It's been a season to remember for Chester FC Youth .
Crowned North West Youth Alliance Premier Division champions, the Blues lifted the NWYA Open Cup, reached the final of the NWYA Premier Division Cup and came so close to knocking Football League side Oldham Athletic out of the FA Youth Cup in the first round proper.
It is the nature of youth football means that the end of the season sees the team begin to break up as their careers take different paths, however whatever the future holds, the class of 2016 will always have a special bond forged on the training ground, in the changing room and on the pitch.
Academy head coach Calum McIntyre has watched this team mature and flourish as manager alongside his assistant Paul Kelly and coaches Chris Vale and Ashley Field.
Kieran Evans and Matty Waters have already signed professional contracts for next season, others can hope for the chance to earn themselves a deal in pre-season while for some their association with the Blues, as a player at least, will now come to an end but McIntyre believes each of them should be incredibly proud, both of what has been achieved and of themselves as young men.
"This group of players are tremendous," explained McIntyre, whose role became full-time in January thanks to support from sponsors Swettenham Chemists .
"Their attitude is incredible and the team spirit from July through to now has probably been the underlying factor in why we have done so well. That comes from them as people and this is achievement is entirely down to them.
"They have worked so hard and we definitely celebrated the success properly. It has been a pleasure to work with each and every one of them day in, day out."
The Blues were presented with the NWYA Premier Division trophy last Thursday evening at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium following a 1-1 draw with Ashton Athletic with Sam Hayley equalising after Declan McLoughlin gave the visitors the lead from the spot.
The two sides met again on Sunday in the final of the NWYA Open Cup as a bumper crowd watched Chester come from behind to win 4-1 and complete a league and cup double.
Ashton went ahead on 20 minutes when Harry Johnson cureled an impressive effort beyond keeper Harry Mates but the lead was short-lived as Matty Waters broke through and lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to level the scores.
WATCH: Chester FC Youth celebrate winning the NWYA Open Cup
Chester took control in the second period and went in front when Oliver Nugent fired home from close range.
Waters added a third in some style, chipping the keeper from 25 yards before Tom Crawford came off the bench to set up for the fourth for Nugent to put the icing on the cake.
"It’s been a terrific season and we finished it in style on Sunday," said McIntyre.
"Sunday’s game sort of summed up what we’re about, we fell behind and things weren’t going for us but this group always find a way to pull together and we did it again to lift another cup.
"Ollie Nugent was terrific and he’s scored big goals for us all season and it was no shock for him to score twice. Similarly, Matty Waters has scored our third with a terrific finish but it’s no shock to us, he’s scored that sort of goal so many times, we’ve watched him do it since he was 15."
Although a 3-1 defeat to AFC Fylde in the NWYA Premier Division Cup final meant the Blues missed out on what would have been an outstanding treble, that should not be considered a disappointment after such a remarkable season.
One of the personal highlights for McIntyre was the team's performance in the FA Youth Cup where convincing wins over Chadderton, Cheadle Town and Silsden AFC booked them a first round proper meeting with League Out outfit Oldham Athletic.
With more than 150 supporters making the trip to Boundary Park on a Wednesday night in November, the Blues produced a gallant performance against full-time opposition before bowing out after extra-time despite goals from Crawford and Nugent.
McIntyre said: “It’s been some season. There are so many highlights and it’s an incredible achievement from this group of players. We reached the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup, reached two cup finals and lifted a league and cup double.
"I said after the Oldham game to watch this space as these players could do something special and they haven’t disappointed really have they? We’ve done it in really impressive fashion, we’ve scored the most goals and conceded the fewest. Our centre halves have been outstanding and we’ve shown how good we were going forward.
"The challenge is to now progress things further with the youth section right the way from under-8s upwards. Winning things is really exciting yes, but the goal for us is to produce players for the first team. We’re doing that, but there is always more than can be done."