A Jamie Crone goal just before the hour enabled Little Common Football Club to edge a tight encounter yesterday (Saturday).
The 1-0 victory at home to fifth-placed Steyning Town on Saturday kept Common top of Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One on goal difference.
Although still missing the presence of player-manager Russell Eldridge (thigh strain), the Commoners welcomed back a whole host of players with Lewis Parsons and Wes Tate coming into the starting XI.
Neither goalkeeper was really troubled during an even start to the match. Common fashioned the first opportunity when Sam Ellis surged into the area before pulling the ball back to Crone, who saw his effort blocked and Lewis Hole was unable to prod home the rebound.
A Tate free kick cleared the crossbar and Ellis had a shot gathered by the goalkeeper at his near post. At the other end, Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell saved a close range header.
The Commoners were forced into a change with the unwell Jamie Fielding being replaced by James Maynard.
Common started the brighter of the two teams in the second half, but found it difficult to break down a resolute Steyning defence. Tate had a shot blocked and a succession of corners were cleared to safety.
The deadlock was broken in the 56th minute. A delightful ball from Tate released Crone, who drove into the box and unleashed a splendid strike which hit the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the net.
Hole had an opportunity to double Common’s lead following Crone’s cutback, but blazed his effort over the crossbar.
Steyning continued to ask questions of their own and only a well-timed Parsons interception prevented a shot at goal from inside the area.
Town’s best chance came following a slight scramble in the Common box, but the loose ball was prodded wide with only Cruttwell to beat.
The Common defence, well marshalled by Parsons, held firm as the visitors looked for a late leveller to collect three more valuable points.
Common: Cruttwell, Pritchard, Walker, Ward, Fielding (Maynard), Parsons, Smith (Saville), Tate, Hole, Crone, Ellis (Bachellier).
Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 13-34 (+42 goal difference), 2 Wick 13-34 (+33), 3 Langney Wanderers 12-28 (+25), 4 Lingfield 13-25 (+16), 5 Selsey 12-22 (+11), 6 BEXHILL UNITED 13-21 (+17), 7 Steyning Town 12-21 (+14), 8 Mile Oak 12-20 (0), 9 Hailsham Town 12-20 (-1).