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.”
Five different players were on the scoresheet as South Shields’ Academy side continued their impressive start to the season on Wednesday.
The young Mariners were 5-1 winners over Monkseaton High School at Temple Park as they continued their preparations for Mondays’ FA Youth Cup third qualifying round tie against Harrogate Town at Mariners Park.
Goals from Matty Williamson, Rob Ryland and Jake Dunn put Shields into a 3-0 lead and although Lewis Laidler pulled one back for Monkseaton, late strikes from Blair Rossiter and Jamie Prete sealed the Mariners’ win.
Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw was pleased with the performance.
He said: “After a really competitive start to the game we went 1-0 up before half-time, and after scoring our second and third we took control and put a good performance in against a good Monkseaton side.
“Big parts of the performance showed real signs of development and that the players are going in the right direction.
“It was a good win for us in the lead-up to the Youth Cup game.”
Shields have beaten Gateshead, Carlisle City and North Shields in their run to the third qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup.
Harrogate Town are now the only side standing in their way of a place in the main draw, with Monday’s match to kick-off at 7.30pm.
Admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, and support would be hugely appreciated.
SSFC Academy team vs Monkseaton High School: E Hodgson, Minchella, Errington, Agnew, L Black, Dunn, Williamson, Rossiter, Ryland, Green, S Hodgson. Subs: Steavens, Stout, Prete, Cooper, Whitehead.