldridge, McEniry, Smith, Lusted, Bristow (R. Mote), Hole, Denny, Feakins (Brown).