DESA book a special trip to the home of Championship club Birmingham City for ECFA Premier Cup final

Dereham Education and Soccer Academy v Bisham Abbey at Aldiss Park. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Education and Soccer Academy v Bisham Abbey at Aldiss Park. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Dereham Education and Soccer Academy (DESA) have capped a memorable fortnight by reaching the final of a prestigious national cup competition.

Just days after returning from a dream trip to Las Vegas and Los Angeles – where the group soaked up the sights in between playing football – the organisation welcomed English Colleges Football Association Premier League leaders in the semi-finals of the ECFA Premier Cup.

And despite going 1-0 down to the holders of the trophy, FAB Football Academy from Bisham Abbey, yesterday afternoon, DESA fought back to triumph 2-1 at Aldiss Park and set up another exciting trip – this time to play at Championship club Birmingham City's St Andrew's stadium in next month's showcase.

Lee Perry, academy manager and course leader of the organisation that is a partnership between Dereham Sixth Form and the town's Ryman League North football club, said: 'I'm just really proud of all of them. They've worked really hard to achieve their goals.

'We got back from America on Sunday and some of the boys were still a bit jet-lagged. But they stuck to the gameplan, even when we were 1-0 down at half-time, stuck together as a team, worked together, and got their rewards. Their manager was making plans for the final but we shocked them a little bit. I think it all came down to our discipline on the day.'

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Strikes from first-year student Matt Cook, 16, and second-year Chris Skipper, 18, sealed the victory in front of around 100 spectators – 60 or so of whom where high school footballers coached before the game by some of DESA's other students.

The talented Norfolk outfit's teenagers will face the Strachan Football Foundation – whose director is Scotland boss Gordon – in the final on April 29.

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