Common boss rues ‘missed opportunity’

Russell Eldridge scored Little Common's second goal in the 4-3 defeat to Crawley Down Gatwick.
Russell Eldridge scored Little Common's second goal in the 4-3 defeat to Crawley Down Gatwick.

Little Common Football Club player-manager Russell Eldridge felt his team had missed an opportunity after last night’s (Tuesday’s) cup defeat.

Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One team Common lost 4-3 away to Premier Division side Crawley Down Gatwick in round two of the Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup.

Eldridge said: “It was disappointing because we should’ve won the game in all honesty. I felt we were the better team. Unfortunately we probably didn’t defend well enough as a whole and weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal. The general play and effort were very good.

“Some people might say it was a cup game against a team from the league above, but we want to win every game whoever it’s against and Tuesday night was no different.

“It was a game we should’ve won. I thought we played really well and some of our little interchanges were very good. To go away from home and score three goals, you would probably expect to come away with a win. I feel like it was a missed opportunity and the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.”

Eldridge felt his team should’ve had a penalty before Crawley Down opened the scoring. Common defender Lewis Parsons was unable to clear a cross from the home right at the far post and Kieran Greig scrambled the ball home.

Crawley Down played quite a high defensive line which allowed Common to get in behind with their pace up-front. Sam Ellis outpaced the home backline and calmly slotted past the goalkeeper to make it 1-1.

Ellis went from scorer to provider of Common’s second goal. Having made his way down Common’s left, Ellis pulled the ball back from the byeline and Eldridge struck a shot from 20 yards across the goalkeeper into the corner of the net.

Common seemed fairly comfortable at 2-1 up, but by half time they were behind. The equaliser came when Johden De Meyer nipped in to score amid a bit of indecision between goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell and defender Zack McEniry, although Eldridge felt Common ought to have been given a free kick for a foul on halfway in the build-up.

Although Common had controlled the majority of the half, Crawley Down went 3-2 up when Greig got ahead of his marker from a cross and guided his finish into the bottom corner.

Common started the second period well and got back on level terms. Wes Tate received a pass from Liam Ward and produced a deft touch to set Hole clear on goal, and Hole duly slotted home.

Greig completed his hat-trick with what proved to be the winner, although Common still had three good chances in the final 10 minutes to have at least forced extra-time.

Common: Cruttwell; Parsons, Fielding, McEniry (Walker), Lusted; Eldridge, Ward (Wells), Saville (Smith); Tate, Ellis, Hole.