Little Common Football Club has the chance to clinch a league and cup double during a potentially momentous week.
The Commoners could secure the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One title today (Saturday, kick-off 3pm) ahead of the Division One Challenge Cup final on Wednesday night.
Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “It’s an exciting time, and we all want to be there and be part of it.”
The Commoners will be crowned league champions with a draw or better away to second-placed Langney Wanderers today. A defeat would leave them needing a point from their final game of the season at home to third-bottom Billingshurst next weekend.
Common are three points clear of Langney - who only have one match left - and have a superior goal difference, so it would take a highly improbable sequence of events for them not to finish top of the table.
Having been in superb form over recent weeks and months, both clubs dropped points during the last seven days. Common would have clinched the title had they won at home to Lingfield on Saturday, but a 2-1 defeat meant the champage went on ice.
Langney closed the gap to four points with a 3-1 win at Oakwood on the same afternoon only to then be held to a 3-3 draw away to eighth-placed neighbours Hailsham Town on Tuesday night.
Common have won all three of their matches against Langney so far this season, including a convincing 4-0 victory in the divisional cup semi-final on Wednesday, last week.
“If we can produce a performance close to what we did in the semi-final, we will have a great chance of winning,” continued Eldridge. “But it’s going to be a different game, I know that for sure. They will probably not allow us the opportunities we had that night.
“I guess psychologically it could have an impact either way, for us and also for them. We’ll be looking to try to exploit their weaknesses and they’re maybe thinking ‘they’ve beaten us three times, how are we going to overcome that’?
“But it’s almost a one-off game now and I’m not using that as any kind of reason to suggest that the result will take care of itself because it won’t. The team that applies themselves best on the day will come out on top.”
Common have suffered an injury blow with the news that Jamie Crone has fractured his foot and will be out for the remaining matches. Crone has scored 27 goals this season, including two in the cup semi-final against Langney.
Ryan Paul is suspended for today’s game, but will be back for the final. Common will monitor the fitness of Sam Ellis, who has a hamstring injury.
Southern Combination League Division One top half (played-points): 1 LITTLE COMMON 32-82 (+73 goal difference), 2 Langney Wanderers 33-79 (+65), 3 Lingfield 32-73 (+59), 4 Ringmer 33-61 (+30), 5 Wick 32-57 (+30), 6 Mile Oak 33-56 (+15), 7 BEXHILL UNITED 33-55 (+21), 8 Hailsham Town 32-46 (-1), 9 Selsey 32-45 (+2).
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