06:00 Thursday 27 February 2014

SLIDESHOW: Uttoxeter Town A 2, Blurton Joker 1

Written byDOM MILLS

UTTOXETER Town A are through to their second Staffs Sunday Cup in as many years – despite playing “nowhere near” their best against Blurton Joker in Sunday’s semi-final.

Shaun Connelly and Liam Sowter bagged the goals in a match marred by an injury to Rob Collins from what Town A manager Dean Smith branded a “horror challenge”.

“If I’m being honest we did not play nowhere near as well as we played the previous week, when we beat Loggerheads 5-1,” said Smith.

“We are through to the final of the Staffs Cup again – that’s twice in two years.

“But we have not won anything yet, and that’s what we have to remember.

“Nobody remembers losing finalists do they?

“In every round – except Sunday – we have scored five goals. But we could still have scored six or seven (against Blurton).”

A two-footed challenge ended Collins’ game on 18 minutes.

Smith said: “That challenge on Rob was a straight red card – I could not believe it.

“I wish Rob all the best and hope he is back soon. He is a very important player in my side and one of the first names down on my team sheet.”

Smith’s side went into the semi-final at nearly full strength, with 15 players to choose from. And Town A started with the same 11 players that crushed Loggerheads seven days earlier.

Blurton’s physical approach culminated in the knee-high tackle that ended Collins’ game, with George Marshman his replacement at left back.

On 24 minutes Town A broke the deadlock, when Connelly powered home a bullet header following a corner for the hosts.

James Curley and Sowter were pulling the Blurton defence all over the place with their movement as Town A continued to dominate the game.

At the other end Connelly and the rest of the Uttoxeter backline kept the Blurton forwards at bay.

Town A had chance after chance but could not beat the visiting keeper – and when they did Blurton’s post cane to the away side’s rescue.

Blurton pushed more men forward and tried their luck from long range. From a Blurton corner Town counter-attacked, breaking down the right before Sowter slotted home his 18th goal of the season.

Blurton did manage to pull one back deep into first-half injury time.

The Uttoxeter side refused to panic in the second half and continued to create numerous opportunities.

Town A were unable to take advantage, but comfortably saw out the remainder of the half to clinch their spot in the final.

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