UTTOXETER Town A closed the gap on Division One leaders Tean Albion to just three points with a comfortable victory over bottom club Cheadle Town End – but manager Dean Smith insists he is happy to just to improve on thir last campaign.
“We are now three points behind Tean, I think, but that does not concern me,” said Smith.
“We are still in all four or five cups and have a very big game this week – the quarter-final of the Staffs Cup at home to Loggerheads out of the PDSL (Potteries and District Sunday League) Premier.
“We must improve on last season when we finished third in the league. So second this season would be a good season – plus a couple off cups.
“We won the Ken Green (Memorial) Cup and got to two semi-finals, in addition to the final of the Staffs Cup last season – so I am just looking at getting better every year.”
Sunday’s game against Town End marked the Uttoxeter side’s first competitive game in nearly three weeks – and Town A’s rustiness showed in the opening 15 minutes.
The visitors were slow to get out of the blocks on a difficult pitch against a tough Town End side who belied their lowly league position.
Town A’s cause was not helped by having a skeleton squad of just 12 players to choose from, with George Marshman, Paul Millward, Nev Jenkins, Simon Begnor and Andrew Hooley all unavailable.
Uttoxeter woke from their slumber when Liam Sowter was found by Jack Holley.
Sowter played an excellent ball through to James Curley who slotted home his 19th goal of the season.
Town End looked to hit back but had no joy against the Town A backline, and suffered a further blow five minutes before half time.
Curley turned provider for the second, repaying the earlier favour by setting up Sowter to net his 14th of the season.
The final few minutes before the interval were all Town A, with the Division One high-flyers in complete control.
Smith’s side continued to push the hosts back after the break.
Rob Collins started to find space down the left hand side, and produced several great balls into the box for his forwards.
The half was only two minutes old when Curley bagged his 20th goal of the season to all but end the match as a contest.
Smith made changes with John Lamburn introduced for Evan Richardson.
As the half continued Town A were probably guilty of overplaying at times – and almost got caught out by Town End.
Cheadle pushed forward and the Town A keeper had to be alert to tip a goal-bound shot over the bar.
The near escape jolted the Uttoxeter side back into action and Sowter was the second Town A player to claim a brace to make it 4-0.
Town End refused to throw in the towel and were rewarded for their efforts on 80 minutes when Day Hill pulled a goal back.
The late strike failed to dampen Smith’s mood. The Town A boss said: “We were a few bodies short but we got the three points.
“I am hoping to get two more bodies in next week to add to the squad.
“It’s important to keep winning – but the football we are playing is great to watch.
“I cannot fault anybody (who played against Town End).
“I planned for a really tough game and with us having a long Christmas break, I’m glad we got three points.”