Rivals ready for cup derby

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Little Common and Bexhill United will go head-to-head in an early season local derby tomorrow (Saturday).

The crosstown rivals will lock horns at the Recreation Ground in a Macron Store Sussex County Football League Peter Bentley Memorial Challenge Cup first round tie. Kick-off is 3pm.

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “It’s just another game really. It’s a cup so I want to get through to the next round because we want to have a good run in one of the cups this year.”

Games involving Common and Bexhill are always eagerly anticipated, and this one carries an extra element of intrigue because a new-look Bexhill team will be playing its first competitive match under manager Marc Munday.

He said: “It’s felt like a long time coming. I can’t wait at the minute and I know all the lads are exactly the same. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll treat it no differently to any other game.”

Common began their Division Two campaign last weekend, while Bexhill were without a fixture as they were the odd one out of the division’s 15 teams.

“They didn’t play last week and whether that will have a positive effect I don’t know,” continued Eldridge. “With it being a local derby I wouldn’t have thought it would make too much difference.

“I’m expecting a tight game, probably quite a frantic game in the early stages I would’ve thought. Hopefully we’ll take a little bit of control of the tempo and play the way we know we can.”

Munday said: “The derby games I’ve been involved in have always been entertaining and there’s usually goals. All the lads involved are lads from around this area so it’s bragging rights.

“Any football match that I’m involved in I will always want to win. My passion is winning and I don’t really get much enjoyment from not winning games of football.”

With Steve Johnson now having signed, Bexhill should be around full strength and will probably field a similar side to that which beat Crowborough Athletic in a recent friendly.

Common will be boosted by the return of Jack Woodward, Paul Feakins, Wayne Giles and, in particular, last season’s Division Two golden boot winner Lewis Hole, but Sam Brown and Jared Lusted are away, and Jake Sherwood is still awaiting international clearance.

They will be eager to produce a much better display than in their league opener last weekend when they lost 3-0 away to Worthing United.

Eldridge added: “I wasn’t happy with the way we performed. I thought we were a little bit lethargic and lacked a little bit of sharpness. I would expect a response from those people in the squad this week.

“We had some good opportunities at key times where we could’ve taken the lead or got back in the game. If we went in 1-0 up, it might’ve been a different game. Ultimately it’s only one game and there’s 27 others to go.”