Lead slips away in high scoring Common draw

Harry Saville put Little Common 2-1 ahead against Southwick.
Harry Saville put Little Common 2-1 ahead against Southwick.

Little Common’s footballers allowed a 3-1 lead to slip away as they were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Southwick on Tuesday night.

The Commoners had to settle for a second successive Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One draw after conceding twice in the final 20 minutes.

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “Without playing particularly well we got ourselves into a good position at 3-1 up and to concede two goals to let them back to 3-3 was disappointing.

“I just thought we were a bit naive with our decision making and we should’ve done better to see the game out.”

Dan Cruikshank returned to Common’s defence in place of the injured Dave Ammoun, while Dom Bristow and Adam Smith were promoted to the starting line-up in midfield and up-front.

Common opened the scoring in only the fifth minute. Lewis Hole finished well for his 10th goal of the season following a long ball from Eldridge.

Cam Burgon scored Little Common's third goal in the 3-3 draw.

Cam Burgon scored Little Common's third goal in the 3-3 draw.

The hosts were fairly comfortable on the whole until a lack of communication meant they conceded a rather sloppy 33rd minute equaliser. Southwick were only on terms for three minutes, though, because Harry Saville put Common back in front with a good finish.

Common didn’t start the second half very well, however, and needed a couple of goal-line clearances to preserve their narrow advantage.

Having ridden their luck a touch, Common stretched their lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute. After a good strike from Hole was saved by the Southwick goalkeeper, Cam Burgon did well to hold off the defender and slot the ball home.

A two-goal cushion at that stage ought to have been sufficient for Common to seal their fifth league win of the campaign, but Southwick pulled one back following a long throw in the 73rd minute.

That set up a nervy finish and Southwick earned a share of the spoils courtesy of an 89th minute penalty, the award of which Eldridge had no complaints about.

“It was frustrating,” added Eldridge. “We weren’t good enough at times in possession.

“You could see the frustration and upset on people’s faces at the end of the game, and that’s what I want - it shows that it means something.

“It’s been a frustrating week in all honesty. Saturday (when Common lost 2-0 at home to Wick in the FA Vase) was definitely a missed opportunity as well.”

One piece of good news has been the return of Smith after an injury nightmare dating back to a broken leg sustained at Easter 2014.

“It’s good to have him back and he wants to play every minute, but we recognise with him we’ve got to be a bit careful," added Eldridge. "What we don’t want is injuries to reoccur.”

Common: Cruttwell; Sherwood, Aston, Cruikshank, Cooper; Bristow, Eldridge, Burgon, Saville; Smith, Hole.

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