Russell Eldridge praised his Little Common players for the support they’ve shown him at such a difficult time.
Common player-manager Eldridge admitted the team-talk prior to Tuesday night’s game away to Chichester City was the toughest he’d ever given.
The Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup quarter-final was Common’s first match since the passing of club chairman and Eldridge’s grandad Ken Cherry last Thursday. It ended in a 5-1 defeat.
Eldridge said: “It was a difficult game anyway and the circumstances as well made it even more difficult. It was the hardest team-talk I’ve ever given; there was nothing I could really say.
“The result was not important to a degree. All the boys that played were absolutely fantastic in terms of their effort and attitude, and they were really supportive to me and (his brother) Chris as well. I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Common made the long trip west with an inexperienced side due to a few unavailabilities and a couple of suspensions.
It was the hardest team-talk I’ve ever given; there was nothing I could really say.Russell Eldridge
Away goalkeeper Joe Turner made a couple of good saves early on before higher grade Chichester - who are unbeaten in their last 11 matches in all competitions stretching back to mid-October - opened the scoring through Jimmy Wild.
Graham Bush got on the scoresheet to give Chichester a 2-0 lead at half time, although Eldridge felt it could’ve been about 5-4. Lewis Hole had a couple of opportunities for Common, and Jamie Crone and Rosh Wells also had sights of goal.
Common began the second period quite brightly and pulled one back when the fit-again Crone applied a good finish to a great ball from Jake Sherwood for his 21st goal of the season. It was also the first goal Chichester had conceded in five matches.
The away side hit the crossbar and even after Keiran Hartley scored Chichester’s third goal, Common saw a shot flash just wide.
A combination of the heavy pitch and a lack of experience in the Common ranks - they had several teenagers on the pitch - probably told as Chichester added a couple more goals towards the end. Alex Pearce and Matt Boulton were the scorers.
Chichester’s reward is a semi-final meeting with fellow Macron Store Southern Combination League Premier Division side Lancing.
Common: Turner, Lusted (Robb), S. Mote, Morris, Curteis, Wells, Sherwood, Brown, Spice, Crone (Hammond), Hole. Sub not used: C. Eldridge.
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