Little Common’s footballers claimed another higher grade scalp last night (Tuesday) to reach the quarter-finals of a county knockout competition.
The Commoners knocked out higher league opposition for the second successive round with a 4-3 extra-time victory at home to 10-man Crowborough Athletic in the Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup.
Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “It was probably a close, even game throughout, full of entertainment and thankfully we were able to get the victory.”
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division team Crowborough started the third round tie very sharply and drew first blood after just five minutes.
But Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One side Common, who had the rare luxury of fielding an unchanged side, came surging back to take a 3-1 lead.
Jared Lusted equalised in the 14th minute with a cross which somehow crept into the net between the goalkeeper and the near post. Jamie Crone took advantage of a defensive slip to put Common ahead five minutes later and Lewis Hole lobbed the goalkeeper as he came out for number three in the 36th minute.
They started very sharply and I thought we were going to be in for a long evening, but we’ve persevered of late and if we’ve gone behind, we’ve stuck togetherRussell Eldridge
Crowborough had some good players, though, and struck twice in three minutes to make it 3-3 at the end of a highly entertaining first half. Eldridge felt that Common should have done better with at least one of the two goals.
A key moment in the game happened around the hour mark when Crowborough’s goalkeeper was sent-off for bringing down Crone in the box. An outfield player took over the gloves, but he saved the resulting penalty from Eldridge, who had scored from the spot in each of Common’s previous two games.
There was no further scoring in normal time so the tie went into extra-time. Remarkably, it was the fourth time Common have played an additional half-hour this season and the third time they’ve come out on top.
They did so thanks to an Eldridge free kick in the 100th minute. Eldridge admitted the free kick was probably struck worse than the penalty, but it squirmed between the goalkeeper’s legs and into the net.
Crone had a chance to wrap the match up, but the goalkeeper guessed correctly to keep Crowborough’s hopes alive. Common made a good job of seeing the game out, though, and their reward is another home tie against Southern Combination League Division One outfit Chichester City.
“They started very sharply and I thought we were going to be in for a long evening, but we’ve persevered of late and if we’ve gone behind, we’ve stuck together,” added Eldridge.
Common: Cruttwell, R. Mote (Holden), S. Mote, Foster, Ammoun, Eldridge, Lusted, Trickett (Brown), Hole, Crone (Denny), Estherby. Sub not used: Wells.
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