Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Little Common 2 v 1 Westfield

Tuesday 9th September 2014
Peter Bentley (Sussex League) Cup Second Round
Recreation Ground, Little Common
Admission including programme: £4.00
Attendance: 87
Match Rating: 4

For this evening's fare, I decided to take in what had the makings of an enjoyable and competitive game - a 1066 country derby, between two seemingly evenly matched teams in a cup game.

The Little Common Recreation Ground has not seen any ground improvements since last season, and so still green translucent sheeting has to be installed around half of the ground, which will continue to prevent the club from being able to be promoted even if the team earns the right on the pitch. It still remains a very pleasant place to watch football though, with the usual friendly and hospitable atmosphere here, as well as a fairly scenic background. The programme has had a facelift since last season, looking much more professional and its 24 pages, with plenty of colour used, covers all the basics sufficiently.

This evening's derby would be between two teams in the Sussex League Division Two. After finished fourth last season and third the season before, Little Common have made a disappointing start to this season, winning one and drawing one of their four league games so far. They did beat near neighbours Bexhill United 4-3 at home in the first round of this competition, and this evening's teams met in the league here a fortnight ago, with the match ending 1-1. Westfield have had a slightly better start, winning one and drawing two of their four league games. They received a bye in the first round of this competition, but they did have a fabulous result in another cup competition on Saturday, winning at Division One outfit Eastbourne United in the RUR Cup.

On a sunny evening, which became moonlit in the second half, it was the visitors who had the first big chance of the game on two minutes. A header over the defence beat the offside trap allowing David Pugh to run through on goal, but keeper Matt Crutwell tipped the eventual low shot wide. On 12 minutes, Little Common had a great chance to take the lead, when they were awarded a penalty, following player-manager Jethro Warren's foul tackle of Jared Lusted in the box. Little Common's player-manager Russell Eldridge, normally so accurate from dead-ball situations, saw his low shot shave the outside of the left hand post and go wide. From the resultant goal kick, Westfield had a great chance themselves to score, with the goal kick headed on into the path of Richard Saunders, but his shot went over the bar. Both teams traded good goalscoring chances, the highlight of which was a free kick which Pugh drove powerfully onto the crossbar. Indeed, Westfield could probably feel slightly aggrieved not to have taken a lead into the half-time interval, as they were the better team throughout the first half.

The game continued in a similar vein in the second half, with plenty of chances created and either wasted or forcing good saves, but it wasn't until the 66th minute when the deadlock was broken. Lusted played a low ball through to Lewis Hole, and from left of goal, hit a low shot into the opposite corner. The Westfield keeper Carl Morris had been in outstanding form, pulling off some terrific saves to keep his side in the game, but he might have been disappointed he couldn't get anything behind the shot. He certainly was extremely disappointed he failed to prevent Little Common's second goal on 73 minutes, Eldridge placed a beautiful low pass through the defence to Hole, who took a touch before firing home, going through Morris' hands and legs. That seemed to deflate Westfield for a while, but as the game entered added on time, they gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Matt Dadswell tapped in a cross from close range after a shot was parried by the keeper. Westfield almost forced extra time when Terry Payne played the ball low across goal at pace, which just evaded a couple of players in the box. But it was indeed Little Common who progress to the next round, their reward being yet another home time, this time again
Division One outfit Hailsham Town.

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