Little Common’s footballers saw their 10-match unbeaten league run come to an end with a 3-2 defeat against East Preston on Saturday.
Common scored the first and last goals of the game through Wes Tate and Jamie Crone, but three East Preston strikes in between proved decisive.
Common welcomed Matt Cruttwell back in goal, with Harry Saville replacing the unavailable Liam Foster in an otherwise unchanged squad.
After a fairly even opening to the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One match, it was the Commoners who mounted the first real period of sustained pressure.
They were rewarded in the 16th minute when a delightful ball from Wes Tate released Crone, who was brought down in the area after rounding the goalkeeper. Tate saw the resultant penalty saved, but was on hand to slot home the rebound from close range.
The hosts then pushed for an equaliser and a number of deliveries into the Common box were dealt with before East Preston made their pressure count after half-an-hour.
Common midfielder Cam Burgon initially did well to head a goalbound effort off the line before being harshly penalised for handball when the ball was smashed towards his face from two yards. The penalty was clinically dispatched and the scores were level again.
Common almost regained their lead just before the break when Tate’s header was scrambled off the line and the same player saw a header comfortably dealt with at the far post as the half time whistle blew.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half ultimately proved decisive, with the hosts scoring two quickfire goals as Common’s defensive frailties were once again exposed. Lapses in concentration allowed East Preston to take a firm hold on the game.
The Commoners responded well and reduced the deficit with 30 minutes remaining when Russell Eldridge’s free kick was fumbled by the home goalkeeper and Crone smashed in the rebound.
It was then all Common as they went in search of an equaliser with wave after wave of attack. Lewis Hole was unable to guide a header goalwards and Tate hit the side-netting.
Two deliveries into the box were palmed away by the home goalkeeper before Tate laid a ball across the goal which just evaded the outstretched foot of Martin Denny.
The hosts did threaten on the counter-attack as the Commoners reverted to just two in defence. A sloppy opening to the second half proved costly for the visitors in the end.
Common drop to fifth in the table, but are only two points behind second-placed East Preston.
Common: Cruttwell, Cooper (Denny), Aston (Wells), Eldridge, Cruikshank, Ammoun, Saville, Tate, Hole, Crone, Burgon (Smith).
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