Russell Eldridge was ‘extremely proud’ of his Little Common footballers after their valiant cup semi-final defeat on Tuesday night.
The Commoners were edged out 1-0 by higher grade Lancing in an entertaining Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Peter Bentley Challenge Cup last four tie.
“I was extremely proud of the boys and the performance they turned in,” said Common player-manager Eldridge, who singled out the ‘excellent’ Liam Foster for special mention.
“The attitude was spot on from everyone and it was a really good effort. I think they (Lancing) thought they were going to have an easier game than they had. I thought we had a good gameplan and we were resilient.
“We started a bit nervously, but we grew into the game and created a few chances. Although they had shots on goal, I thought Matt (Cruttwell, Common’s goalkeeper) was quite comfortable in terms of the saves he had to make.
“I think their ‘keeper probably made the best save in the first half from Dan (Estherby) and on another day Lewis’s (Hole) shot that hit the post goes in. You could argue maybe we had the better opportunities at times.”
Common have won eight cup matches this season - three of them against higher level clubs - and have reached the quarter-finals or better in three separate competitions.
“People have said to me that we could hold our own in the league above and I believe that,” continued Eldridge, who had no complaints about the decision to award the penalty which yielded Lancing’s winning goal.
“Recent results don’t suggest that, but we’ve beaten some teams in the league above and lost to others by the odd goal.”
Having played nine matches in 25 breathless days, Common will at least finish their season with three Division One fixtures in consecutive Saturdays, starting away to Mile Oak tomorrow.
“We will be doing our very best to pick up as many points as possible from the last three games,” added Eldridge, whose team lies in eighth position.
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