A goal at the end of each half condemned Little Common Football Club to a 2-0 defeat at AFC Uckfield Town yesterday (Saturday).
The second goal came straight after Common had the crossbar with a penalty and Uckfield had a player sent-off in this Southern Combination League Premier Division encounter.
The Commoners were once again forced into changes. Oliver Weeks and James Pool were both missing from the Boxing Day draw against Langney Wanderers and were replaced in the starting line-up by Adam Smith and Sam Ellis.
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On a generally poor surface, it was never going to be a game for the purists and the heavy conditions, particularly in the middle of the pitch, made it difficult to pass the ball.
Neither goalkeeper was really tested during a fairly even opening quarter. Matt Maclean saw a looping header easily gathered by Common stopper Matt Cruttwell, while at the other end, an ambitious long range Lewis Hole effort squirmed under the home goalkeeper to safety.
A neat one-two in the home area led to Jamie Crone forcing a smart near post save, while some last ditch defending in the Common box kept the hosts at bay.
Uckfield took the lead in the 39th minute when a hotly disputed corner was met by the head of Maclean and the ball nestled in the net.
The same player almost made it 2-0 moments later, but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Russell Eldridge.
Uckfield started the second half in the ascendancy, using the wings well to deliver a number of dangerous balls into the area, one of which resulted in a super save as Cruttwell tipped Maclean’s header over the crossbar.
Common found it difficult to fashion many chances of note, although Eldridge saw a free kick spilled and Ellis was unable to find Crone after breaking into the box from the left.
With 90 minutes almost on the clock, Common were thrown a lifeline as Crone was bundled over in the area and the hosts were reduced to 10 men.
The resultant Eldridge penalty hit the underside of the crossbar, though, and within seconds Uckfield doubled their lead as Callum Smith jinked into the Common area before unleashing a shot beyond Cruttwell.
Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Feakins (Ryan), Ward, Parsons, Eldridge, Smith (Tewkesbury), Tate, Hole, Crone, Ellis.