22nd May 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Ness dent Spurs’ hopes of Premier League football success

0 comments, , by , in Sport
Celtic's Paul Leask rises highest in an aerial battle against Spurs. Click on image to enlarge.

Celtic's Paul Leask rises highest in an aerial battle against Spurs. Click on image to enlarge.

Senior football’s G&S Flooring Premier league resumed last Wednesday with some entertaining games. Ness United dented Spurs’ hopes of remaining in the title race with a hard-fought win in the town, while Delting kept the pressure on the chasing pack with a 4-1 over Unst.

In the Fraser Cup preliminary round Whalsay slumped to a 5-1 home defeat to Manson Cup winners Whitedale, who themselves lost out to Delting in the quarter-finals. The Brae team went on to beat Thistle and now take on Celtic in Saturday’s final.

G&S Flooring
Premier League

Delting 4, Unst 1

Delting secured all three points against a spirited young Unst side with goals from Bruce Bennett (2), Leighton Flaws and Ross MacDougal. The Unst reply came from a fine free kick by David Thompson.

Spurs 0, Ness United 2

Ness ended Spurs’ slim title hopes with a hard-working performance at Seafield.

The opening period was evenly contested with both teams struggling to retain any meaningful possession. However, midway through the half Spurs started to assert some pressure on a Ness team which, at this point, struggled to get out of their own half.

Ally Graham and Tristan Sinclair were proving to be good outlets for Spurs as Ness struggled to cope with the width of the Spurs attack. During this spell Spurs should have opened the scoring but a combination of slack final balls and poor finishing kept Ness in the game.

Obviously heartened by this the country side finally started to get into their stride, creating a number of half-chances on the break, a warning of what was to come in the second half.

The second half continued as the first half had finished with Spurs dominating possession, without threatening, and Ness looking to play on the counter attack. Spurs’ possession was now leading to some clear-cut chances but poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Eric Peterson kept the game in the balance.

Just as Spurs looked the most likely to score they were dealt a sucker punch with a route-one goal. Peterson’s long kick was misjudged by Gregor Manson and Alwyn Flaws raced clear to slot the ball past veteran Alan Leslie in the Spurs goal.

Ness now had Spurs rattled, so much so that team mates James Johnston and Lewis Kay had a fairly heated exchange in the centre circle as play raged on around them. From this point on Spurs looked unlikely to claw their way back into the game and with 10 minutes remaining the inevitable happened. Another searching ball caught the Spurs defence square and Michael Farmer was presented with the simplest of chances to wrap the game up for Ness.

Thistle 5, Scalloway 2

Thistle started at pace and nearly opened the scoring in the second minute when Craig Gerty’s close-range effort at the far post was superbly blocked by Scalloway keeper John Leask.

The home side created other chances but it took until the 24th minute before their efforts were rewarded, Gerty making space in the penalty area to shoot home from 12 yards.

The visitors defended well but their attack was further hampered when Gary Burns got a knock and had to be substituted at half time.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Thistle pressing for the all-important second goal but it wasn’t until the 63rd minute that Gerty released Scott Morrison to run in and round the keeper to score.

Scalloway got back in the game late on when they won a free kick outside the box. The ball was played to Aaron Leask and when his shot came back off the underside of the bar, Steven Umphray was first to react and knocked the ball in.

Any chance of a fightback by the visitors was killed off when Morrison found Neil Riddell in the box with time and space to shoot home. Riddell then set up goals for Stevie Michael, a deflected strike from the edge of the box, and Morrison who ran through to tuck the ball away inside the near post.

Scalloway had the last say when Sean McCaffrey’s delightful chip found Umphray bursting through to slot the ball into the corner for a well-deserved consolation. The visitors are due credit for never giving up while Thistle eventually found their attacking form in the last quarter.

Yell 0, Celtic 7
No report was received.

Fraser Cup
(preliminary round)

Whalsay 1, Whitedale 5

The weather conditions were as perfect as you get and it was Whitedale’s slick passing and direct running that proved to be too much for a depleted Whalsay side to handle.

After a close opening period Whitedale started to take over and found themselves 1-0 up after 20 minutes. A flighted ball over the top of the defence was run on to by Jon Moncrieff and he lofted the ball past the onrushing keeper into the back of the net.

The second goal came five minutes later. This time a good move down the left involving Alan Johnson and Paul Molloy resulted in the ball being squared across for Duncan Anderson who dispatched the ball into the bottom corner.

With Whalsay clearly struggling to get to grips with the speedy, powerful Whitedale team it was no surprise when Molloy scored to put Whitedale 3-0 ahead at half time, striking home a fine effort from eight yards after a cut back from Moncrieff.

The second half saw Whalsay adopt a more route-one approach but each time they threatened, Whitedale keeper Martin Young was in fine form and dealt comfortably with any goalbound efforts.

With Whalsay pushing the inevitable gaps were being left at the back and it was from a Whalsay corner that Whitedale broke up the park and Duncan Anderson had all the time in the world to pick his spot and made no mistake from the edge of the box to put the visitors 4-0 up.

Whalsay did manage a goal with 15 minutes left. A corner was drilled in low and for once Whitedale failed to clear and veteran marksman Michael Williamson was on hand to drill the ball into the back of the net from 10 yards.

Any hopes of a comeback were short-lived as Jamie Wilson squared the ball across goal for Ryan Joswick to produce a good finish at the far post.

Whalsay now had their work cut out trying to keep the score down and the final whistle could not come soon enough in a game the islanders will want to forget as they try to regroup for their league campaign.

Fraser Cup
(quarter-finals)

Delting 4, Whitedale 2
(after extra time)

Whitedale opened the scoring when Paul Molloy shot past the keeper.

Delting drew level through Ross MacDougal and took the lead before half time when a hesitant Whitedale defence allowed Fraser Hall in to score.

The second half was fairly even, and it looked like Delting would hold out for the win but a cross from Duncan Anderson found Jamie Wilson to head past keeper Craig Dinwoodie.

In extra time Delting dominated the game and a penalty from Leighton Flaws and a fine finish from Stuart Lavender saw the home side progress into the next round.

Ness United 7, Unst 5

Ness attacked straight away and carved open the Unst defence, allowing Scott Ferguson to fire home the opener.

Unst were at sixes and sevens as Ness flooded forward and they were 2-0 up shortly after when Unst conceded a penalty. A defender handled on the line and unfortunately the referee had no alternative but to send the player off. Craig Leslie scored from the spot.

The enforced change in formation by Unst actually helped them as the Ness defence sorted out there new roles Neil Laurenson ghosted in at the near post ahead of his marker to head in from an Eric Thomson cross.

Ness looked dangerous every time they went forward, ripping through the Unst rearguard and before long were 3-1 up through Kyle Malcolmson. Kevin Smith made it four when he surged down the right cut back on his left foot and from a tight angle smacked a great strike that curved in to the far side netting.

When Ness winger Alwyn Flaws made it five with 20 minutes of the half still remaining you would have thought it was all over. That was not the case as Ness took the foot of the gas and their marking became a bit sloppy, allowing Unst to go in at half time on top.

The second half started at a high tempo with Unst looking to pull some goals back and a lack of concentration allowed Thomson to send a near-post free kic to the head of Laurenson to make it 5-2.

Ferguson looked to settle the nerves a bit when he coolly stroked home Ness’s sixth but again Unst came back, this time through Ian Goodlad.

It was now end-to-end stuff and the Unst defenders continued to break out from the back in search for more goals with Ness hitting them on the break. Chances fell to Ferguson and Leigh Smith before a fine run and cross by Ferguson saw veteran Iain Smith head home his team’s seventh.

Unst flooded forward again and got their reward when they pulled back two late goals in the closing minutes to make the final score 7-5 in a chaotic match.

Spurs 0, Celtic 1

Spurs, missing five first-team regulars, started brightly with the untried strike partnership of Adam Sharp and Thomas Sinclair keeping the Celtic rearguard on their toes.

Spurs’ best play was coming from their left flank with Sean Russell and Sam Goudie giving Celtic wing back Sam Wood a torrid time. It was through this combination that Spurs created their two best chances of the first half. On both occasions Goudie jinked his way to the by-line and delivered good crosses to the unmarked Sinclair who headed narrowly wide.

Celtic were also creating chances of their own and Alan Leslie in the Spurs goal had to look lively to race off his line and force Lowrie Simpson to poke his effort wide. Then Joe Leask’s powerful, top-corner bound strike was expertly held by the flying Leslie.

The second half continued in a similar vein to the first with both teams showing good passing and movement. However, this would be a half of few chances as both defences were dominant.

As the half wore on it became apparent that the first goal would probably settle the tie and it was Celtic who took the initiative with 10 minutes remaining. Ryan Grant swung a dangerous, left footed free kick to the back post where Ally Sim rose to glance a header into the top corner.

Spurs threw men forward in search of an equaliser and Josie Kay went close with a dipping free kick and Gregor Manson had a goal-bound shot deflected wide. From the resulting corner Thomas Sinclair almost sent the game into extra time with a header that Paul Grant in the Celtic goal somehow managed to claw off the line.

Thistle v Yell

Yell were unable to field a team so Thistle got a walk-over to the semi-finals.

Fraser Cup
(semi-finals)

Thistle 0, Delting 2

For the first 20 minutes both sides tried to create chances but their respective defences stood firm and the blustery wind meant play was scrappy with the ball up in the air and off the park a lot.

Eventually the players adapted and Delting were the first to threaten when Ross McDougal headed a Leighton Flaws cross narrowly past. Thistle responded and Neil Riddell volleyed a Calvin Leask flick just over the bar from 25 yards.

The final chance of the first half fell to Peter Peterson at the far post when he just got on the end of a cross from the right but guided the ball past the post.

The second half saw the visitors with wind advantage but the home side were still in it. Scott Morrison had a number of good runs down the right but his crosses found no takers, although the Delting defence did well to block an effort from Richard Manson.

Delting gradually gained control and Steven Henry in the home goal did well to tip over a 30-yard effort from Flaws. The breakthrough came in the 69th minute as Delting broke from a Thistle corner and a long ball found McDougal on the edge of the box, an excellent first touch allowing him space to stroke the ball home.

Thistle responded but found the visiting defence resolute and the game was decided when a poor clearance from Henry found McDougal and he made no mistake. Delting then had a Peterson effort ruled out for a perceived foul in the build-up.

The Jags’ seven-match unbeaten run came to an end but the players deserve credit for their efforts, while the hugely impressive McDougal was the difference between the sides as the men from Brae continued to demonstrate that they have the winning knack.

Ness United 0, Celtic 5

Celtic started really well with a young quick side looking hungry. Ness were looking a bit sluggish after their three games in five days and it was no surprise when Celtic took the lead. Their winger surged down the right and whipped in a lovely ball which Joe Leask met at the near post.

It was 2-0 before two long as centre back Robert Smith was allowed to carry the ball out of defence and Lowrie Simpson finished off the move.

Ness were struggling to win any ball up front and this was building pressure on the Ness defence but good play by Kieran Malcolmson in midfield created a good chance and it looked like the home side might work themselves back into it.

Another break from the Celtic defence when the forwards failed to track back saw Celtic surge down the right and from a good cross Simpson headed home his second.

Not long into the second half Celtic took away any hopes of a comeback when they scored on the break.

Ness replaced Kyle Malcolmson up front with Scott Ferguson but before the change could make a difference Celtic were five up. Ness keeper Erik Peterson sprinted out to clear the ball but with the keeper out of his goal Connor Regan dispatched an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

To their credit Ness kept fighting and with Ferguson winning some ball they were able to put some pressure on the Celtic defence. Ness had to replace the injured Kieran Malcolmson and John Rosie but continued to create opportunities and Tomas Smith played well after being moved inside. However, the scor remained 5-0 to the visitors.

All in all it was an excellent performance by very good young Celtic team who were much sharper than a tired Ness outfit. Ness looked a better team in the second half and credit must go to James Jamieson who stuck to his task all night.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.