Football: One down, four to go for Dresden's trophy-hunters
DRESDEN United have secured their first piece of silverware of the season – and now they are in the hunt for four more trophies.
They beat Uttoxeter Town A 3-1 in the final of the Staffs FA Sunday Challenge Cup at Eccleshall's Pershall Park on Thursday, but they won't have much time to celebrate before they set out on their next mission tomorrow.
Darren Allen's team play Blurton Joker in the semi-final of the City Traders League Premier Division Cup. They are also still in the Project Management cup and the Sentinel Sunday Cup.
And with a league record of seven out of seven wins, they are hot favourites to lift the Premier Division title too.
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However, like any good manager, Allen says he'll take each game as it comes.
"It's a great position to be in at this time of the season," he said. "Some clubs have nothing to play for when they get to March, but for us it's one down, four to go."
It was a first county cup title for the Park Inn-based side, but Allen said it was thoroughly deserved.
"Overall, we were the better team. We only scored once in the first half, but it could have been more, we just failed to take our chances."
As it was, Dresden went in at the break with just Richie Shankland's goal to show for their efforts.
"Richie cut inside his defender and fired the ball low past the keeper," added Allen.
Uttoxeter hit back in the second half to equalise, but it failed to knock Dresden out of their stride and they went back in front from the penalty spot through Josh Thorpe.
It was 3-1 soon after when the prolific Ben Leese scored from close range after the ball got stuck in a muddy goalmouth following a spell of heavy rain.
It was Leese's ninth goal in the competition, having scored in every round.
"It's a fantastic achievement. He plays centre-midfield and doesn't even take penalties, so to score nine goals in six games is amazing," said his manager.
However, both teams were then reduced to 10 men following a scuffle when the goal was scored, but Allen claims it was harsh.
"I think when the referee looks back at the incident he'll perhaps think he got it wrong. I certainly think he did. Yellow would have been enough. It was just a little bit of pushing and shoving between Thorpe and Uttoxeter's centre-half.
Dresden saw out the remainder of the game fairly comfortably, and it was left to skipper Paul "Pablo" Talbot to collect the trophy.
The victory was seen as a big feather in the cap for the City Traders League.
Fixtures secretary Sid Holland, who has been involved with the league for 38 years, praised the club.
"It was a great night for the league and, of course, Dresden. I can't remember a club from our league ever winning a county cup."