Injury-hit Academy seal two more wins
SSFC Academy overcame an injury crisis to register two more wins across two competitions in midweek.
A combination of injuries and a number of players being out on loan meant Jon Shaw and Wess Brown had just 22 players to select from for the games against Wyke College in the ECFA Premier Cup and Frickley Athletic in the National League Under-19 Alliance on Wednesday.
They overcame that challenge with flying colours, with a 3-1 win over Wyke booking the Academy’s place in the next round and a 9-1 success against Frickley earning another three points in the league.
The win over Hull-based Wyke was a deserved one for Shields, who dominated much of proceedings but at times struggled to find a breakthrough.
Jamie Whitehead continued his impressive scoring goal by breaking the deadlock but Wyke equalised before half-time.
Goals from Joe Ames and Whitehead in the second half secured the young Mariners’ progression.
Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw said: “Wyke have had a good season and hadn’t lost a game before that.
“We were quite restricted with the squad as we only had 11 players available, and they were also a bit of an unknown for us with not being from the region.
“To progress was the most important thing although the performance was a little bit inconsistent.
“On another day we could have won by quite a comfortable margin but we were a bit wasteful when we got the ball into their half.
“They posed us some questions by pushing us back and trying to mark quite high, which the first-team have encountered a few times.
“It was interesting to see the lads deal with that and have a different learning experience.
“There were some really good performances, especially defensively from Mathew Wade, Dom Agnew, Josh Croft and Will Morris in front of Aaron Steavens. They were excellent.”
Sam Hodgson notched five goals in the 9-1 win over Frickley in Sheffield, with Geoff Hearn (2), Tom Green and Matty Williamson the other players on the scoresheet.
Shaw was impressed with the way the Academy players as a whole dealt with the injury situation.
He added: “We’ve got quite an injury crisis in the academy and a couple of lads out on loan.
“We only had two bare elevens available this week but to still score 12, concede just two and win two games of football was brilliant.
“It was a different kind of test for the players and one they’ll learn from.”