Common suffer first defeat in top two tussle

Lewis Parsons came agonisingly close to giving Little Common a first half lead against Wick.
Lewis Parsons came agonisingly close to giving Little Common a first half lead against Wick.

A goal at the end of either half condemned Little Common Football Club to a first league defeat of the season yesterday (Saturday).

The Commoners endured a frustrating afternoon as their 10-match unbeaten run in Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One ended at second-placed Wick.

Common remain top of the table, although now only goal difference as they and Wick have identical records of nine wins, one draw and one defeat from 11 league matches.

Player-manager Russell Eldridge named an unchanged starting XI, with the returning Wes Tate the only addition to the substitutes’ bench.

It was the home side who started the brighter and fashioned the first chance of the match, but a weak header was easily gathered by Matt Cruttwell in the Common goal.

Cruttwell was on hand once again moments later, saving at the second attempt when the Wick forward tried to round him.

Common grew into the game as the half wore on and Lewis Hole’s slight touch to an Eldridge free kick was palmed away for a corner. Hole then sent in a cross for Jamie Crone, but once again the home goalkeeper thwarted his near post flick.

It was from the resulting corner that a huge turning point in the match occurred. Harry Saville’s corner was met by a Lewis Parsons header at the back post which hit the underside of the crossbar and appeared to bounce over the line, but play was waved on despite strong protests from the Common players.

Wick broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time. Cruttwell was unable to reach an under-hit back pass that was intercepted by Josh Irish, who slotted into an empty net.

The Commoners dominated large spells of possession in the second period without creating too many openings. Hole saw an effort beaten away from a tight angle and Liam Ward’s shot cleared the crossbar.

With seven minutes remaining and having reverted to three in defence, Common were caught by a quick break and Eldridge was penalised for a foul on the edge of the area.

Andy Weir dispatched the resulting penalty and despite some late Common pressure, Wick held firm to collect all three points.

Common: Cruttwell, Harley (Smith), Parsons, Ward, Fielding, Eldridge, Saville, Pritchard, Hole, Crone, Ellis (Tate).

Common’s next action is away to Storrington next Saturday as their Peter Bentley Challenge Cup third round tie at home to AFC Uckfield Town on Tuesday night has been postponed.

Uckfield are being investigated over the possibility of fielding an ineligible player during their victory at home to Eastbourne Town in the previous round.