Common clinch promotion place

Little Common full-back Ricky Mote keeps a close eye on an opponent during the 1-1 draw at home to Oakwood on Tuesday night. Picture by Simon Newstead

Little Common full-back Ricky Mote keeps a close eye on an opponent during the 1-1 draw at home to Oakwood on Tuesday night. Picture by Simon Newstead

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Little Common have clinched the third promotion place in Sussex County Football League Division Two.

Common won 3-1 at home to champions Littlehampton Town this afternoon (Saturday), although as it turned out the result didn’t matter because fourth-placed Eastbourne United AFC suffered a surprise 1-0 loss at home to relegated Rustington.

Things didn’t look good for Common as they fell behind to an early George Gaskin goal from Mitchell Hand’s free kick, but they swiftly levelled when Lewis Hole’s shot was parried by Littlehampton goalkeeper Jon Hendricks and the excellent Steve Morris slammed home the rebound from close range.

Hole was denied by Hendricks for a second time when one-on-one and play broke quickly to the other end where Common stopper Jon Saunders saved Scott Packer’s shot with his foot before Gaskin rolled the follow up against a post.

Common went ahead with a well-worked goal in the 37th minute. Dominic Cruttenden played the ball out to Chris Cumming-Bart on the right and his low cross was swept home first time by Hole, who had got just in front of his marker.

Packer’s header from a Michael Hendricks cross looped onto the top of the crossbar and the latter blazed wide from an inviting position inside the box as Littlehampton had the bulk of the play during the first 10 minutes of the second period.

At that stage it looked as though it could be a long second half for Common, but they were comfortable thereafter with Saunders only having to make one slightly awkward save from a long range effort by Danny Hand.

Adam Smith had a shot brilliantly headed off the line by Littlehampton defender Ross McKay and substitute Jared Lusted was denied by the goalkeeper’s feet. Lusted sealed the win deep into added time with a low angled shot from a Morris lay-off.

Common: Saunders, Cooper, R. Mote, Eldridge, J. Smith, McEniry, Cumming-Bart (Lusted 83), Cruttenden, Hole (Brown 90), Morris, A. Smith. Subs not used: S. Mote, Morris.

Sussex County Football League Division Two top four (all played 34 matches): 1 Littlehampton Town 82pts, 2 Newhaven 70, 3 LITTLE COMMON 68, 4 Eastbourne United AFC 65.