Academy hot shot Sam Hodgson continued his outstanding run of form with another five goals in midweek in the young Mariners’ 6-0 win over Scarborough Athletic.
Hodgson has now scored 13 goals in his last three games at Academy level after running riot in the National League Under-19 Alliance encounter at Washington Hub.
Oscar Taylor was also on the scoresheet for Shields as they kept up their hopes of winning the title.
They are fourth in the table, 13 points behind leaders Carlisle United and with three matches in hand.
As Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw insists, though, it is the performances which are most valuable.
He said: “To concede no goals in the Youth Alliance game was really pleasing and shows that our structure is good.
“We’re doing really well defensively at the moment and having people like Kieran Charlton in the side obviously helps with his first-team experience.
“George Lindo had a really positive first game on loan at Whickham in their 0-0 draw against West Auckland so he came back full of confidence.
“At the other end of the pitch Sam Hodgson scored another five goals to take him up to 29 for the season in an Academy shirt, which is an outstanding number of goals.
“I would imagine people will understand it justifies why he has a contract at the club.
“There were a lot of good performances from young players, with Olly McCully and Stewart Cooper both continuing to perform well in an Under-19s league and on a daily basis in training and games.”
The Academy squad was again split in two on Wednesday, with another Shields side winning 6-2 against Gateshead College in the ECFA Premier League as they strengthened their position at the top of the table.
Oscar Taylor notched a hat-trick for the young Mariners, whose other goals were scored by Jamie Whitehead, Tom Green and Jake Dunn.
All in all, it was another hugely productive week.
Shaw added: “It was another two good results for the Academy in both the ECFA and Youth Alliance.
“We scored six goals in each game but as always, the performances were the most important things.
“We dominated quite a lot of the game against Gateshead and the 6-2 scoreline was probably fair.
“We asked the lads for a high intensity with and without the ball, and they delivered that for the full 90 minutes.
“Gateshead caused us a few problems with the way they set up but the players adapted really well and made lots of good decisions on the ball to create chances and get ourselves in front.
“We had a sloppy five-minute spell which led to a goal for Gateshead but that seemed to wake the lads up and they went again.
“There was another hat-trick from Oscar Taylor, who is another 17-year-old growing in confidence week by week.
“We played the last 10 minutes with 10 men and still managed to score two goals with one conceded.
“The lads weren’t willing to take their foot off the gas even though they were comfortably in front and down to 10 men. Their desire to score more goals was evident.”
There is another big week ahead for the Academy, who have three games to contend with.
On Monday they make the short trip to Monkseaton High School in the ECFA Premier League while on Wednesday there is a double header against Gateshead in the National League Under-19 Alliance and Coleg Cambria in the ECFA Premier Cup.
With three games won, 12 goals scored and none conceded, it has been a successful week for SSFC Academy.
The young Mariners strengthened their position in two competitions during a three-day burst of fixtures as several players caught the eye.
Shields started the week with a 4-0 win over Gateshead in the National League Under-19 Alliance.
Aaron Steavens saved a first half penalty and Shields seized control when they took the lead on 35 minutes, Jack Wilkinson finishing well after a superb pass forward from George Lindo. Olly McCully struck twice in the second half and Oscar Taylor was also on the scoresheet as the points were secured.
The squad was split in two on Wednesday at Washington Hub as two fixtures were negotiated.
The young Mariners thrashed Blyth Spartans 5-0 in the Under-19 Alliance after being sent on their way with a six-minute first half hat-trick from Sam Hodgson. Two Tom Green goals in the final 15 minutes completed the scoring.
A further victory was claimed in the ECFA Premier Cup against Sunderland College, with Jamie Whitehead, Taylor and McCully netting in a 3-0 success to set up a tie with Wick College.
Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw has been delighted with the progress shown by the youngsters over recent weeks.
He said: “Lots of progress has been made, especially by the first years.
“When they first came in they were quite far behind the Under-18s and Under-19s because they hadn’t had the intense coaching.
“Over the last month we’ve really tried to step it up with the players in getting them to execute the first-team standards and formation.
“We’ve seen quite a lot of big improvements and it’s positive going into the second half of the season.
“In the Gateshead game against a mainly Under-19s team, we had eight Under-17s playing and all four goals were scored by Under-17s.
“It has been great to see.”
Hodgson’s hat-trick against Blyth will catch the eye, with the striker having been involved heavily at first-team level over recent weeks.
Shaw added: “It was great to see him score a hat-trick after being involved with the first-team.
“He has been a little bit frustrated with game-time floating between the academy and first-team recently.
“Wednesday’s performance and goals showed that the time with the first-team is obviously benefitting him and it has been good to hear those frustrations from him.
“All he wanted to do is play and that’s the type of player you want.”