Albion's youngsters have powered their way through to the second phase of the Football League Youth Alliance.

They demolished Colchester 6-1 at the University of Sussex yesterday to guarantee a top- three finish in the South East Conference.

Two goals apiece from Danny Davis, Daniel Marney and Scott Ramsay clinched their place in a nine-team merit table, which will also include the top three from the South West and South Central Conferences.

Dean Wilkins' lads knew they had to win to make certain of qualifying, so the pressure was on. Colchester went into the game behind only on goal difference with a game in hand, but Albion brushed them aside on a boggy pitch with some impressive finishing.

They could not have chosen a better time to turn on the style. Among the spectators were manager Micky Adams and his assistant Alan Cork, chairman Dick Knight and chief executive Martin Perry.Several first team players also watched after they had finished training.

Davis scored when the youth team lost 2-1 at rock-bottom Barnet last Saturday. The side was weakened then by the absence of Marney, Ramsay and Wilkinson, who were all on the bench for the first team against Plymouth. With their big guns back, the kids made an emphatic recovery from that first League defeat since September.

Captain Davis, who made his first team debut last season, led by example. The midfielder crashed in a 25-yard shot via the underside of the crossbar to give Albion a 16th-minute lead. Ramsay put Marney through to round the keeper before finding the net from a difficult angle 11 minutes later.

Provider turned scorer in the 35th minute when the unmarked Ramsay headed Conor McCurdy's cross from the right flank into the roof of the net from just inside the six-yard box. On the stroke of half time, Marney plunging to nod in the rebound after his first header hit the bar.

Sean Hillier pulled one back for Colchester from the penalty spot early in the second half after Wilkinson handled a corner. Davis restored Albion's four-goal cushion with another classy finish, sidestepping a defender to place an angled shot past the keeper into the far corner. The other Davis, Adam, got in on the act once Wilkins had made three substitutions. With time virtually up he picked out Ramsay and the striker produced the perfect finale.

Albion Youth: Ades; A. Davis, Jackson, D. Davis, Hemsley, Virgo, McCurdy, Wilkinson, Marney, Ramsay, Sansom. Subs: Wojciechowski (for McCurdy 70), McPhee (for Marney 78), Hammond (for Wilkinson 85), Dallaway.

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