Little Common Football Club celebrated its first league win for nearly two-and-a-half months on Saturday.
Goals from Lewis Hole (2), Wes Tate and Ryan Paul gave the Commoners a 4-2 victory at home to Hassocks in an eventful Southern Combination League Premier Division encounter.
Common were four-up and seemingly cruising after 55 minutes, but Hassocks came right back at them during a closing half-an-hour in which Common had Hole sent-off for violent conduct.
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The home side got off to a super start on a glorious afternoon at The Oval, scoring twice in the first 17 minutes. Common drew first blood in the sixth minute when Hole drilled a terrific shot into the bottom corner from just outside the area.
After Tate drove just over from 30 yards, Common doubled their lead with a splendid team goal. A move started by Paul and continued by Tate ended with Jordan Astell delivering a low cross from the right to Hole, who controlled well with his first touch before finishing high into the net.
Hassocks goalkeeper Josh Green beat the ball out at his near post after Hole got the slightest of flicks to a low free kick from the right by Russell Eldridge, while at the other end, Paul made a superb block to deny Phil Johnson as he bore down on the home goal.
Spencer Slaughter’s header from a corner was well held by Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell diving to his right as Hassocks enjoyed a strong spell.
Common went 3-0 ahead, however, in the 36th minute. A long free kick was flicked on to Tate, who took a touch to steady himself before looping a delightful finish into the corner of the net from 15 yards.
The Commoners looked to have put the game firmly to bed with a fourth goal in the 55th minute, Paul coming up from the back to power home a header from Tate’s right wing corner.
But there was plenty more incident left yet. Hassocks got one back in the 66th minute when Jake Lindsey clipped a pinpoint finish into the near top corner from just outside the area, despite Cruttwell getting his fingertips to the ball.
Common came under considerable pressure thereafter. Paul Feakins made a vital goal-saving tackle on Johnson near the line following a driven ball across the face of goal by Dan Stokes, who then saw a looping header tipped over by the back-peddling Cruttwell.
The usually mild-mannered Hole was shown a straight red card in the 81st minute after uncharacteristically pushing his head into that of Hassocks defender Dan Jacques, who had reacted angrily to being fouled by Adam Smith. Jacques and Smith were booked.
Common didn’t seem under quite as much pressure with 10 men as they had with 11, although Lindsey volleyed straight into the arms of Cruttwell after getting on the end of a long ball over the home defence.
Hassocks grabbed a second goal in the 90th minute. Lindsey’s corner from the right ended up dropping to Harvey Blake, who drove a low shot into the net from close range.
Common: Cruttwell, Feakins, Ryan, Ward, Paul, Eldridge, Tate, Pool (Francis 85), Hole, Astell (Smith 68), Ellis (Harris HT). Sub not used: Collier.