Common top at Christmas after sixth straight win

Little Common's footballers will be top of the tree at Christmas after extending their winning run to six league matches.

Little Common midfielder Harry Saville closes down a St Francis Rangers opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead
Little Common midfielder Harry Saville closes down a St Francis Rangers opponent. Picture by Simon Newstead

The Commoners preserved their three-point cushion at the summit of Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One with a 3-0 victory over St Francis Rangers yesterday (Saturday).

A first half double from Lewis Hole and Adam Smith's second half strike took Common's impressive unbeaten home record to 30 points from a possible 36 so far this season.

Hole took less than three minutes to open his account, latching on to a long ball over the top and slotting past St Francis goalkeeper Harvey James.

Little Common full-back Louis Walker slides in to a tackle. Picture by Simon Newstead

Common needed a trio of saves from Matt Cruttwell to maintain their advantage before Hole doubled it in the 11th minute. Russell Eldridge's corner dropped to Hole, whose left-foot shot found the net despite the efforts of the man on the line.

George Aston saw a header cleared off the line before the action slowed during the remainder of the first half. Hole had a great chance to complete his hat-trick only to be denied by the goalkeeper's feet having been put clear by a lovely ball from Eldridge.

Common had another decent opportunity to go three-up early in the second period. Martin Denny got to a Rosh Wells ball over the top before the outrushing James, but fired over with just a covering defender to beat.

The game then rather meandered along for a while, with Common seemingly content with their two-goal lead and second-bottom St Francis not really looking like clawing their way back into it.

Two-goal Lewis Hole in possession. Picture by Simon Newstead

That said, Common started to concede possession too easily and endured a couple of nervous moments as a result.

Stuart Goodwin hooked the ball over the top when anything on target would've yielded a goal and Dan Cruikshank did well to clear Rhys White's cross-shot from near the line.

All the openings in the final 20 minutes, though, fell to Common as the match drifted away from St Francis. Denny's low shot following a great ball from Wes Tate was saved by James, while Adam Smith was put through by Hole and although his shot beat the goalkeeper, away defender Sam Fildes headed it off the line.

The third goal arrived in the 81st minute. Eldridge slipped a nice ball through for substitute Smith to neatly slot into the far bottom corner.

That was Common's 10th goal against St Francis this season following their 7-2 win in the reverse fixture on the opening day and Hole wasn't far away from an 11th with a shot from just outside the box which went narrowly wide.

Common: Cruttwell, Bristow, Walker, Eldridge, Aston, Cruikshank, Saville (Lusted 81), Tate, Hole, Denny (Smith 76), Wells (Burgon 88).

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