A 42-goal striker, a 55-year-old player, a family affair, Touchline SIL Division Five side Shotley FC are sailing towards promotion

Division Five outfit Shotley FC can be the first side in the Touchline SIL to be promoted this weekend, if they can beat Benhall St Mary reserves on Saturday.

Shotley have taken the division by storm this campaign, and currently hold a 21-point lead at the top of the table.

The high-flying outfit have been in unstoppable form this season, and after suffering a 3-2 defeat to Aldeburgh Town reserves on the opening day, have incredibly blown away all other opponents in sight with 18 successive league wins.

For manager Dean Scutcher, whose playing career is on hold following knee ligament damage, it is a phenomenal achievement.

“It’s without doubt the club’s biggest achievement if we can win and get promoted to Division Four,” said Scutcher.

“We’ve only been a Division Six side previously and the club only started eight or nine years ago when my dad set up the club with his mates.

“Gradually we’ve attracted younger lads who have played at a higher level to the club and we’re going really well now.”

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After winning promotion last campaign, the club set up their own reserve side this season, who are currently plying their trade in the SIL’s lowest division – Division Six.

In something of a family affair, Dean’s dad, Terry, still plays for Shotley first-team – despite being 55!

Scutcher continued: “Dad still plays at 55 and he’s fitter than me!

“My brothers Dan and Ryan play as well so not only is everyone playing with their mates, they’re playing with their family too.”

One player who has caught the eye for Shotley this season has been 22-year-old striker Kieran Mandley, who has astonishingly scored 42 league goals in 15 starts for the club so far!

“Kieran’s a good player and we’ve had several approaches from higher-level clubs for him, but he’s just happy playing with his mates,” added Scutcher.

“If we can keep the same team together then I’m confident we can keep on climbing the leagues.

“We gave Senior side Crane Sports a good game in pre-season and although we lost 5-2, they congratulated us on our performance.”

Victory over third-placed Benhall St Mary won’t be an easy feat, but Shotley will look to create history in style.

Win and score over four goals, and Shotley can also break the 100-goal mark in what really is turning out to be a remarkable season for them.

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