Common boss not thinking about possible double

Adam Smith in the thick of the action during Little Common's divisional cup victory over Selsey last weekend. Pictures by Simon Newstead

Little Common Football Club player-manager Russell Eldridge isn’t contemplating the growing possibility of a league and cup double.

The Commoners are seven points clear at the top of Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One and last weekend reached the semi-finals of the Division One Challenge Cup.

Sam Ellis on the ball against Selsey.

Eldridge said: “We definitely won’t be looking that far ahead. There’s plenty of games before we even get to that. We don’t want to look and think too far ahead because that’s when you could end up with nothing.

“We’re really focused on every game that we play and if we continue to apply ourselves well, we’re edging closer to a good season. We’ve done nothing yet; there’s still plenty to play for in the short amount of time left. We’re certainly not going to get carried away.”

Common could guarantee themselves one of the three promotion spots in the league if they win away to Seaford Town tomorrow (Saturday) and fifth-placed Wick drop points at home to Billingshurst.

The Commoners have amassed exactly twice as many points as 10th-placed Seaford and overturned a half time deficit to beat them 4-1 in September’s reverse fixture.

“It’s a weird place to go,” continued Eldridge. “It feels like a ginormous pitch when you’re playing on it and quite a square pitch as well.

“We’ve got seven games to go, and the way we’re playing and picking up results, the focus will be to try and get three points.

“But we’re not stupid enough to think teams are going to turn up and say you can have the game without doing the dirty work first. I’m sure Saturday will be no different - we’re going to have to earn the right to play and for our quality to shine through.”

Common are the second highest scorers in the entire Southern Combination League with 91 league goals and possess the division’s meanest defence having conceded just 26 league goals.

“Three clean sheets in the last four games have been excellent from the boys at the back,” Eldridge said. “I guess the credit has gone to the forward-thinking players and rightly so because of the goals we’ve scored and the quality we have in the final third, but it’s nice to keep those clean sheets as well and it sets the platform for us to win games.”

Eldridge was pleased to get the job done in last weekend’s divisional cup quarter-final at home to Selsey, which Common won 2-0 after extra-time thanks to a Lewis Hole double.

“I think the best thing that could be said was that we made it into the semi-finals of the cup,” he added. “I think there’s going to be games between now and the end of the season that are going to be very similar - it’s about getting the job done and credit to the boys for making it through.

“I don’t think we were ever in any danger of losing; it was just a matter of could we win the game. In the 90 minutes we didn’t really do enough to break them down.”

Common will face title rivals Langney Wanderers in the last four at Eastbourne Town FC on Tuesday March 13 and their long-awaited Peter Bentley Challenge Cup third round tie at home to Eastbourne Town has been scheduled for Tuesday March 20.

Sam Ellis will miss tomorrow’s game with a calf injury, but James Maynard will return, and Common hope to have Harry Saville and Sam Winter back following illness.

Little Common’s remaining league fixtures: March 3 Seaford Town (a), March 10 Wick (h), March 24 Oakwood (a), March 31 Billingshurst (h), April 2 Bexhill United (a), April 14 Lingfield (h), April 21 Langney Wanderers (a).

Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 27-70 (+65 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 26-63 (+56), 3 Lingfield 26-58 (+46), 4 Ringmer 27-48 (+18), 5 Wick 25-47 (+30), 6 BEXHILL UNITED 27-46 (+23), 6 7 Mile Oak 27-44 (+7), 8 Selsey 25-40 (+9), 9 Hailsham Town 25-38 (+1).

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