Extra-time strike gives Common first Vase win

Lewis Hole scored an extra-time winner to give Little Common a 2-1 victory at home to Erith Town.
Lewis Hole scored an extra-time winner to give Little Common a 2-1 victory at home to Erith Town.

A Lewis Hole goal five minutes from the end of extra-time gave Little Common's footballers victory in their first ever home FA Vase game.

Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One high-flyers Common won 2-1 after extra-time at home to Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division strugglers Erith Town yesterday (Saturday).

Common player-manager Russell Eldridge was able to name an unchanged side from that which had triumphed against Steyning Town in the league four days earlier.

And it was the Commoners who began the first round qualifying game on the front foot, with Hole seeing a first time volley blocked and Jamie Crone flashing an effort wide of the post.

A good passing move saw Common open the scoring in the 13th minute. Hole’s pass to Crone saw the young striker fire a fierce effort across the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.

The Commoners looked the most likely to add to their lead with Hole twice finding space on the right hand side of the area and Crone unable to get a shot away after running across the edge of the box. Jake Sherwood pulled an effort wide following a driving run into the area and Hole saw a header saved comfortably.

The visitors began to get a foothold in the game and enjoyed long spells in Common territory as the half wore on. A free kick on the edge of the box was fired over the crossbar and Common goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell was on hand to deal with numerous deliveries into the box.

The equaliser did finally arrive four minutes before half time when Cruttwell was beaten to the ball by McKenzie-Atumutu, who stroked the ball into the net.

Drizzle began to fall as the players entered the pitch for the second half and the match became a lot more open with play switching from one end to the other.

As the visitors remained slightly on top, twice the ball was blasted over from close range and Cruttwell made two smart low saves to keep the scores level.

At the other end, Crone blazed over from a tight angle and Harry Saville’s driven cross just eluded the Common strikers.

With neither team able to add to the scoreline, the match went into extra-time. Common continued to defend bravely while also looking dangerous on the break. Eldridge saw a free kick clear the crossbar, while Cruttwell made a fine save with his legs to keep the scores level.

With a midweek replay at Erith looming, the Commoners grabbed the winner with five minutes remaining. Hole connected with a Crone cross at the near post and as the ball rolled towards the goal, the assistant referee signalled that it had crossed the line.

Erith threw everything forward in the final minutes and were denied a penalty in added time when the ball appeared to strike the outstretched arm of Sherwood following a corner. The Commoners held firm to see out the final seconds and record their first ever win in the competition.

Common: Cruttwell, Sherwood, Curteis (Cooper), Eldridge, Ammoun, Aston, Denny (Bristow), Foster, Hole, Crone, Saville (Sloat).

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