Little Common Football Club reached a Macron Store Southern Combination League first team cup final for the first time in 40 years tonight (Wednesday).
The Commoners were impressive 4-0 winners over Langney Wanderers in the second Division One Challenge Cup semi-final at Eastbourne Town FC.
Two goals apiece from Wes Tate and Jamie Crone, plus another clean sheet, put Common through to a final showdown against Oakwood at a venue and on a date to be announced.
Many would have expected a clash of the division’s leading two clubs and the two highest scoring teams in the entire league to be a tight affair, but it turned out to be surprisingly straightforward for a Common side which was secure in defence and potent in attack.
Langney struggled to deal with the pace of Common’s forward players, Crone in particular, and Common effectively had the tie sewn up by half time, which they reached with a three-goal lead.
The first two goals were both Tate penalties. The opener came in the 16th minute when Crone latched on to Lewis Hole’s flick from Matt Cruttwell’s long kick and was brought down as he rounded Langney goalkeeper Josh Langley-Fineing. Tate’s spot-kick found the net despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it diving to his right.
Eight minutes later it was 2-0. Sam Ellis found space on the Common left and surged into the box before being upended by the sliding Dominic Clarke. Tate this time drilled home the penalty.
Soon afterwards Ellis had an angled drive parried by Langley-Fineing and the ball rebounded just beyond the reach of the waiting Hole.
Common restricted Langney to shots from outside the area which didn’t threaten the target until Cruttwell made a smart save from Paul Weatherby’s angled shot in the 45th minute, with Peter Featherstone unable to force home the loose ball.
The Commoners went straight down the other end to grab an important third goal. Cruttwell’s long kick was flicked on and Crone did superbly to run through, round the goalkeeper and finish high into the net.
Common did a good job of managing their lead in the second half and Langney never looked like getting back into it. Most of the play unsurprisingly took place in Common territory, but Langney fashioned few clearcut chances as Common looked pretty comfortable.
Langney’s two best openings fell to substitute Gary Ingram, who was firstly denied by Cruttwell when the goalkeeper was quick off his line and later shot wide of the near post following a great run and pass by Paul Rogers.
Other than that, Liam Baitup’s shot from outside the area was comfortably gathered by Cruttwell and Wayne Wilkinson sent an overhead kick wide of the near post at a corner.
Common engineered some decent openings of their own on the break in the last 20 minutes. Ellis hit the side-netting when played in by Adam Smith and then had a shot saved having been brilliantly teed up by Crone, while Common also spurned a four-on-two situation.
The fourth goal finally arrived in the 84th minute. Man of the match Crone got goalside of Langney’s defence on the Common right and drove into the area before firing into the roof of the net via the goalkeeper’s fingertips.
Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Parsons, Ward (Carey 81), Maynard, Eldridge, Tate, Smith (Walker 87), Hole, Crone, Ellis (Winter 81). Sub not used: Saville.
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