Little Common Football Club consolidated its place at the top of the table with a pretty comfortable home victory yesterday (Saturday).
Goals from Jamie Crone, Wes Tate and Lewis Hole gave Common a 3-0 win over Storrington, although Tate was sent-off for the first time in his long career.
Common player-manager Russell Eldridge sat the game out with a sore hip, but Crone returned to the side after missing the cup defeat at Crawley Down Gatwick four days previously.
And it took Crone just seven minutes to get on the scoresheet. Tate played a nice little pass to Ellis, who surged past a defender before squaring for Crone to sweep the ball home for a well-worked goal.
The rest of the first half made for rather painful viewing. Common enjoyed plenty of possession at the back, but made little headway going forward and something of a stalemate ensued with neither goal coming under much threat.
A Dean Gilmour shot landed on top of Common’s net after the hosts failed to clear a corner, while Lewis Parsons’ far post header from a Tate corner at the other end hit the side-netting.
Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell had a slightly anxious moment just before half time. Cruttwell miskicked when well wide of his goal, but recovered in time to keep out John Rhodie’s long range effort.
Eldridge no doubt asked his players to step up a gear at half time and there was an improvement during the second period, even if the match won’t be one that stands out in the memory come the season’s end.
Crone’s angled shot deflected onto the roof of the net before Zack McEniry had a decent chance to double Common’s advantage, but headed Tate’s corner just over from close range.
Common did go two-up in the 67th minute. Man of the match Jamie Fielding won possession with a good tackle, Hole hooked a nice ball over the Storrington defence and Ellis was brought down in the box by Iain Jarvie. Tate dispatched the resulting penalty into the bottom corner.
Tate’s afternoon, however, came to a premature end less than two minutes later. The accomplished midfielder uncharacteristically lunged in on Rhodie, leaving the Storrington midfielder needing treatment and angering his team-mates, and it was no real surprise when the referee produced a straight red card.
Storrington’s hopes might well have been raised by their numerical advantage, but although Callum Bester flashed a 20-yard shot just wide, they still failed to trouble Cruttwell in the home goal.
Common put the result firmly beyond doubt with a third goal in the 76th minute. McEniry’s free kick from 10 yards inside Storrington’s half was neatly glanced into the corner of the net by the head of Hole for his 15th league and 17th in all competitions already this season.
Common: Cruttwell, Parsons, Lusted, Ward, Fielding, McEniry, Smith (Saville 61), Tate, Hole, Crone, Ellis (Harley 72). Subs not used: Eldridge, Walker.