Five-star Common go 10 points clear

Little Common's man of the match Liam Ward keeps a close eye on the Steyning Town player in possession. Pictures by Stephen Goodger
Little Common's man of the match Liam Ward keeps a close eye on the Steyning Town player in possession. Pictures by Stephen Goodger

Little Common extended their lead at the top of Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One to 10 points after easing to a 5-0 victory at Steyning Town on Saturday.

With a number of games again falling foul of the weather, the Commoners took full advantage of their promotion challengers’ inactivity with a dominant performance on Steyning’s 3G surface.

Players compete for an aerial ball during Little Common's 5-0 win away to Steyning Town.

Players compete for an aerial ball during Little Common's 5-0 win away to Steyning Town.

Paul Feakins and Lewis Parsons were missing from the side which beat Hailsham Town the previous Tuesday, but Common player-manager Russell Eldridge and Ryan Paul returned to the starting line-up.

After a fairly even start to the match, Common took the lead in the 10th minute. Lewis Hole’s throughball found Jamie Crone and despite being checked by a Town defender, he managed to stay on his feet and round the goalkeeper before slotting home.

Hole almost made it two but was unable to make full contact with a header when well placed. Town’s closest effort of the first half came from a free kick on the edge of the area which just whistled past the post.

Common thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Sam Ellis was clattered in the area but the referee waved away their appeals, claiming that he had already got a shot on goal before contact was made.

Little Common full-back Ryan Paul slides in with player-manager Russell Eldridge in close support.

Little Common full-back Ryan Paul slides in with player-manager Russell Eldridge in close support.

The second goal did arrive in the 36th minute. A lovely one-two between Adam Smith and Paul saw the latter drive towards goal before laying the ball off to Hole, who fired a shot across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

The hosts glanced a header wide at the end of the half and the Commoners took a two-goal lead in to the interval.

Crone almost gave Common a perfect start to the second half after being released by Hole but the home goalkeeper did well to parry his effort.

Steyning rarely troubled Matt Cruttwell in the Common goal and the crucial third goal arrived in the 67th minute. Ellis unleashed an effort from just inside the area which beat the home goalkeeper at his near post.

Common kept the ball well while still looking to add to their tally and were rewarded with two late goals.

The first came in the 85th minute following a great run from Louis Walker, who pulled the ball back from the byeline for Hole to apply the finish.

Crone then grabbed his second two minutes later when he raced into the area before beating the goalkeeper with a low drive to seal an emphatic victory.

Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Walker, Ward, Maynard, Eldridge (Bachellier), Tate, Smith (Saville), Hole, Crone, Ellis (Collier).

Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 26-67 (+63 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 24-57 (+42), 3 Lingfield 23-49 (+40), 4 Ringmer 26-45 (+17), 5 Wick 23-44 (+28), 6 Mile Oak 25-44 (+10), 7 BEXHILL UNITED 25-43 (+23), 8 Selsey 23-37 (+9), 9 Steyning Town 24-31 (+10).

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