Common boss praises ‘fantastic effort’

Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge on the ball against Saltdean United two weeks ago. Picture courtesy Catherine Gurney
Little Common player-manager Russell Eldridge on the ball against Saltdean United two weeks ago. Picture courtesy Catherine Gurney

Little Common Football Club player-manager Russell Eldridge praised ‘a fantastic effort’ from his players after they all but secured a top three finish.

Barring a miraculous chain of events over the next 15 days, Common will finish in one of the three Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One promotion places.

Eldridge said: “It’s not quite over yet so we’re not going to get over-excited yet, but the effort of the boys so far has been fantastic right from the outset really.

“I know it’s a cliche, but we do end up where you merit coming over the season and we’ve merited being towards the top end with the performances and results we’ve had on the whole.

“We’ve never got carried away at any stage of the season - even when we had that period of time at the top - and to do as well as we have done has been a fantastic effort.”

Third-placed Common are three points above fourth-placed Mile Oak, who only have one game left, and their goal difference is 12 goals better.

Common still have two matches remaining - at home to Bexhill United on Easter Monday and away to Midhurst & Easebourne the following Saturday.

Last weekend’s 5-1 win away to Lingfield has also left Common within four goals of a century of league strikes for the season.

“It’s given us a better opportunity than we did have,” continued Eldridge. “But I know Bexhill and Midhurst will be wanting to do something about that in terms of stopping us.

“It’s a target we will be looking to try and achieve. We’ll be looking to win our remaining games and we’ll have a good chance of getting the goals en route.”

Almost a third of Common’s goals have been scored by Lewis Hole, whose hat-trick against Lingfield took him to 30 in the league and 34 in all competitions.

“It’s been an excellent season from Lewis,” Eldridge went on. “You know what you’re going to get from him. If you give him the chances, he’s going to get the goals.

“Lewis has been fantastic for a number of seasons and had a good relationship with Jamie (Crone, scorer of 18 goals this term) and Wes (Tate, scorer of 26 goals since joining Common at the end of September) now as well.

“He’s always the first to congratulate the others within the team for providing him with those opportunities and I think any team in the league - or the league above - would like to have him in their team.”

Last weekend’s win gave Common seven points from their last three games, all of which have been away from home, and took their goal tally against Lingfield this season to 11.

“It was a good performance and a good result,” added Eldridge. “I was happy to come away with the three points and the goals to boot.

“They started quite positively and put us under a bit of pressure, but once the game settled and we scored, there wasn’t a stage where I was really worried about them coming out on top.

“I thought we adapted well to the conditions and situation. I thought we defended pretty well and I don’t think they really put Zack (McEniry, stand-in goalkeeper) under too much pressure.”

Common are without a fixture this weekend.

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