Common and Bexhill set for festive derby

Action from the corresponding fixture between Little Common and Bexhill United last season. Picture by Simon Newstead
Action from the corresponding fixture between Little Common and Bexhill United last season. Picture by Simon Newstead

Bexhill’s two senior football clubs will go head-to-head in the now traditional Boxing Day derby tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

But whereas in recent years Bexhill United have hosted Little Common at The Polegrove, the 2017 encounter will take place at The Oval in Eastbourne - Common’s home ground this season. Kick-off is 11am.

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “It will be different, but it’s a game of football and there’s three points up for grabs - nothing more, nothing less.

“People view that game differently in different quarters. The way I’ve always been is it’s a game of football and we’ll be trying to get three points, likewise they will.

“They’ve got some good players, but whoever we play the focus has to be on ourselves and making sure we do things in the right manner.”

Common are eight points clear at the top of Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One having won 17 of their 20 league matches this season, including all of their last five. Bexhill are in fifth place - 18 points behind Common.

Common boast the most wins of anyone in the division, fewest defeats, most goals scored, fewest conceded and best goal difference.

They’ve also won all nine of their home league games this season and all of their last six meetings with Bexhill in all competitions dating back to December 2014.

The 3-1 reverse at Mile Oak in their last outing on December 16 was only Bexhill’s second away league defeat of the season and ended a run of one loss in their previous nine matches anywhere.

Bexhill manager Ryan Light said: “We’re going in as underdogs. Although there’s a fierce rivalry between the clubs, we’ve got the utmost respect for what they’ve done so far this season - their consistency has to be applauded.

“We’re definitely going to have to be on the ball from open play. You’ve only got to look at their goals for column to know they can score at any time.

“We won’t be going overly defensive because we’ve got some wonderful attacking players. We’ll be going there to attack, just like they will.

“I think Bexhill is quite spoilt at the moment with the quality of player that us and Little Common have attracted to the clubs.

“It’s two really good sets of players, and both teams will be going full throttle to get the win and so-called bragging rights. It would certainly be a spectacle worth coming out to watch.”

Common should be around full strength, but Bexhill expect to be missing at least four regular starters. Chris Rea and Kyle Holden are suspended, Craig Ottley is away and Lewis McGuigan is likely to be working.

Light added: “The only disappointing aspect is for the older generation of Bexhill who like to get out on Boxing Day and watch a traditional fixture, it’s been taken away from them with the fixture being over in Eastbourne.”

Bexhill were without a fixture on Saturday, while Common hammered St Francis Rangers 6-0 away from home to take their league goal tally for the season to 70 already.