Tranmere Rovers U18s produced a rampant home display easing past Port Vale 7-2 in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
A Jake Burton hat-trick, a brace from Jacob Walton as well as goals from Kyle Hayde and George Nugent inspired a breathtaking performance at The Campus, despite Port Vale striking two late goals to salvage some pride.
Rovers dominated possession in the early stages but the visitors were the side who thought they had the breakthrough. A headed goal from a Vale corner was ruled out for a foul in the area.
Centre back, Ethan Gouldbourne, had TRFC’s first opportunity when he fired just over the bar in the box after a clever Nugent lay off.
Andy Parkinson’s side broke the deadlock soon after in the 22nd minute. A neat one-two between Hayde and Nugent resulted in Nugent rifling the ball into the corner 20 - yards from goal – leaving the keeper with no chance.
The lead was doubled minutes later, after Burton latched onto a defensive error and calmly converted one-on-one with the Vale stopper.
Tranmere’s Ben Jones was called into a rare piece of action on the half hour mark. A curling effort from range was tipped over the bar by the keeper.
Rovers’ dominance was rewarded with a third goal soon before the break. Walton raced through on goal and slotted home.
There was no sign of letting up by Tranmere’s youngsters in the second half. A well-worked training ground set-piece routine found the unmarked Hayde in the 53rd minute - he nodded it in six yards from goal.
Just two minutes later and it was five. Terrific skill by Ryan Stratulis on the wing saw him skip past his marker and square the ball to Burton on the byline. The striker grabbed his second of the game smashing into the net.
Walton had another strike to add to his tally five minutes later after a beautifully weighted Burton pass fell to his feet and he finished into the corner.
Burton completed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute. Unmarked in the left hand channel, he expertly placed his effort past the onrushing keeper to rack up a seventh goal for Tranmere.
PVFC showed admirable resilience to stay competitive in the contest. A looping header by the Vale winger evaded the reach of Jones, followed by an unstoppable strike by the visitors Captain, which prevented Rovers from keeping a clean sheet.
Joe Blackham went close to adding an eighth to the Rovers tally in the dying embers of the match, but his hit from 30-yards out was well saved at full stretch.
The U18s travel to Rochdale next weekend as they look to build on a fantastic result and performance.
TRFC Line Up: Jones, Badhawi, Musuamba, Gouldbourne, Sinnott, Nugent, Blackham, Hayde, Stratulis, Burton, Walton
Used Subs: Ferguson, Farley, Shead, Quinn