Little Common Football Club came bearing plenty of early festive gifts during a very disappointing home defeat yesterday (Saturday).
The Commoners conceded four of the poorest goals they will let in all season as they were beaten 4-1 by Loxwood in the Southern Combination League Premier Division.
It was an afternoon as grim as the wet and windy weather for Common against a Loxwood side which has scored 11 goals in two goals and looks sure to climb the table from its present position of second-bottom.
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Common played with the conditions in their favour during the first half and Sam Ellis curled an early shot over the Loxwood crossbar before Common fell behind in the eighth minute.
Home goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell attempted to launch a clearance downfield, but the ball took a wicked bobble, causing him to miss it completely, and Sam Karl tapped into an empty net.
Common player-manager Russell Eldridge made an important tackle to prevent Loxwood getting in on goal and both sides had a penalty appeal turned down, in Common’s case when Ellis went down in the left-hand side of the area.
Just seconds after that, Common fell further behind. An Eldridge back pass was intercepted by Karl, who rounded Cruttwell before finishing into the roof of the net.
Common got one back two minutes later. Eldridge’s inswinging corner from the left ended up in the far corner of the net following a couple of ricochets near the line, with central defender Lewis Parsons claiming the final touch.
The home side had more of the attempts at goal during the remainder of the first half. Eldridge shot just over from the corner of the area, while Jamie Crone had an angled drive well saved by the goalkeeper’s feet and then fired over after James Pool’s shot was parried.
At the other end, Parsons produced a good block from a well-struck goalbound effort and Loxwood also missed the target following a cutback from the left.
The rain had relented and the wind had dropped a bit by the start of the second period, and Common had an early half-chance when Lewis Hole headed wide from an Eldridge free kick.
But Loxwood restored their two-goal cushion in the 56th minute. A cross from the away right deflected goalwards off a Common defender and although a wrong-footed Cruttwell got a hand to the ball low to his left, he couldn’t keep it out.
Common plugged away without carrying a great deal of threat on the whole, although they did have two very good chances to get back into it.
Ellis firstly seized upon a weak back header only to see his shot saved by the goalkeeper’s feet before Adam Smith’s header at a corner was kept out by a great scrambling save.
The resulting long kick downfield wasn’t dealt with by the Common defence, however, and Karl went through to complete his hat-trick.
In the time that remained, Loxwood were whiskers away with a thumping effort from around 35 yards and had another shot saved by Cruttwell, while Ellis wasn’t far off target at the other end.
Common: Cruttwell; Paul, Parsons, Eldridge, Feakins; Ward (Ryan 76), Pool, Tate; Crone (Smith HT), Hole, Ellis.