SSFC Academy: Trio of wins ensure successful week
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.”