Little Common Football Club narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals of a county knockout competition.
The Commoners were edged out 2-1 away to higher grade Broadbridge Heath in a Peter Bentley Challenge Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night despite taking a second half lead.
Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “It was a bit of a frustrating one really because I think we deserved to have another half-hour, we deserved to get it to extra-time, and if we had gone to extra-time who knows.
“I couldn’t fault the players, I couldn’t have asked for much more from them. It was a good performance, we just didn’t have maybe that little bit of luck at both ends of the pitch.”
A goalless first half was fairly even in terms of chances and if anything Common had the better ones, even if Heath enjoyed most of the ball. Common’s shape and discipline were good, and they restricted Heath to long range efforts and crosses into the box, which they dealt with pretty well. Common also looked good on the break.
The second half was a little bit more open and Common took the lead when Lewis Hole did superbly to play in strike partner Jamie Crone, who shifted the ball to the side of the goalkeepr and slotted home his 24th goal of the season, nine of which have come in the various cups.
Common have conceded fairly quickly after going in front at times this season and Joao Andrade soon equalised with a stretching finish following a good ball in.
Play was fairly even and end to end, but it was Heath who grabbed a slightly fortunate winner. As Common went to clear, the ball ricocheted into the path of Jake Holmes, who made no mistake.
Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell, of all people, came close to an equaliser right at the end. A corner came across the six yard box, but Cruttwell could only get his studs to the ball on the stretch when any meaningful contact would surely have sent the ball into the net.
“I felt for the boys,” added Eldridge. “It was a really valiant effort and on another day we would’ve probably beaten them. We’re not a million miles away when we approach the games in the right way.”
Eldridge was pleased with the performances of new boys James Maynard and George Aston at full-back.
Common: Cruttwell; Maynard, Morris, Sherwood, Aston; Eldridge, Brown (Wells), Estherby (Curteis), Lusted; Crone, Hole.
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