Another late goal denied Social a win on a grey Saturday afternoon at Bexhill College.
The game started with some attractive football being played by both teams but neither could find the final pass to really hurt the opposing back lines. That all changed after 16 minutes when captain Mark Larkin played a delightful 50 yard cross field pass from the right hand side which completely dissected the Common defence and landed on the grateful right foot of fellow striker Kieran Martin who finished smartly first time under the despairing keeper. 1-0.
Social were playing a defensive back five and this was keeping the Common attack at bay whilst offering counter attacking opportunities for the Social attack. However the deep Social back line made it hard to connect the midfield and attack and Common began to grow into the game. After 28 minutes Common’s mercurial winger Atillio Field cut inside from the right evading multiple challenges before firing inside the near post from the edge of the box to level the tie.
Social were finding it hard to get control of the football and another precise through ball sent Common forward Nick Kavanagh away to finish smartly across stand in keeper Lewis Baker and into the far post.
At half time Reece Mitchell replaced Adam McDougall (who had been subbed on for the injured Martin after half an hour) and Social reverted to an old fashioned 4-4-2 formation. The change seemed to pay instant dividends with Social not allowing Common any time or space on the ball. Sonny Kewley and brother Billy defended strongly down Social’s right and player manager Leon Mende and the versatile Kieren Bond were covering the left hand side of Socials defence with increasing assuredness.
With just ten minutes of the second half gone some great work in midfield from Ash McCann allowed him the space to fire a pinpoint 60 yard cross field pass to the newly introduced Mitchell and he nicked in between defender and keeper to toe poke home the equaliser.
The game became really open now and both teams had chances to take the lead. But midway through the half substitute Carlton Phillips pressed high to win the ball back around 30 yards from goal, the ball broke to the enigmatic McCann and he nonchalantly chipped a delightful effort over the Common keeper to send Social into the lead. 3-2.
Social defended resolutely from front to back and were highly unfortunate not to increase their lead with just ten minutes remaining. Common were given offside around 15 yards inside the Social half and from the resulting free kick Billy Kewley sent a long ball forward which bounced awkwardly over the Common keepers dive and landed into the net to spark wild celebrations from the Social faithful. However the referee soon put an end to the absolute scenes when he raised his hand to signify it was in fact an indirect free kick and that the goal shouldn’t stand, but the Social players were adamant the keeper had touched the shot as it bounced over him and subsequently believed the goal should’ve stood. In the resulting melee the already subbed off Callum Shaw received a second yellow card for dissent and was sent off off.
Then with Social seeming in control of the game a misplaced Mende pass in the midfield allowed Common winger Field to send Kavanagh away and he finished beautifully again to level the scores.
The drama wasn’t completely over though as Social very nearly snatched it at the death when Mitchell twisted and turned in the box and cut the ball back towards an onrushing Liam Baker but his deflected effort spun agonisingly wide.
All in all a good performance by Social who can feel aggrieved that their performances in the last two games haven’t yielded more points but it’s an unbeaten start and they have more tough games to come. Next week it’s a trip to the Bully to face a top of division 3 AFC Hollington outfit. #socialarmy