Common come from behind for derby win

Little Common’s footballers came from behind to clinch a late victory over crosstown rivals Bexhill United this morning (Easter Monday).

Bexhill United wide player Allan McMinigal tries to take on Little Common midfielder Jared Lusted. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150604-181044002)
Bexhill United wide player Allan McMinigal tries to take on Little Common midfielder Jared Lusted. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150604-181044002)

Goals in the final 15 minutes from Jared Lusted and Steve Morris gave Common a 2-1 win after Corey Wheeler had put Bexhill ahead earlier in the second half.

Common’s fourth straight win and sixth victory in their last seven games has moved them up to sixth in Macron Store Sussex County Football League Division Two, while Bexhill remain fourth. Both clubs have now completed their league programmes.

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In the pleasantly warm Bank Holiday sunshine, Common had the better of the first half, particularly the initial half-hour, but Bexhill defended well and goalkeeper Yankuba Camara wasn’t unduly troubled.

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge sent an early free kick just wide during the only moment of note in the opening quarter apart from a booking for either side as things became a touch heated for a while.

Bexhill thought they had a penalty when Chris Cumming-Bart appeared to be fouled by Jake Sherwood, but the offside flag came to Common’s rescue. Morris’s looping header sailed over, while at the other end, Kevin Barden’s angled effort was straight at Matt Cruttwell.

Bexhill came into the game far more during the final 15 minutes of the first half and probably had the best opportunity before the break when Josh Elliott-Noye headed just wide from Cumming-Bart’s left wing corner.

Although Common lost Sherwood and Steve Mote to injury during the same break in play, a Morris shot from distance was comfortably gathered by Camara and in added time Lewis Hole hooked just beyond the far post after Morris flicked on Cruttwell’s long kick.

Scott McDonald’s goalbound shot deflected just over Common’s crossbar in the first 30 seconds of the second period. For a while after that it was hard to see where a goal was coming from until Bexhill drew first blood on the hour.

Wheeler had only been on the field for six minutes in his first taste of senior derby action when he stepped inside one Common defender and rode the challenge of another before picking out the top corner with a delightful left-foot finish.

The same player had another chance two minutes later, but this time could only shoot straight at Cruttwell from Cumming-Bart’s cutback. Common then started to enjoy the bulk of the play once more and although Eldridge fired a couple of attempts off target, they again found it hard to fashion clearcut openings as Bexhill stood firm.

That all changed in the 81st minute when Common scored a well-worked equaliser. Hole’s accurate cross from the right was perfectly nodded down by Morris for Lusted to side-foot past Camara.

Morris had the ball in the net again three minutes later only to be penalised for a foul on Camara. He did get one to count, however, in the 90th minute when he brought down Cruttwell’s long free kick into the box before superbly hooking the ball into the far bottom corner for Common’s winner.

There was still time for Morris to have a free kick well held by Camara as Common celebrated their third win at home to Bexhill this season (the other two came in the cups) and avenged their defeat in the reverse fixture at Christmas.

Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood (Crathern 37), S. Mote (R. Mote 35), Eldridge, McEniry, Smith, Denny (Wells 90+6), Brown, Hole, Morris, Lusted. Sub not used: Woodward.

Bexhill: Camara, Cooper, Ottley (Tudor 90+2), Elliott-Noye, Cruikshank, J. Aston, Barden (Pickering 71), Cumming-Bart, McDonald, G. Aston, McMinigal (Wheeler 55). Subs not used: White, Turner.