Little Common Football Club goalkeeper Matt Cruttwell scored a dramatic last gasp equaliser to earn a draw against higher grade opposition in the FA Cup.
Cruttwell fired home following a corner in the fifth minute of added time as Southern Combination League Premier Division side Common drew 2-2 at home to Bostik League South Central outfit Bedfont Sports this afternoon (Sunday).
That goal capped an incident-packed extra preliminary round tie which Bedfont ended with nine men after having one player sent-off 10 minutes before half time and a second dismissed in second half added time.
A replay will take place at Bedfont on Tuesday night.
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The game started in similarly eventful fashion with two goals in the opening 10 minutes on an overcast afternoon at The Oval.
Although playing their first competitive game of the season and having made a long journey south, Bedfont struck first inside three minutes. A good move down the away left ended with a shot from the edge of the box being turned in by James Simmonds on his debut.
Common were level, however, just seven minutes later. Russell Eldridge struck a superb free kick from just outside the right-hand side of the area over Bedfont goalkeeper Rouke Pickford into the far corner of the net.
The home side then enjoyed a strong 10-minute spell, during which they enjoyed plenty of possession, before Cruttwell made a good save with his feet to deny Scott Harris, who shortly afterwards rose well to head just over.
Common had a strong appeal for a penalty waved away when Jamie Crone went to ground having got goalside of Bedfont player Joe Jackson following a lovely flick by Wes Tate.
Simmonds shot just wide of the far post for Bedfont and Lewis Hole fired into the net at the other end, but the referee had already blown for a foul.
Bedfont were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when defender Addison Garnett was shown a straight red card as last man for a foul on Hole just outside the box, again following a good ball from Tate.
The second half began in fairly stop-start fashion, not helped by a couple of injury delays, although Cruttwell made a great save with his legs from Harris and Ryan Paul volleyed over from close range at the other end after Lewis Parsons headed a deep corner back across goal.
There wasn’t a great deal between the sides and it looked to be anyone’s game, but Bedfont came close to retaking the lead when a far post header from a right wing corner was cleared off the line by Common midfielder Kane Penn.
After a powerful drive by Crone from outside the area was straight at the goalkeeper, Bedfont did hit the front again in the 80th minute. Common’s defence failed to prevent Jack Mills pulling the back from the byeline on the away left for substitute Tom Neale to score with a low left-footed shot which went in off the post.
Common struggled to mount a response in the remainder of normal time as they pushed men forward, Bedfont had chances to pick them off on the break.
The influential Mills played a great ball across the face of goal which two Bedfont players were close to getting on the end of and two minutes later a Mills shot from inside the box was saved by Cruttwell. Neale also struck a shot which deflected wide.
Bedfont had a second player dismissed in the second minute of added time when Callum O’Sullivan was shown a second yellow card for a lunging tackle on Tate in Common’s half.
A minute later an Eldridge free kick from the edge of the box was blocked by Bedfont’s defensive wall and it seemed Common’s chance might have gone.
But that wasn’t reckoning on Cruttwell. Common’s accomplished goalkeeper came up for a corner and when the ball dropped to him in the box, struck a piledriver of a shot which was blocked before hitting a second effort which deflected into the net, sparking wild celebrations among the home players and management.
It was Cruttwell’s second goal of 2018 having scored from his own penalty area during the 4-1 league win at home to Selsey back in January.
Common: Cruttwell, Paul, Parsons, Ward (Clifford 82), Willett, Eldridge, Tate, Penn (Ellis 72), Hole, Crone, Smith (Cumming-Bart 72). Subs not used: Ryan, Astell.
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