The future is bright for Ely City as youngsters Hook and Mansfield score first senior goals in Dereham Town rout
Ely City manager Brady Stone praised the club's youth set-up as two of the Robins' young stars found the net in their 5-1 success at Dereham Town Reserves.
17-year-old Lewis Hook opened the scoring – and his Robins account - in the first half with a well-taken finish, and under-18s top scorer Luke Mansfield also notched his first senior goal when he came on late in the second half.
A brace from Sam Goodge and a 12th of the season for Matty Simpson completed the rout – the Robins’ fourth straight league win - and Stone was quick to praise the performance of his side’s young stars.
“I’m absolutely delighted for them,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for more from the under 18s set-up.
“Hooky [Lewis Hook] has played 12 or 13 games this season but Luke has only played two and I’m delighted that they’ve both got their first goals.
“We knew we had a talented group but we didn’t expect them to make the step up so quickly. Seeing Hooky and Lewis score can definitely be an incentive to the other young players to perform.”
Ely’s victory sent them four points clear in second in the Thurlow Nunn Division One, and also reduced league-toppers’ Wivenhoe Town’s lead to eight points – but Stone has his sights firmly set on promotion, and not winning the league.
He said: “Promotion is the aim. Obviously if we can catch Wivenhoe then we’ll try and catch them; they’ve got a tough run of games coming up but we’re just going to go about our own business and pick up three points whenever we can. We just want to be in the top three at the end of the season.”
The high-flying Robins will now turn their attentions towards the cup, as they prepare to host league-rivals Stowmarket Town in the quarter-finals of the First Division KO Cup on Saturday (3pm).
Stone has experienced success in the competition after winning it as a player, but now wants it to be his first piece of silverware as Robins boss.
He said: “It’s the only cup we’re in now so obviously we want to go on and win it. I won it as a player and I’d love to win it as manager, but we need to perform like we have in the league if we’re to get to the semi-finals.”