22nd February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Celtic and Whalsay standouts in football’s Madrid Cup

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Celtic and Spurs claimed first and second spots respectively in senior football’s Madrid Cup group one, the second match between the two ending all square, while Scalloway emerged victorious from a high-scoring encounter with Thistle. In group two Whalsay have already qualified for the semi-finals, while Delting can pip Whitedale for second place if they win their remaining two games.

Madrid Cup Group One

Celtic 1, Spurs 1

Celtic started strongly, forcing an early corner which resulted in Joel Bradley shooting wide at the back post when he looked certain to score.

Celtic took the lead in the fourth minute, after good play down the left by Connor Regan whose cross was met at the back post by James Aitken who stooped to head home.

Spurs recovered from the setback of losing an early goal to take control of the game with the midfield duo of James Johnston and Josie Kay dictating play. Kay, Connel Gresham and Johnston all had shots before the best move of the half saw Gresham set up Kay with only Paul Grant in the Celtic goal to beat. Grant managed to block his effort to maintain Celtic’s lead.

Spurs continued to dominate the first half with the trickery of Sam Ward on the left and the pace of Gresham up front causing the Celtic defence problems. Celtic’s only reply was a long range shot from Aitken which flew over the bar. Daniel Johnston was booked as he decided a rugby tackle was the only way he could stop his cousin Aitken.

As the half drew to a close Spurs forced a number of corners from which Shane Jamieson volleyed just over and Johnston shot just wide. Celtic were relieved to go into half-time ahead.

The second half saw a controversial start as Spurs thought they had equalised after Gresham raced through and slotted past Grant. The celebrations were short lived as referee Mark Goodhand consulted with linesman Colin Grant and disallowed the goal for Gresham being offside. The Spurs frustration could be clearly heard on the touchline.

Lewis Kay of Spurs had a great run from his own half and fired narrowly over, Dominic Mann fired wide then Josie Kay missed a great chance to equalise as Paul Grant made a point blank save.

Celtic had a great chance to double their lead when Aitken sent Jordan Webb clean through but Bobby Wiseman in the Spurs goal saved low to his right.

Gresham had the chance to level when sent clean through but Grant was again up to the task. With Spurs pressing Lowrie Simpson found space behind the Spurs defence but Wiseman saved again with the Celtic forward clean through on goal.

Just as it looked like Celtic were going to hold on Gresham swooped on a loose ball in the Celtic box and fired a tremendous volley into the top corner to earn Spurs a deserved draw. Joel Bradley was injured as the goal went in and Celtic saw out the final few minutes with 10 men.

Credit must go to both teams who served up a tremendous match played at great pace with much skill on offer which was appreciated by the large crowd. A mention must also go to Goodhand who kept control of the game and communicated well with the players.

Spurs will feel they did more than enough to win the game with Josie Kay and James Johnston bossing the midfield and Ward showing his skill on the left and the pace of Gresham always a threat up front.

The young Celtic side will now look forward to a home semi-final and will have learned that they must retain possession better when up against the top teams. Grant was in superb form and backed up by Simpson and Bradley in the centre of defence.

Thistle 4, Scalloway 9

Defensive mix-ups were the order of the day at Clickimin as a potent Scalloway attack came close to racking up double figures against a Thistle side missing goalkeeper Steven Henry and their first-choice centre-back pairing.

The sides were fairly evenly matched for the first hour, with sharp-shooting young Scalloway forward Scott Henderson opening the scoring early on.

Thistle swiftly drew level when Craig Gerty played a one-two with Neil Riddell before coolly placing a right-footed shot into the top corner. Gerty then put the Jags in front, sliding in at the back post to convert a fine cross from youngster Jack Clubb.

In what was increasingly coming to resemble a basketball match, Scalloway levelled through Gary Burns after he outwitted a hesitant-looking Thistle defence to slot past stand-in goalkeeper Iain “Pundie” Smith.

Henderson restored Scalloway’s advantage, getting on the end of a fast-flowing move involving Laurence Pearson and Steven Umphray to bullet a header into the corner for the finest of the evening’s 13 goals.

Both sides were creating chances with an alarming frequency as far as defenders were concerned, with Scalloway goalkeeper Bryan Johnson saving well from Riddell before the same player found an equaliser.

With half time approaching Pearson edged Scalloway back in front following yet another defensive lapse. Right on the stroke of half time Henderson completed his hat trick from close range after Thistle failed to clear a cross, leaving the villagers 5-3 up at the interval.

Thistle looked to be back in the match early in the second half when an ill-advised tackle on Stuart Smith gave them a penalty, which was coolly dispatched by Riddell for his second. But the home side then unravelled in quite spectacular fashion, Henderson adding a fourth and Steven Umphray putting them 7-4 ahead.

Gerty struck the inside of the post from 20 yards with Johnson beaten, but within seconds Scalloway had a penalty after Burns was sent flying in the box by Smith. Robert Garrick sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot, before adding his second and his side’s ninth shortly before referee Derrick Bradley put the Jags out of their misery by blowing the final whistle.

Madrid Cup Group Two

Whitedale 4, Ness United 1

Ness United began the game missing some key players but nevertheless the home side did not have it all their own way as the scoreline may suggest.

Both teams could have opened the scoring in the first few minutes with Whitedale’s Duncan Anderson outpacing the full back only to drag his shot wide of goal. Soon after Kyle Malcolmson’s effort came close after the Whitedale defence failed to clear their lines.

On eight minutes Whitedale’s left back Richard Sinclair combined well with Paul Molloy with Sinclair’s shot hitting the upright.

The breakthrough came for Whitedale in the 25th minute when a through ball from Anderson found Molloy at the edge of the box and his angled shot opened the scoring. Ness came close shortly afterwards as Barry Martin’s header from a corner kick dipped over the crossbar.

Just before half time a weaving run from Molloy found Piotr Drozdowski at the far post to make it 2-0.

Four minutes into the second half Whitedale put together the best passing move of the game, ending with a cool finish from Jamie Wilson under the keeper.

In the 70th minute a great crossfield ball from Alex White found Martin in space to shoot but his effort was straight at the Whitedale keeper Martin Young.

Ness, to their credit, pinned Whitedale well into their own half and got their reward when a Martin cross from the right was met by Ian Bray who took his goal well.

The goal woke Whitedale up and a great strike from Drozdowski was superbly pushed around the post by Eric Peterson in the Ness goal.

Whitedale finished the game with a minute left when a Drozdowski cross found the net after a skirmish in front of goal.

Although Ness were understrength they put up a creditable performance with Leigh Smith, John Robert Burgess and newcomer Martin showing his pace will cause teams problems this season.

Whitedale’s best on the night were Drozdowski, Brian Duncan, who never put a foot wrong, and Sinclair who was outstanding once again.

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Spurs 1, Celtic 1

With a strong wind at their backs, Spurs started the brighter of the two with James Johnston pulling the strings in midfield. Celtic could not live with the quick play and neat possession football at times from the men in white.

Half-chances fell to Shane Jamieson then Sam Goudie but neither could make Paul Grant work in the Celtic goal. Grant was called into action, however, when Josie Kay found space in the box but his weak shot was gathered easily by the keeper.

The Spurs dominance paid off after half an hour when Jamieson picked the ball up in his own half and glided majestically past three defenders. He picked out hit man Dominic Mann who found himself free in the box and the former Celt finished off neatly.

Spurs pressed for a second but it was the fast-breaking Celtic that created the next best chance. Jordan Webb’s shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Bobby Wiseman who tipped the ball onto the bar.

Just before the break Sam Ward made a mazy run but his shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Grant.

After the break Celtic came into the game more and started creating a few chances of their own. Lowrie Simpson turned well on the edge of the box but his shot went wide. Substitute Sam Wood then found the equaliser as he finished well after the Spurs back line were at sixes and sevens.

Josie Kay then found space in the box but could get his shot away fast enough. Lewis Kay then came close with a header but could not direct it goal wards.

Both teams went looking for a winner but neither could find the finishing touch both teams will require if they are to win silverware this year.

Best for Spurs Lewis Kay, Sam Ward and Dominic Mann while for Celtic Paul Grant had a good game.

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