Shetland 5, Orkney 1
SHETLAND took early control and had two good headed chances in the first five minutes. Ross Irvine was at the end of both, the first effort from a Shane Jamieson cross being cleared off the line and the second going wide.
Orkney had their first pop at goal from a set piece on seven minutes from what looked like a soft free kick award. It came to nothing as it was directed directly into the safe hands of Kyle Duncan in goal.
Shetland were passing well and the lively Sam Goudie played in Danny Finnie. The big striker’s volley from the edge of the box was well saved by Gary Wilson in the Orkney goal, diving full length to turn the ball round the post.
The Shetland back three were very comfortable and any forays the reds had were dealt with, the passing football beginning at the back as defenders, midfielders and front men linked seamlessly.
In the 20th minute Goudie saw his good effort from 18 yards ping back off the bar just before the inevitable first goal. A free kick 25 yards out was floated in by Shane Jamieson and Finnie flicked it home with his right foot past a helpless keeper.
Tomas Smith saw an effort saved and Connor Muchmore’s drive slipped past the post as Shetland piled on the pressure. Some of the blues, both on and off the park, shouted for a penalty as Irvine went down in the box but referee Dave Ferrier, who handled well throughout, was correct to not award the spot kick.
A couple of wrong options at crucial moments squandered further goalscoring chances. Continual pressing forward without adding to the score can be dangerous and with 90 seconds to go to the break it almost cost Shetland dearly. An Orkney defender sent a long ball through, which was misjudged by a flat defence, and Ali Scott raced through on goal but Duncan met him at the edge of the box and spared the defence’s blushes.
As is almost a written law, Shetland went straight up the park and scored. A free kick awarded on the left edge of the penalty area was swung in by Shane Jamieson. It deceived everyone as it bounced in the six yard box and went in at the far post to give the home side a 2-0 interval lead.
The second period followed the same pattern as the first with just a little twist. Thorfinn Stout cleared a cross from under the noses of the in-rushing blue shirts, Tomas Smith saw a header from a Goudie cross cleared off the line, and Ross Irvine, put through by Finnie, sent a drive over before Orkney drew a goal back.
Marcus Guthrie sent a long pass to the feet of Stout wide left, Orkney’s best player of the evening beat his man and his cross was deflected off a defender past Duncan in the home goal. It had to be Stout’s goal otherwise the subtle volleyball attempts of the incoming striker would have led to it being chalked off.
This jolted Shetland into further action. Scott Evans, switched to the right of a reshuffled back three due to the unfortunate incident that robbed Shetland of the services of vice-captain Colin Anderson, saw an effort tipped over the bar before the decisive third hit the net.
A corner from Goudie hit the back of Tomas Smith’s head and hit the net from six yards; he made the good run and jump but knew little of the finish.
The industrious David Thomson was replaced by Connor Regan after 60 minutes as Shetland found more fresh impetus. The assured Robert Smith broke free from centre back and his run resulted in a corner which itself trundled through the six yard box unhindered.
With 18 minutes remaining Shetland killed the game as a contest. Finnie floated an inch-perfect free kick from wide left into the box and the second headed goal of the night from Smith was cheese if the first was chalk, as he ghosted among a rooted defence and sent a great effort past the keeper to make it 4-1.
Five minutes later Irvine completed the home scoring when he slotted a shot past the keeper from a Muchmore defence-splitting pass for 5-1.
Orkney came close to grabbing a second consolation when Ali Scott was first to a through ball but Smith covered well and cleared from the base of the left post.
Bringing on further fresh legs, in the shape of Stuart Lavender and Daniel Johnston for Goudie and Finnie, did nothing to ease Orkney’s plight as Shetland played out the last 10 minutes predominantly in the visitors’ half.
The Orkney players never gave up and have to be praised for their efforts. They were best served by Stout, Guthrie, Alex Bews and keeper Wilson while the home side had no failings among the whole squad.
Captain Connor Muchmore was presented with the football trophy by SIC convener Sandy Cluness. After congratulating Shetland on their efforts he empathised with Orkney, saying he knew how they felt after suffering a similar fate in a junior inter-county match he had played in.