Little Common’s footballers edged out crosstown rivals Bexhill United 3-2 in an entertaining cup derby tonight (Wednesday).
Two goals in little over a minute early in the second half were key to victory for a Common side which also missed a penalty late on in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup second round tie.
There was drama even before the game kicked-off as smoke was coming out of one of the floodlight pylons at Little Common Recreation Ground. Amid uncertainty over whether or not the match would be completed, it began with just the floodlights on the southern side of the ground in operation.
A couple of volunteers in the crowd worked on the problem floodlight as the first half progressed and did at least manage to put the smoke out. Although that pylon remained out of action, the other two on the northern side of the pitch were switched on as darkness approached and the match was played to its conclusion.
On the field, Jamie Crone put Common ahead in the opening quarter-of-an-hour when he went through and slotted past Bexhill goalkeeper Yankuba Camara. Bexhill equalised midway through the first half when Sam Cooper headed home a right wing free kick from Chris Cumming-Bart.
Bexhill then enjoyed a decent spell during which Kevin Barden headed wide and had a low shot saved by Matt Cruttwell, who also did well to deal with Jack Woodward’s deflected effort from distance.
Crone and Lewis Hole might have done better with opportunities as Common came back towards the end of the half before the hosts took command with two goals in the first eight minutes of the second period.
Common retook the lead in bizarre fashion. The unpredictable Camara rather flapped at a deflected Kyle Holden shot which looped up in the air - instead of catching it - and only succeeded in palming the ball into the net.
Barely a minute later, the in-form Crone did well to work space inside the box to unleash a thumping right-foot drive which flashed past Camara high at his near post - his eighth goal in his last four senior appearances.
Camara denied Crone his hat-trick at the end of a brilliant slaloming run soon afterwards and Bexhill got one back with probably the goal of the game in the 65th minute. A good move from the visitors ended with Woodward playing a lovely ball over the top for Cumming-Bart to expertly lift his finish over Cruttwell on the volley.
Bexhill had a glorious chance to level things up 10 minutes later, but Common full-back Jared Lusted made two superb goal-line blocks to thwart Tommy Buckley after the substitute had rounded Cruttwell.
Common missed their own gilt-edged opportunity to put the tie to bed in the 83rd minute as their dreadful record at converting penalties continued. The referee deemed that Hole was bundled over in the box and awarded a spot-kick, which Zack McEniry put wide.
Camara saved well with his legs from Crone, who had been put through by Hole, while at the other end, Woodward’s low shot was well held by Cruttwell as Common got over the line to continue the remarkable run of home wins in recent meetings between the two clubs.
Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood, Lusted, Ammoun, McEniry, Eldridge, Denny (Feakins 79), Holden (Foster 76), Hole, Crone, Estherby. Subs not used: Smith, Brown, Haward.
Bexhill: Camara, A. Cooper, N. Tudor, Elliott-Noye, Munday, J. Aston, A. Tudor (Buckley 60), Woodward, Barden (Phipps 79), Cumming-Bart, S. Cooper.
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