Little Common edged out neighbours Westfield in a Macron Store Sussex County Football League knockout competition last night (Tuesday).
Common triumphed 2-1 against fellow Division Two opposition in an entertaining Peter Bentley Challenge Cup second round tie featuring plenty of chances at both ends.
Westfield certainly made the better start to the match and almost led inside 90 seconds, but Common’s former Westfield goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell made a fine save low to his right from a clean through David Pugh.
Common had a glorious chance to draw first blood in the 12th minute. Westfield manager Jethro Warren was booked for upending Jared Lusted inside the box following a good ball from Sam Brown, yet Common player-manager Russell Eldridge hit the outside of the post with the resulting penalty. It was the second spot-kick Common have missed against Westfield already this season.
Richard Saunders lobbed over with just Cruttwell to beat at the other end moments later before Conner Burton pulled an angled drive wide of the far post and Brown lobbed over for Common, both from fairly inviting positions.
Pugh rattled Common’s crossbar with a thunderous 25-yard free kick which rebounded all the way to the edge of the box and play quickly broke to the other end where Westfield stopper Carl Morris made a splendid reflex save from Martin Denny’s drive.
Morris produced a good stop at his near post from Lusted in added time at the end of the first half and repeated the feat just 16 seconds into the second period.
Westfield then had two great chances before the hour mark. Saunders firstly ballooned a sitter over the crossbar after Cruttwell had saved from Matt Dadswell and Cruttwell then made a terrific stop with his foot to deny Dadswell after he had been put through by Saunders.
It really was a wonder how the game was still goalless, but the deadlock was finally broken in the 66th minute. Lusted made a good run down the home left and played in Lewis Hole, who buried a low finish into the far bottom corner to give Common the lead.
Common doubled their advantage with another well-worked goal seven minutes later. This time Eldridge slipped the ball through for Hole to score his second with a low shot which Morris got his hands to but couldn’t keep out.
Morris parried a drive from cousin Steve Morris as Common now seemed in control, but Westfield never gave up and pulled one back in the first minute of added time. Terry Payne’s crisp drive was parried by Cruttwell and Sam Willett squared for Dadswell to tap home.
Westfield almost took the tie into extra-time with virtually the last kick of the game, yet Payne’s ball across goal was just too far in front of Dadswell. Common’s reward is another home tie against Division One side Hailsham Town in the last 16.
Common: Cruttwell, Bachellier, Mote, Eldridge, McEniry, Sherwood, Lusted, Brown, Hole (Ham 80), Denny (Smith 82), Burton (Morris 59). Subs not used: Feakins.
Westfield: Morris, Williams, Bell, Thomson (Archer 41), Warren, Brand, Dadswell, Willett, Saunders (Hales 74), Pugh, Martellini (Payne 60). Subs not used: Doswell, Booth.