Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Little Common 3 v 1 Bexhill United

Monday 28th March 2016
Southern Combination League Division One
Recreation Ground, Little Common
Admission including Programme: £4.00
Attendance: 163
Match Rating: 3

I had looked forward to an Easter Monday visiting new grounds at Spelthorne Sports and Stained Town today. However Storm Katie brought heavy rain throughout the previous night which cause both of those games to be postponed, and with the very strong winds continuing into the morning, I decided to play it safe and stay local, to take in games at grounds I have visited many times previously, starting off with this local Bexhill derby with an 11am kick off.

Unsurprisingly and sensibly with the strong winds today, the usual temporary matchday sheeting "enclosing" the football pitch was not erected today, and so spectators had a view of the rest of the fairly large recreation ground, as well as being able to watch games down this length which is not usually possible. The programme remained good for the level, with some interesting reading material and all of the necessary stats.

Little Common came into this game higher in the table, in eighth place in the 17 team division, with 11 wins and two draws from their 24 games, whilst Bexhill United were in 11th place, with eight wins and five draws from their 26 games. Little Common were going for a hat-trick of wins against Bexhill United this season, having won 0-2 in the reverse league fixture which saw five players sent off, four of those Bexhill players, and Little Common also won 3-2 at home in the League Cup, a competition in which they have since progressed to the semi-final after being reinstated following defeat in the quarter final thanks to their conquerors fielding an ineligible player.

Little Common played into a very strong wind during the first half, but they still looked the better team for the most part, although chances were at a premium. On 31 minutes, Bexhill’s Dan Cruickshank headed the ball into the net but the goal was ruled out for offside, however ten minutes later, the visitors did take the lead. After the keeper parried a shot and a follow up shot was blocked by a defender, Wesley Peoples finally tucked the ball home from a fairly tight angle. And Bexhill led at half time, to take a slender lead into the second half when it would be their turn to play against the strong wind.

The second half was quite a dull affair for the most part, with it looking like Bexhill would see the game out as Little Common looking unable to threaten. However, they did get back on level terms when Lewis Hole struck the ball home despite the keeper getting his hands behind the ball. On 80 minutes, Bexhill’s player-manager Marc Munday was shown a straight red card for a late tackle followed by a stamp on Dan Estherby. A minute after Bexhill had a shot well smothered by the keeper, Little Common went into the lead, when their player-manager threaded a free kick around the wall and into the net. The home side made sure of the three points when they scored a third a minute into added on time. The ball was played through the middle, their striker ran onto the ball, tapped it wide of the keeper but too wide to get a shot on goal, so he passed into the area and Jamie Crone took a couple of touched before firing home .

So Little Common did indeed claim a hat-trick of wins against their cross town rivals, a win that looked unlikely up to the final quarter of an hour. This was a game that was spoilt by the extreme wind, but at least the game went ahead which had looked most unlikely during the overnight heavy rain – indeed, the pitch held up remarkably well.

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