After three consecutive 2-0 victories, Little Common Football Club lost by the same score against higher grade opposition tonight (Tuesday).
The Macron Store Southern Combination League Division One leaders were beaten by top five Premier Division outfit Eastbourne Town in round three of the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup.
Town forward Evan Archibald netted early and late in the match to put his team through to a quarter-final at Horsham YMCA next Tuesday.
On a cold but calm night at The Oval, Common were missing key trio Matt Cruttwell (injury), Ryan Paul (cup-tied) and Wes Tate (away) so James Maynard and Sam Ellis came into the starting XI, and Elliott Stokes made his debut in goal.
Common were second best by some way during the first half. Town dominated possession and played some good football, and when Common did get the ball, they seldom kept it for long as they were closed down quickly and made mistakes.
Archibald’s header from a Simon Johnson corner was well held by Stokes and a looping effort by Sam Willett dropped just over Common’s crossbar before Town took a 12th minute lead. A good cross from the left by Jason Taylor was neatly glanced home at the near post by Archibald.
Although Common didn’t threaten the Town goal, they did at least protect their own fairly well for the rest of the opening period. Stokes made one save from Archibald and Taylor couldn’t quite force the ball home when he tried to intercept a Lewis Parsons header back to Stokes.
Common were much-improved during a far more even second half. They spent far more time in Town territory than they had before the break and saw a lot more of the ball, passing it around fairly well at times too.
Jamie Crone missed his kick on the volley following a good ball from the busy Adam Smith, who then saw a shot from outside the box comfortably saved. At the other end, Archibald was denied by Stokes at the near post.
Goalscoring opportunities were far more plentiful during the final quarter and although Crone had a shot saved following a good pass by Smith, the vast majority of them fell to Town.
Sam Willett’s first time effort from a Chris Cumming-Bart corner deflected against the near post and seconds later a decent strike from distance by former Common midfielder Cumming-Bart was held by Stokes at the second attempt.
Stokes pulled off an amazing save when Archibald seemed certain to score from Zach Kieran’s low cross before a tremendous shot by Willett from the edge of the box crashed against the underside of the crossbar.
Town wrapped up their win with a second goal in the 88th minute. Stokes’s attempted clearing kick following a Maynard back pass which lacked a bit of pace hit Archibald and rebounded against the crossbar before Archibald tapped in the rebound.
Common’s best chance of the match came in added time when Charlie Bachellier flashed a header whiskers wide of the near post from an Ellis corner. At the other end, Johnson’s angled drive was held low down by Stokes.
Common: Stokes, Parsons, Walker (Richardson 81), Ward (Bachellier 71), Maynard, Eldridge, Smith, Winter, Hole, Crone, Ellis.
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