Lee lauds top footballing teens at DESA

Dereham Education and Soccer Academy players, like the one right, have been tipped for great things

Dereham Education and Soccer Academy players, like the one right, have been tipped for great things in the years to come. - Credit: Ian Burt

The future remains bright for the players of Dereham Education & Soccer Academy – despite their national cup-final heartbreak, writes Ed Colman.

DESA fell to a late sucker punch in the final of the English Colleges FA Premier Cup, at Birmingham City's St Andrew's stadium. The only goal of the match came in the 88th-minute, securing victory for the Strachan Football Foundation, from Warwickshire.

But after the match proud DESA chief Lee Perry said better things are to come for his crestfallen youngsters.

'We are all gutted, the boys absolutely worked their socks off,' Perry said.

'They stuck to the game plan, worked hard for each other, dug in deep and it's just gutting because for two years the second-year students have been building up to this and it would have been nice for them to leave with a trophy.

'I also think that a lot of them are getting their biggest rewards with where they are going next year; some are going to universities, some off on scholarships and I'm sure they will go on to win other trophies in their careers and that they can always look back on today, and be very proud.'

DESA were quickest out of the traps and they thought they had raced into an early lead after three minutes, when Charlie Clarke played in Liam Upton, who slotted into the bottom-right corner of the net, only for celebrations to be foiled by the linesman's flag.

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The Norfolk side showed good work rate throughout with Lewis Ison needed to cut out a Jason Ward run after 31 minutes and four minutes later Chris Skipper outmuscled his marker to get on the end of Louis Mason's corner, but his header curled just wide.

Despite their dominance Dereham couldn't make their pressure tell before the break and Strachan improved significantly in the opening stages of the second half.

DESA defend solidly but with just two minutes of normal time remaining Dylan Otshudy found a gap in the Dereham defence to net the winner.