Common well beaten by leaders

Little Common Football Club player-manager Russell Eldridge scored a free kick, but had a penalty saved during the 5-1 defeat at home to Worthing United yesterday
Little Common Football Club player-manager Russell Eldridge scored a free kick, but had a penalty saved during the 5-1 defeat at home to Worthing United yesterday

Little Common Football Club’s first home game since late November ended in its heaviest league defeat of the season.

The Commoners produced a ragged defensive display as they slumped 5-1 against Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two leaders Worthing United yesterday (Saturday).

On a slippery pitch which cut up, Common fell behind after just five minutes. Home goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell came for a cross which was never his and was therefore out of position as Jerome Smith’s defensive header was volleyed in by Mark O’Regan from 25 yards.

In steady rain, Worthing striker Sam Blundell brushed the side-netting shortly afterwards and 15 minutes later was denied by a good save from Cruttwell when clean through having got the better of two Common defenders.

Martin Denny forced a diving save out of Worthing goalkeeper Matt Grimstone with a decent curling effort and Common got back on level terms when player-manager Russell Eldridge dispatched a trademark free kick into the corner of the net from just outside the D.

Common survived a couple of mini-goalmouth scrambles in quick succession and Dom Bristow made a superb potentially goal-saving tackle, while Jack Hayward shot wide of the near post with only Cruttwell to beat.

Lewis Hole had the ball in the away net only to be denied by an offside flag before Worthing retook the lead shortly before half time. James Wotherspoon latched on to a ball over the top and as Cruttwell regained his feet having slipped, unselfishly squared for O’Regan to tap home.

The rain had relented by the time the teams emerged for the second half and Common fell 3-1 behind in the 53rd minute. Cruttwell blocked O’Regan’s initial effort following a ball over the top, but Blundell rolled home the rebound.

Cruttwell produced a good save from Wayne Joseph before Worthing went further ahead in the 58th minute. Wotherspoon’s mis-hit shot fell kindly for Blundell to side-foot past Cruttwell.

After Grimstone made a smart tip over from Ricky Mote’s shot, Worthing added a fifth goal - and their eighth against Common this season - in the 76th minute. O’Regan completed his hat-trick with a delightful chip.

Although the game was well and truly up, Common did at least finish strongly. Denny’s shot was beaten out by Grimstone at his near post before the hosts’ penalty woes made an unwelcome return. Jared Lusted was brought down by the sliding Jamie Stideford, but Grimstone saved Eldridge’s resulting penalty - Common’s fifth miss from the spot this term.

Hole’s drive was pushed aside by Grimstone, who then pulled off a splendid double save from Steve Morris. Towards the end substitute Paul Feakins saw a volley cleared off the line, rounding-off another frustrating afternoon for the Commoners.

Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood, R. Mote (Feakins 75), Eldridge, McEniry, J. Smith, Denny, Bristow (Brown 71), Hole, Morris, Carey (Lusted 58). Subs not used: S. Mote, Wells.