25th February 2018
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Spurs go on rampage against town rivals Thistle

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The Madrid Cup group matches saw a goal glut over the past week with Spurs thrashing hapless town rivals Thistle by double figures and Whalsay putting seven past Whitedale who then recovered remarkably themselves to score nine against Celtic.

Delting maintained their return to form with two wins to qualify from group one along with Spurs while Whalsay look likely to be joined from Whitedale from group two in the semi-finals.

Madrid Cup
(Group One)

Ness United 0, Spurs 1
Connel Gresham’s goal separated the sides in a tense battle at Boddam.

Thistle 0, Delting 3
Thistle met Delting for the second time in five days and were keen to improve on their previous defeat in Brae. They started much stronger and sharper as the previous encounter and were enjoying the majority of the possession. Delting too were playing some good attacking football and with Ross MacDougal back they were always capable of scoring.

For all Thistle’s possession they could not open up a stubborn Delting defence and instead it was the visitors who opened the scoring. A well-placed effort from Kevin Main following a corner found its way through a ruck of players and past Scott Nicolson in goal.

The first half finished at 1-0 and the teams reappeared for the second period determined to clinch victory. The pattern of play closely resembled that of the first half with Thistle doing well to break up Delting’s attacks and control the middle third of the pitch, while Delting looked sharp in attack and comfortable in their defending third.

The turning point came around the hour mark when Thistle passed up their best chance of the match. A well-worked flowing attack allowed Calum Johnson a clear shot at goal from 12 yards but the keeper smothered the shot and Delting cleared the danger.

From the resultant clearance Delting forced a throw-in and from this Leighton Flaws launched a trademark long throw which was flicked on and smartly finished by Main. It was a well-worked move but one which should have been dealt with better by the Thistle rearguard.

To Thistle’s credit they kept up the pressure and were creating more and more opportunities to test the big Delting keeper. Stuart Smith broke through the defence only to see his left-foot effort cannon off the post and away.

Delting weathered the storm and finished the scoring with 10 minutes to play through a great strike from MacDougal. Swivelling with his back to goal he placed a cracking effort over Nicolson and into the far top corner.

Overall the Thistle performance had improved considerably since their previous encounter and they will be pleased with many aspects of their play. Delting will be delighted to gain a victory and seal their place in the semi-finals of the cup.

Delting 5, Ness United o
Delting turned in a good second-half performance to win after a tight first half ended up 0-0.
Second half goals came from Ross Jamieson, Ross MacDougall, Merv Jamieson, Ross Jamieson and Peter Peterson who scored his 200th goal for the club.

Spurs 10, Thistle 0
On a near perfect night for football at Seafield on Monday, Thistle fielded a very young side to challenge their old town rivals who had already secured their semi-final place.

Spurs did not take long to put Thistle on the back foot and good work from James Johnston found Connel Gresham who weaved his way into the box and finished with ease. Spurs were two up shortly afterwards when Scott Morrison finished well after good build-up play.

Spurs at this point looked like they would run riot but some dogged defending kept them at bay until the last 10 minutes of the half when Gresham popped up with another mazy run and finish.

The last goal of the half came from Spurs centre-forward Alan Page, who turned brilliantly about 30 yards out, beat three men and finished under the advancing keeper for the goal of the game.

The second half started with Spurs again putting the Thistle back line under a lot of pressure. The fifth goalĀ  came through the hard-working Sam Ward when he ghosted past two defenders to finish past the young Thistle keeper. The sixth and seventh goals came in quick succession, both from the industrious Gresham.

Spurs made three substitutions with about half an hour to go and it was one of the replacements, Ian Goodlad, who popped up with a cool finish to score his first A team goal.

Ward added the ninth and his second with about 10 minutes to go after a clever bit of skill saw him one-on-one with the keeper. His finish from a tight angle had the Thistle back line looking dejected. The scoring was completed by another substitute, Sean Maver, who rifled into the roof of the net after a good move.

The scoreline did not flatter Spurs but the young Thistle side should be credited for their effort. They simply found Spurs playing some of the best football they have played this season.

Best for Spurs were Gresham, Ward and Johnston, the latter at the heart of most of the play. For Thistle, Stevie Michael and Scott Evans deserve a mention for their never-say-die attitude.

Madrid Cup
(Group Two)

Celtic 2, Scalloway 0
Celtic took the scalp of Scalloway for the second time in a week on Friday, this time without allowing the village side the head start they had in the last outing.

With two minutes played the unlucky Ryan Grant hobbled off with a slight hamstring pull to be replaced by Glenn Henderson at left back. The enforced change was not all bad news though as four minutes later Henderson opened the scoring. A good flowing move down the left saw Lowrie Simpson and Aitken interchanging before the latter found Henderson on the edge of the box and the wide man curled a right-footed effort beyond the despairing reach of Bryan Johnson in the village goal.

Scalloway began to edge back into the game and were dominating the central areas. With 20 minutes on the clock Grant Gilfillan’s header at the back post from a corner on the right hit the crossbar on its way across the six-yard box and out of play.

Jamie Duffy’s footwork open the door for Justin Watson on the edge of the penalty area but his drive inched past the keeper’s right-hand post.

Celtic went looking for a penalty kick with 10 minutes left of the first half clock but Bruce Crossan’s claims were muted and waved away.

Celtic upped their game in the second half. They had fallen away after taking the lead in the first period but Scalloway were not without good chances to get back on even terms.

Scott Henderson saw his effort come back off the bar in the 55th minute. Had that gone in it may have been game on, as it was Celtic punished them 10 minutes later and secured the win. From a throw-in on the right touchline Jordan Simpson launched the ball into the penalty area, Watson flicked it towards the goal and Lowrie Simpson nipped in to clip the ball past the sprawling keeper.

Robert Garrick had a god shot saved well and Duncan Cumming’s strike sailed over from the edge. In truth Scalloway were resorting to shots from distance when perhaps the wide ball or through pass would have presented greater dividends.

Celtic had the last chance and Lowrie Simpson almost scored a carbon copy of his first, clipping a good cross from young Ryan Wood just past the far post.

The home side deserved the win and in Bruce Crossan, Fin Watt, James Aitken and Lowrie Simpson had the better performances on the night. It was a big improvement from a Scalloway side which pushed Celtic all the way with veteran Gilfillan and young Andrew Flett standing out.

Whalsay 7, Whitedale 1
After the disapointment from the last tie between these two, it was Whalsay who ran out comfortable winners this time out.

After a slow start Whitedale’s Jamie Wilson had the best of the early chances, his header from a corner going narrowly over from close range.

Whalsay started to settle and after 20 minutes took the lead through some great work by Ian Simpson, whose mazy run opened up the defence. He squared the ball for James Shearer who placed it into the corner to give keeper Martin Young no chance.

Whalsay’s second came from a fine opportunist piece of play from Bryan Irvine, the wide man taking advantage following an attempted clearance, nipping in front of the keeper to touch home.

Irvine scored his side’s third after good work from James Shearer set him free down the right and he cut inside before smashing an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

With the last move of the first half, Whalsay more or less sewed up the game with a fourth and Bryan Irvine was again on the score sheet to complete his hat trick. Allister Johnson picked him out with a great lofted ball that landed between the defence and the keeper and he made no mistake, rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into the empty net.

The second half saw Whitedale come more into the game and they almost pulled a goal back through Paul Molloy. He had a good run and shot, which had to be dealt with by the Whalsay keeper and from the resultant corner Duncan Fraser powered in a header. Alistair Johnson was on hand though to block on the line and then clear the ball from Donald Willmore who looked ready to smash it into the net.

Whalsay did eventually find their game and it was Irvine again, this time with his fourth. After Young did well to save his initial effort he headed in the rebound to put his side 5-0 ahead.

With 15 minutes to go Whalsay were awarded a penalty after a rash challenge gave debutant referee Daniel Mainland no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped James Shearer to score his second goal, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Shearer scored his hat trick after Irvine was chopped down outside the box and he curled in a great free kick from 25 yards, sending the ball just inside the post.

Although Whalsay scored seven it was Gary Tulloch’s solitary late strike for Whitedale that is a contender for goal of the season. The midfielder intercepted a pass just inside the Whalsay half and thumped the ball goalwards. Despite the best efforts of Whalsay substitute keeper Stuart Manson, the ball clipped the underside of the bar on its way into the goal for a strike that David Beckham would have been proud of.

Scalloway 2, Whalsay 2
After a frantic opening period Scalloway were first to settle with Steven Umphray and Robert Garrick, in particular, causing problems for the Whalsay rearguard.

Quick counter attacks by Whalsay saw Bryan Irvine burst through on goal on two occasions but both times he was denied by brave challenges from Scalloway keeper Bryan Johnson.

Midway through the half Scalloway opened the scoring when Umphray latched on to a pass and placed a shot into the corner.

Scalloway continued to edge the remainder of the first half but were unable to create any clear-cut opportunities.
After the interval a determined Whalsay dominated the early exchanges. As the half progressed the Scalloway defence stood firm with keeper Johnson pulling off a string of outstanding saves. Eventually Whalsay made the breakthrough when Richard Hutchison found space to fire home a cutback.

With 20 minutes remaining Aaron Leask picked up a loose ball in midfield and found Alan Davidson in space. He rolled an inch-perfect pass to Umphray and the striker rounded the keeper and restored the Scalloway lead.

In the closing period Whalsay were awarded an indirect free kick in the penalty after Johnson was judged to have picked up a pass back. However, to Scalloway’s relief Karl Williamson’s curling shot went narrowly wide of the target.

Another free kick just inside the Scalloway half gave Whalsay one last opportunity and this time they found the net after John Montgomery rose to send a looping header into the far top corner to tie the match.

On the night a share of the spoils was probably a fair result with Scalloway shading the first half before Whalsay lifted their game in the second. Best for them were Montgomery and Karl Williamson.

Scalloway will take confidence from a strong team performance with Umphray the pick of the outfield players while keeper Johnson was a clear choice as man of the match.

Whitedale 9, Celtic 1
Celtic scored first through Connor Regan but at half time it was Whitedale who had nudged in front with goals from Paul Molloy and Jamie Wilson.

Whitedale went on a goal spree in the second half with Wilson scoring another three, Molloy a further two, and one each from Richard Sinclair and Jordan Morrison.

For tables, reserve league results and fixtures see The Shetland Times on Friday.

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