Managers offer differing views of festive derby

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge blocks the path of Bexhill United wide player Georges Gouet. Pictures by Simon Newstead
Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge blocks the path of Bexhill United wide player Georges Gouet. Pictures by Simon Newstead

The managers of Little Common and Bexhill United offered contrasting views of the Boxing Day derby between the two football clubs.

Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One leaders Common triumphed 2-0 against their neighbours thanks to a pair of goals in the final quarter of the match.

Little Common full-back Ryan Paul clears a Bexhill United free kick.

Little Common full-back Ryan Paul clears a Bexhill United free kick.

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge, who scored the opening goal, felt his team deserved its win, while Bexhill manager Ryan Light felt hard done by to come away empty-handed.

Eldridge said: “I thought we deserved the victory. They made it difficult for us in the first half, as we expected it to be, but ultimately the longer the game went on, the more space became available and I think our quality came through.

“All in all I was very pleased with the result. Yes the performance could’ve maybe been better, but you can’t really grumble with a 2-0 victory.

“I guess we found a way to win. Sometimes you have to be patient - it’s not always going to happen straight away - and that’s what we were. We were able to grind out a result and in the end it probably could’ve been more.

Bexhill United midfielder Nathan Lopez plays a pass with Little Common's man of the match Sam Winter in close attendance.

Bexhill United midfielder Nathan Lopez plays a pass with Little Common's man of the match Sam Winter in close attendance.

“At half time we spoke about a couple of things tactically we needed to address. It was an okay performance (in the first half), but not quite to the level we needed to be. We needed to improve all-round a bit. Fair play to the boys; they took on board the information we gave them.

“You have to take your chances in football. There’s no point creating chances if you’re not going to score them. Having scored 72 league goals, I guess you could say we’re pretty good in front of goal.”

Light said: “For the majority of the first 70 minutes I thought we were head and shoulders above Little Common in every department.

“I thought for 70 minutes we were the better side, especially in the first half. I think that’s backed up by what saves the (Common) goalkeeper had to make.

“I thought we were desperately unlucky to not be in front at half time and against a team that’s scored so many goals, we were really comfortable in the first half.

“You’ve got to score when you have good spells and we didn’t. Looking back it was almost first goal wins. If we had got the first goal, I think they would’ve struggled to break us down.

“When they scored their first goal, which was desperately unlucky on our part to get such a wicked deflection, it was such a sucker punch having played so well and the manner of the deflection.

“That was the pivotal moment. We stuck to our gameplan so well for 70 minutes, but after that the game really opened up and it really suited Little Common because they’re quick on the break.

“I think we’ve played against much better footballing sides, but they just seem to have a knack of grinding a result out. If one of the good chances we had in the first half goes in, I think it’s a different game.

“I’m obviously disappointed with the final result, but in terms of our overall performance, I was really proud of the players. I thought we really equipped ourselves well.

“I know it was a similar scoreline to last year’s (Bexhill were beaten 2-1 and 2-0 by Common during the 2016/17 campaign), but I thought the gap between the two sides had really closed.”