A below-strength Little Common Football Club produced a battling performance to clinch a very creditable point yesterday (Saturday).
The Commoners twice came from behind to draw 2-2 away to eighth-placed Pagham in the Southern Combination League Premier Division.
Common were missing their central defensive pairing of Lewis Parsons and Ryan Paul, but did welcome back Matt Cruttwell in goal as they made their longest journey of the season.
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Common’s afternoon got off to the worst possible start as the hosts opened the scoring with less than a minute on the clock. A poor clearance saw the ball played inside the area to Howard Neighbour, who placed his effort into the far corner of the net.
The Commoners may have feared a long afternoon ahead, but they dug in and battled their way back into the match. Common were level after 17 minutes when Russell Eldridge’s free kick was spilled by the home goalkeeper and Lewis Hole was on hand to slot home.
Jamie Crone’s goalbound effort at the end of a driving run into the area was well blocked by a Pagham defender, while at the other end, a dangerous corner whizzed across the Common goal-line with no-one able to apply a finishing touch.
Common almost took the lead on the stroke of half time, but Eldridge saw his free kick cannon off the crossbar and Adam Smith was flagged offside as he prodded home the rebound.
There were chances at both ends during an even start to the second half. A Pagham free kick just cleared the crossbar, while an Oliver Weeks header from a Common corner hit the post before landing in the arms of the home goalkeeper.
Common went behind once again in unfortunate circumstance when a mix-up between Cruttwell and Panashe Makwiramiti following a cross into the box saw the ball land at the feet of Ryan Cox on the goal-line and he made no mistake.
Once again the Commoners remained positive and Crone flashed an effort wide before the hosts were reduced to 10 men when Ryan Davidson was sent-off for his second caution.
Common made the most of their man advantage, equalising almost immediately. A Wes Tate corner was collected by Liam Ward who, with his back to goal, hooked an effort towards goal which looped over the goalkeeper and landed in the far corner of the net.
Pagham almost regained the lead when a header flashed wide of the far post, while Nick Richardson’s fierce drive just missed the target at the other end.
Common were happy to see out the final moments to clinch what could be a valuable point. They remain fourth-from-bottom of the table.
Common: Cruttwell, Makwiramiti (Ryan), Weeks, Ward, Feakins, Eldridge, Smith (Tate), Pool (Richardson), Hole, Crone.