By Tony Leighton
Crewe Alexandra's triumphant players dedicated their 2-0 Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final victory over Southend United to team-mate Adam Dugdale following the tragic death of the defender's son last week.
Baby Jude died just days after his birth and, in an emotional show of support for Dugdale and his partner Nicola, the players donned T-shirts bearing the words, 'Duggy & Nicola, you're in our thoughts,' as they paraded the Trophy around the Wembley pitch in front of their cheering fans.
Manager Steve Davis said: "I spoke to Duggy on Saturday about it. He and Nicola are holding up as best they can. I told him that the players were behind them, and I'm sure they put a little bit extra in for them today.
"We're a family, we're that kind of club. When something like that happens we rally and get behind people, and that result today was for him."
The result, with the goals coming early in each half from captain Luke Murphy and striker Max Clayton, was well earned by Dugdale's colleagues in a display that combined Crewe's renowned passing game with some gutsy defending.
Davis added: "It was about putting in a really good performance and trying to entertain, but we also put our bodies on the line and got some good blocks in."
As Crewe's first major final ended in glory, Southend were left to ponder on what was a third Football League Trophy Final defeat, the previous two having come at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
On their first visit to Wembley for a knock-out final, the Shrimpers were backed by 31,000 fans - almost three-quarters of the 43,842 attendance - and recently appointed manager Phil Brown said: "We wanted to give them something back for the support they provided, but it was not a good day for them.
"We didn't make it uncomfortable for Crewe. The effort and determination of the players was there, but that little bit of nous and quality and attention to detail wasn't - but I can't fault them for trying to get something out of the game."
After only his third game in charge of the Roots Hall club, Brown will now turn his attention back to his club's bid for promotion from npower League 2.
The Shrimpers, whose Trophy Final defeat was - through a twist of fate - by the same team that defeated them in last season's Play-Off semi-final, are battling to climb into the top seven and have another crack at the Play-Offs.
"The glamour of the Wembley cup final has gone," said Brown. "We had one eye on promotion beforehand - now we've got both eyes on it."
While Brown is hoping his team can earn themselves a Wembley return for May's Play-Off Final, Davis has a different challenge ahead of him.
Though he has been a manager for barely 17 months, in the last 11 of them he has led his team to Wembley victories in first the League 2 Play-Off Final and now the Johnston's Paint Trophy Final.
So, how does the 47-year-old former central defender follow that double-whammy of achievement so early in his managerial career?
"I'm scratching my head now," admitted Davis. "A woman came up to me the other day with her kids and said to me, 'you've done it now - these kids expect us to get to Wembley every year!'"
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