Little Common make history as they reach first qualifying round of the FA Cup

Wes Tate scored the opener for Little Common
Wes Tate scored the opener for Little Common

Little Common produced a superb giant-killing performance to overcome BetVictor Isthmian league Three Bridges 2-1 on Saturday and advance into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.

The Commoners made two changes to their starting line-up with Wes Tate and Lewis Hole coming in to replace the suspended Ryan Alexander and injured Sam Ellis and made a bright start to the game against their higher-league opponents.

It was Common who carved out the first chance of the game in the fifth minute when a neat lay off from Hole fell nicely into the path of Sam Cruttwell and his first time effort cannoned off the post with the keeper beaten.

Tate was then unable to latch onto a clever a through ball from Jamie Crone and Russell Eldridge saw a free kick hit the Three Bridges wall. At the other end Matt Cruttwell did well to save with his feet following a weaving run into the area before the Commoners were denied a penalty when Tate’s goal bound effort appeared to be blocked by an arm.

The break through, which was fully deserved, did arrive in the 36th minute when Tate rose to glance home an Eldridge free kick beyond the despairing dive of the visiting keeper. Tate almost doubled Common’s lead minutes later but his low driven effort across the goal was saved by the feet of the Bridges keeper. Common once again looked lively at the beginning of the second half and neat one-two between Hole and Tate in the area just eluded the latter and the ball rolled safely into the keeper’s arms.

Cruttwell was called upon to push a cross-cum-shot over the bar before the visitors equalised in the 65thminute when substitute Tom Tolfrey raced onto a ball over the top of the Common defence and lobbed the ball over Cruttwell and into the net.

Bridges were not level for long though as Common regained the advantage straight from the restart when Crone raced onto Cruttwell’s pass and as he bore down on goal was clipped from behind leaving the referee with no alternative but to point to the spot.

Cruttwell calmly slotted home and the Commoners led once again.

The expected onslaught from the visitors never really materialised although they missed a golden opportunity to equalise ten minutes from time, the Common defence appealed for offside as the forward raced through on goal but he slotted his effort the wrong side of the post. Despite a number of corners in the final minutes, Common defended well and held on for a well-deserved and memorable victory.

Squad: M.Cruttwell, Harley, Weeks, Ward, Paul, Eldridge, Tate, S.Cruttwell, Hole, Crone (Ryan), Brister (Weatherby).