Little Common hold title-chasing Newhaven

Little Common pair Liam Ward and Sam Ellis keep a close eye on the Newhaven player in possession. Picture by Simon Newstead
Little Common pair Liam Ward and Sam Ellis keep a close eye on the Newhaven player in possession. Picture by Simon Newstead

Little Common Football Club secured a battling point against title-chasing opposition yesterday (Saturday).

The Commoners produced a commendably hard-working display to draw 1-1 at home to second-placed Newhaven in the Southern Combination League Premier Division.

Both goals came during the first half, with Lewis Parsons equalising for Common after they had fallen behind against a Newhaven team which beat them three times early on in the season.

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The visitors put themselves on course for a fourth victory when they took the lead with a good goal in the 14th minute. Lee Robinson turned his marker before picking out the far corner of the Common net.

Newhaven threatened again when they couldn’t quite connect with a cross to the far post, but Common - who gave a debut to new signing Ryan Alexander in central defence - certainly had their moments too, despite playing into the stiff breeze during the first half.

Ryan Paul got on the end of a corner by player-manager Russell Eldridge and struck his shot well, but cleared the crossbar from eight yards. A shot by the returning Wes Tate from just inside the box was pushed away by Newhaven goalkeeper Jake Buss.

Common got back on level terms in the 37th minute. Tate’s corner to the far post was met by Parsons, who headed through a crowd of players into the far corner of the net.

The Commoners had the wind behind them in the second period and Jamie Crone drove narrowly over the crossbar with his left foot early on.

The next 20 minutes or so were fairly quiet in terms of goalmouth incident, if not protesting against certain decisions, but plenty happened at either end during the closing 20 minutes.

Lucas Franzen Jones drove a 25-yard free kick just over Common’s crossbar, while Eldridge - freed up to push forward into midfield by the arrival of Alexander - shot just wide at the other end after Tate brought down a huge kick downfield by Matt Cruttwell.

Common’s goalkeeper then made a decent save diving to his right from Robinson’s angled shot following a good ball down the away right by Freddie Beale.

As the clock ticked down, Newhaven had a golden opportunity to go back in front. The quick and dangerous Robinson ran at the Common defence and was brought down just inside the box for a penalty which Robinson himself surprisingly blazed over the crossbar.

Harry Docherty headed just wide following a free kick from Newhaven’s left, but although the visitors enjoyed most of the ball, Common had just as many attempts at goal.

Tate’s shot from just outside the box was pushed aside by Buss diving to his right and seconds later in the same attack Buss produced a better stop low to his right from a Sam Ellis shot.

In the dying moments, Alexander launched a long free kick into the Newhaven box and a back header from Common substitute Lewis Hole dropped just over the crossbar.

Common: Cruttwell; Paul, Parsons, Alexander, Feakins; Smith (Hole), Ward (Makwiramiti), Eldridge, Tate, Ellis; Crone (Pool).

Southern Combination League Premier Division bottom six (played-points): 15 Langney Wanderers 26-21 (-26), 16 Shoreham 26-21 (-30 goal difference), 17 Arundel 25-19 (-35), 18 LITTLE COMMON 24-18 (-22), 19 Loxwood 25-17 (-29), 20 Eastbourne United AFC 25-12 (-45).