Little Common set for ‘six-game season’ in quest to beat the drop

Paul Feakins hooks the ball forward during Little Common's 5-1 defeat away to Chichester City last weekend. Picture by Kate Shemilt
Paul Feakins hooks the ball forward during Little Common's 5-1 defeat away to Chichester City last weekend. Picture by Kate Shemilt

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge says the football club has ‘a six-game season’ as it seeks to stave off relegation.

The Commoners are reaching crunch time in their quest to finish outside the Southern Combination League Premier Division’s bottom two, off the back of successive 5-1 defeats.

Eldridge said: “We’ve had two tough games in succession, but we have to pick ourselves up. It’s a six-game season now basically and they’re all games we’re capable of getting results out of.

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“The onus is on us, we can’t rely on others. We’re in a better position than the others below us and we have to use that to our advantage. We have to work harder, be better on the ball and give more than we have done.”

Common are fourth-from-bottom of the table - two points above all of the three teams below them, two of whom will face each other tomorrow (Saturday).

“We’re going to be optimistic, but it’s very difficult because confidence isn’t the highest at the moment,” continued Eldridge.

“We have to find something from within ourselves to inspire us to do something on many occasions this season. We’ve had some okay performances, but okay hasn’t got us enough points at this stage.”

After three successive games against top four opposition, Common’s remaining matches are all against teams outside the current top seven, starting with a home fixture against 13th-placed Lancing tomorrow. Kick-off at The Oval is 3pm.

“In games against teams in and around us we’ve looked a better team when we’ve started positively,” added Eldridge, whose team lost 8-4 away to Lancing at the end of September.

“We’ll be looking to try and make a positive start and if we can get ourselves in front, that makes a massive change to us mentally.

“We’ll definitely be trying to get on the front foot, make things happen, put them under pressure, make it a difficult afternoon for them and try to pick up three points.”

Common hope to welcome back defenders Ryan Alexander and Lewis Parsons as they seek only a second win since late October.

“We’ve been trying to get a couple (of new players) in,” said Eldridge. “We’ve spoken to a couple of people, but unfortunately they decided to go to other teams. If we can find something, we will. But I’ve got every belief and faith in the group.”

Common will be hoping for a far happier afternoon than last weekend, when they were ultimately well beaten away to table-topping Chichester City.

“It was a bit of a tough afternoon and we expected that,” added Eldridge. “The table doesn’t lie and they’re the best team in the league. But we were our own worst enemies at times.

“I was a little bit disappointed we gave away the first two goals. It was too much to expect to come back in these situations and the third goal took it beyond our reach.

“We were then just looking to get something out of the second half. To get that goal straight away was nice and buoyed us a bit, but one of the most ludicrous decisions I’ve seen cost us the fourth goal.

“We then scored a goal which was onside from a free kick (only for it to be disallowed). Had it been 3-2, who knows, the game could’ve been slightly different.”

Southern Combination League Premier Division bottom six (played-points): 15 Langney Wanderers 32-33 (-26 goal difference), 16 Loxwood 32-27 (-28), 17 LITTLE COMMON 32-23 (-33), 18 Shoreham 32-21 (-43), 19 Eastbourne United AFC 31-21 (-44), 20 Arundel 32-21 (-45).