Four-star Common thrash high-flyers

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge is bundled over by a Wick & Barnham United opponent. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140811-163538002)
Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge is bundled over by a Wick & Barnham United opponent. Picture by Steve Hunnisett (SUS-140811-163538002)

Little Common’s footballers produced arguably their best performance of the season to overcome promotion hopefuls Wick & Barnham United 4-0 yesterday (Saturday).

Common emphatically ended a run of one point from four Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two matches against a Wick team which had lost just one of its first 10 league games and had conceded only six goals.

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge once again found himself with a depleted squad in the absence of in-form striker Steve Morris and Martin Denny. Dom Bristow, Sam Brown and Dan Hill all came into the starting line-up.

The Common pitch was once again in good condition and held up well after the recent heavy rain. Kicking with the blustery wind in the first half, Common controlled proceedings early on and raced into a 2-0 lead after only 16 minutes.

The first goal came following the endless running of Hill, who forced a mistake from the Wick defender and the ball fell to Lewis Hole, who took one touch before burying an effort across the goalkeeper into the far corner of the goal.

The second goal came four minutes later when a delightful ball into the area by Brown saw Hill rise 16 yards from goal to head into the top corner of the net.

Common continued to apply the pressure and Eldridge saw a free kick just clear the crossbar before Hole had an effort blocked. At the other end, Matt Cruttwell saved well at the feet of Ash Harper as the visitors threatened for the first time.

It was Eldridge’s throughball which set up the third goal. Despite being unable to convert the initial chance, Paul Feakins was on hand to drive a 20-yard effort past the visiting goalkeeper following a neat pullback from Hole.

As the half wore on, the visitors tried to find a way back into the match, but the Common defence held firm to ensure a 3-0 lead at the interval.

The expected early onslaught from the visitors in the second period never really materialised and it was Common who looked the most likely to add to the scoresheet. Hole twice went close and Feakins saw a curling effort just drift over the crossbar.

The fourth goal did arrive in the 69th minute when Eldridge released Hole, who rounded the goalkeeper before pulling the ball back for Hill to smash into the net.

Hole thought he had scored Common’s fifth when a collision between the Wick goalkeeper and his own defender saw the ball land at Hole’s feet for a simple tap in, but bizarrely a free kick was awarded by the referee for a foul by Hole.

Substitute Stuart Collier struck the post in the dying minutes as Common completed an impressive first league win since the end of September.

Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood, R. Mote, Eldridge, McEniry. Smith, Feakins, Brown, Hole (Fregene), Hill (Collier), Bristow (Hudson).

Standings (played-points): 1 Worthing United 12-30, 2 Wick & Barnham United 11-25, 3 AFC Uckfield 14-25, 4 BEXHILL UNITED 13-25, 5 Oakwood 12-23, 6 LITTLE COMMON 13-20, 7 Mile Oak 12-18, 8 Steyning Town 12-18, 9 Haywards Heath Town 12-18, 10 Rustington 13-16, 11 WESTFIELD 12-14, 12 Midhurst & Easebourne 11-13, 13 Storrington 13-10, 14 Saltdean United 11-8, 15 Seaford Town 13-0.