Little Common’s footballers saw their four-match winning run in the league come to an end following a 2-1 defeat to Haywards Heath Town on Saturday.
It was Common’s third visit to Hanbury Park Stadium in five weeks and once again a tight affair was decided by the odd goal even though Common played all bar the opening three minutes with 10 men.
Common entered the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One match with four players missing from the team that had beaten Saltdean United the previous weekend, although they were boosted by new recruits Dom Bristow and Billy Trickett.
Their task was made even harder in the third minute when the returning Steve Mote was dismissed for retaliation after he had appeared to be pushed in the back following a collision on the halfway line.
The home side enjoyed the better of the possession in the opening half-an-hour and looked dangerous on a number of occasions, striking the crossbar and seeing further efforts either drift wide or foiled by the ever-impressive Matt Cruttwell in the Common goal.
The Commoners defended well and looked to find lone striker Lewis Hole at every opportunity. It was Hole who engineered Common’s first opportunity of the match when he found Liam Foster on the edge of the box, but Foster’s effort cleared the crossbar.
Hole dragged a long range shot the wrong side of the post before the hosts opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when a delivery into the box found the unmarked Rob O’Toole to head home.
The lead was almost doubled when a ball fizzed across the goal beyond the reach of the onrushing striker before another header landed in the arms of Cruttwell.
Common made a sloppy start to the second half, losing possession from their kick-off, but fortunately for them, Dave Ammoun was on hand to make a timely interception.
Common did their fair share of attacking and were duly rewarded in the 50th minute when an unmarked Kyle Holden poked the ball home at the far post to level the scores.
The lively Danny Turner provided the best moments for the hosts and numerous deliveries into the box went unpunished before Jake Sherwood was penalised for a push in the 60th minute, allowing O’Toole to put the home side back in front from the penalty spot.
Heath’s lead should have been extended moments later when a ball across the box found an unmarked Heath player at the far post, but with an open goal in front of him, he sliced wide.
Common saw their own penalty appeals waved away when Hole appeared to be pushed in the area before Cruttwell made an excellent low save and then tipped a long range effort over the crossbar.
Common tried to push numbers forward in the dying stages, but it wasn’t to be and the hosts were able to see out the victory. The Commoners battled well all afternoon and once again showed they are more than capable of competing with the better teams in the division.
Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood (Haward), Mote, Brown (Wells), Ammoun, Eldridge, Foster, Holden (Bristow), Trickett, Hole, Lusted.
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