Little Common out of relegation zone after away draw

Lewis Hole gave Little Common a first half lead against Hassocks
Lewis Hole gave Little Common a first half lead against Hassocks

A goal 10 minutes from time prevented Little Common Football Club from clinching three much-needed three points yesterday (Saturday).

Although a point from the battling 1-1 draw at Hassocks was enough to move them out of the Southern Combination League Premier Division relegation zone.

The Commoners welcomed back Lewis Parsons in place of the unavailable Ollie Weeks, with Sam Ellis also returning to the starting line-up in place of Adam Smith.

See also: * Little Common set for two key games in four days
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Common began the game in positive fashion, making their attacking intentions clear early on and creating the first chance after just two minutes. A sweeping move saw Wes Tate lay the ball in to Jamie Crone, whose goalbound effort was blocked by a home defender.

Tate then almost opened the scoring himself, but his left-footed curling shot fell just the wrong side of the post.

Common’s early endeavour was rewarded in the 13th minute. A Tate corner was headed back across goal by Parsons and Lewis Hole headed home from close range.

One almost became two when Tate’s early throughball released Crone, but after rounding the goalkeeper, the angle was too tight and his effort was cleared for a corner.

At the other end, Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell was on hand to palm away an effort which looked destined for the top corner, while the Common defence was reasonably comfortable against the physical presence of the home attack.

Ellis lifted an effort over the crossbar from a tight angle before Tate had a header bundled off the line as the Commoners ended the first half strongly.

A slight injury saw Crone replaced by Smith at half time, but the Commoners seemed to lack the threat and quality of the first period as the hosts grew into the game.

Hassocks were almost level within a minute of the restart, but a tremendous point blank Cruttwell save and a block on the line thwarted the home attack.

The hosts enjoyed more possession and a succession of Hassocks corners were dealt with before a glancing header was ruled out for offside.

Common midfielder Liam Ward blocked bravely in the six-yard box amid strong protests by the hosts for handball. At the other end, an Ellis effort hit the side-netting and Russell Eldridge fired over from the edge of the area.

With 10 minutes remaining, the hosts drew level as a quickly taken corner was scrambled home at the near post by Liam Benson.

The Commoners had their own penalty appeal waved away in the dying minutes when the ball clearly struck the arm of a Hassocks defender, but it wasn’t to be and the Commoners had to settle for their second successive point.

Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Feakins, Ward, Parsons, Alexander, Tate, Eldridge, Hole, Crone (Smith), Ellis (Tewkesbury).

Southern Combination League Premier Division bottom six (played-points): 15 Loxwood 28-24 (-27 goal difference), 16 Langney Wanderers 29-24 (-29), 17 Shoreham 29-21 (-36), 18 LITTLE COMMON 28-20 (-25), 19 Arundel 28-20 (-39), 20 Eastbourne United AFC 28-18 (-43).