Shetland 2, Deveronvale 1
A LATE goal from young Whalsay forward Ross Irvine was enough to give Shetland’s footballers a narrow, but just about merited, victory over Deveronvale on Saturday afternoon.
It was only in the closing stages that the game threatened to set the pulses racing, with Deveronvale – playing their first game in a couple of months – seeming to tire as Shetland created a host of chances in the final 15 minutes.
They got their reward when, with just a minute or so left on the clock, a searching through ball from substitute Allistair Johnson found his Whalsay teammate Irvine and, having missed a couple of good opportunities shortly before, the youngster kept his cool to slot the ball under the advancing goalkeeper to secure the Friendship Trophy for the men in blue.
Up until then, large chunks of the game had been rather stale with much of the action being played out either in the air or in the congested midfield area, but what good passing there was on show was generally provided by the home side, with some neat interchanges between Karl Williamson and James Johnston.
Shetland had initially taken the lead midway through the first half when Johnston coolly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way after referee Gary McCarthy correctly ruled that a Deveronvale defender had blocked a Scott Morrison effort with his raised right arm.
It took a bit of a howler from home goalkeeper Paul Grant for Deveronvale to get level, after he fumbled a routine cross in the 57th minute, allowing a visiting forward to nod the ball into the empty net. It was a disappointing moment for the otherwise assured Celtic goalkeeper but his blushes were spared when Irvine struck late on.
It is difficult to drawn too many conclusions from the game, especially given that Deveronvale’s players have been out of action for some time, while the visitors were also missing a few key men. But manager John Johnson will have been particularly heartened by the energy and determination of Ross Moncrieff at left back, while Irvine’s lively running as a second half substitute caused the visitors’ centre backs ‘good in the air but less good on the floor’ all manner of problems.