South Shields Academy secured another impressive win as they knocked in eight goals without reply against Maltby Main on Wednesday.
The Mariners moved to within three points of National League Under-19 Alliance Group J leaders Guiseley with their strong performance at Silksworth Sports Centre.
Shields have a game in hand on Guiseley and a better goal difference, making next week’s meeting between the sides an even more exciting one.
Graham Fenton and Lee Picton’s side have now scored 58 goals in their nine league fixtures, with the latest victory earned thanks to goals from Josh Elcoate (2, pictured), Michael Colquhoun (2), Dom Minchella, Bailey Judson, Luke Ridley and Callum Guy.
As well as the result on Wednesday, joint manager Fenton was delighted with the team’s performance.
He said: “It was a really strong performance from the lads.
“They moved the ball well at times in what were difficult, windy conditions, and kept it on the floor as much as possible.
“We looked a threat throughout the game and were strong defensively.
“The players also gave their team-mates really good options on the ball, so we were delighted with them.”
Shields have returned from the Christmas period in superb form, having beaten Darlington 8-2 last week.
As Fenton explains, though, the festive period was not a break for the young Mariners.
He added: “The players worked hard over the Christmas period.
“Some programmes at our level might give lads two weeks off over that time, but we did two sessions a week to keep them ticking over, and they were fairly tough sessions.
“The lads seem to be benefitting a bit from that now. Their fitness levels are really good.”
Next week’s trip to league leaders Guiseley – who are three points ahead of Shields, having played one game more – appears vital, and Fenton is excited ahead of the match-up.
He said: “We’ve got a tough one next week against Guiseley, who are the league leaders.
“We’re in a good place going into that, though, and looking forward to it.
“Hopefully we can get the result we’re looking for.”
SSFC Academy team: Bramley, Biwer, Parker, Carney, Patterson, Onarbay, Guy, Elcoate, M Colquhoun, Ridley, Minchella. Subs: Allen, Judson, Hassanin.
Goals: Elcoate (2), Colquhoun (2), Minchella, Judson, Ridley, Guy.