22nd April 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Blues lose 2-1 to Aland despite last-gasp penalty

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Shetland are to face old rivals Orkney in Gotland after missing out on a chance of the medal places.

The blues lost out 2-1 to Aland in the late night kick-off on Tuesday.

A last gasp penalty from captain Leighton Flaws, hammered into the top corner helped to narrow the margin, though it wasn’t enough to claw back the points.

Bristow’s side started brightly, and looked hungry to take the lead.

Despite playing three games in three days there was a tenacity and urgency to their play.

James Aitken was on the ball early doors, making runs into the final third and pushing passes to the flanks.

And Joel Bradley and Richard Arthur stood strong against the early pressure.

Aland looked tidy, and both teams were looking to weave passes through the rearguard.

Thirteen minutes into the game Flaws curled a ball into the box, Arthur rose high but was unable to make contact with the cross.

The game became more fluid as it wore on and despite Shetland offering more creatively they couldn’t quite get off the mark.

A long throw into the danger area caused Shetland problems. Bobbling around the box, and off keeper Grant Wood’s crossbar, it was quickly snapped up and prodded home on the half hour mark.

It was against the run of play as Shetland had looked the more likely to score.

Aland dragged a shot, low and wide minutes later in search of a second.

Shetland pushed for an equaliser before the break but got no reward.

The second 45 saw Bristow shuffle his attacking options. Sam Maver was the first of his substitutions, with Peter Drozdowski making way at the back.

Maver was showing plenty of bite and creativity, twisting and turning and showing great hold-up play.

Aland were not giving way to the pressure though and headed a corner high over the bar on 56 minutes.

Shetland again looked to fresh legs with Greg Tulloch and Richard Sinclair entering the fray for Gary Sutherland and Jack Clubb.

Tulloch’s turn of pace nearly brought Shetland a goal an hour in, as he rushed to get the ball and nick it beyond the keeper, however he dived low to smother the threat.

Shetland continued to press, to no joy.

And Aland could have had another if it were not for Arthur who cleared the ball only inches away from the line on 75 minutes.

The boys were briefly down to 10 men after Joel Niven got a nasty elbow to the face, though he soldiered on after a quick patch up in the dugout.

Minutes later Aland made it two after a stabbed ball in the box crept under Wood.

Aland were on th hunt for a third and Wood made a fine save in the dying embers of the game tipping the ball over the bar from close range.

Aitken’s industrious play paid off as he shielded the ball in the box and was brought down with minutes left on the clock.

Flaws made no mistake and sent a thunderbolt into the top corner.

Shetland tried to level but the ref blew the whistle, despite Bristow feeling there was still time left on the clock.

Shetland will now play Orkney on Thursday in the play-off places.

 

About Adam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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