Little Common hit back to beat Crawley Down Gatwick
Little Common produced a superb second half performance to overturn a 1-0 half time deficit in order to clinch a 3-1 victory against Crawley Down Gatwick on Tuesday night.
Manager Russell Eldridge was forced into five changes from the team which were defeated in the FA Cup at the weekend with Ryan Alexander, Harry Saville, Will Brown, Lewis Hole and seventeen year old Finlay Jack all named in the starting line-up.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start to the match and the Commoners could have found themselves three goals behind in the opening ten minutes with Charlie Pitcher seeing an effort hit the post from a tight angle after rounding Matt Cruttwell before the Common keeper was twice on hand to make smart saves to deny the Crawley Down forwards.
After weathering the early pressure the Commoners slowly got themselves into the game and a Brown cross eluded Hole before the lively Sam Ellis saw his cut back hacked to safety. It was the visitors who deservedly took the lead in the 35th minute when a ball into the box was controlled and volleyed into the net by Pitcher from close range. Common almost forced an equaliser before the interval but Hole saw his effort blocked and then Ellis blazed the rebound over the bar.
Common reappeared for the second half with a renewed belief and began to dominate proceedings and were rewarded for their efforts in the 55th minute when Hole picked up the ball on the edge of the area and fired an effort past the reach of the visiting keeper into the bottom corner of the net.
The same player almost added a second moments later but after meeting Brown’s cut back could only find the side netting. Gatwick saw a free kick hit the Common wall and a last ditch James Miriam-Batchelor tackle prevented a shot at the Common goal.
Common took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 74th minute when Matt MacLean won the ball on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable volley across the keeper and into the top corner of the net. With three points now firmly in their sights, Common defended resolutely and restricted the visitors from penetrating their goal and with time running out it was Common who added a third in the 90th minute when Ellis got the goal that his performance deserved firing into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Little Common: Cruttwell, Harris, Miriam-Batchelor, Jack, Alexander, Eldridge, MacLean, Saville (Smith), Hole, Brown (Crone), Ellis.
* Little Common manager Russell Eldridge reflected on another week of mixed emotions for his team. He commented, "Naturally we were disappointed to exit the FA Cup as you always want to see how far you can get and come up against higher level teams. We wanted to give ourselves a platform on Saturday and were just getting ourselves on the front foot when we went behind and conceding two within a minute we gave ourselves too much to do. We didn’t perform to the levels that we know we can.
"On Tuesday we were forced into a number of changes and the group performed exceptionally well. The first half we conceded possession but kept a good shape and at times we rode our luck a bit but we stayed in the game and gave ourselves a chance in the second half. We showed more belief in the second half and caused them more problems with early forward balls.
"Lewis and Matt took their goals extremely well from distance and this changed the game for us. We defended well and restricted their chances and Sam wrapped up the win with another well taken goal. We showed good character to bounce back from Saturday and the group put in another hard working performance."