GRANGE Athletic under-11s remained on track for the top-flight title with a 6-0 win over Merley Cobham Sports at a rain-soaked Chapel Gate on Sunday.

The BYFL Division 11 leaders took the lead with an Ethan Geard strike in an evenly-contested opening period which was played in driving rain on a heavy pitch.

The hosts, however, turned up the heat after the interval with a five-goal blitz.

Athletic’s second-half marksmen were Harry Long, Shay Stevenson, Brad Pawson and Lewis Brown (2).

Grange manager Dave Howe said: “Both teams deserve credit for trying to play the right way despite the heavy pitch and appalling weather conditions.”

Rival boss Stuart Pitman, meanwhile, praised his team who are playing at the top level for the first time this season.

“As a newly-promoted team we arrived knowing the extent of the task against top-of-the-table Grange,” said Pitman.

“The boys matched their opponents in the first half, but Grange’s quality started to shine through in the second half.

“However, the spirit of both teams was exceptional and by the end of the match each side had great respect for each other.”

Victory kept Grange 14 points ahead of their nearest rivals Rossgarth, who toppled Green-fields 11-0 on Sunday. The Verwood team have three games in hand on the pace-setters.

Coincidentally, the Division 11 games were two of only three Bournemouth Youth Football League fixtures to beat the downpour.

In total, only 10 youth games were played across Dorset at the weekend.

Grange Athletic: Samuel Everrett, Harry Long, Taylor Edwards, Lewis Rickman, Shay Stevenson, Jack Dacombe, Ben Howe, Lewis Brown, Ethan Geard, Brad Pawson, Ewan Mitchell, Corben Elms.

Merley Cobham Sports: Aaron Marais, Harry Aldridge, Jacob Trevett, Austin Robertson, Owen Perdriasat, Anthony Bennett, Samuel Pitman, William Barnes, Samuel Fooks, Dominic Gravenor.