DELTING took a huge step towards retaining the Premier League football title by defeating nearest challengers Whalsay by a solitary goal at Symbister last Friday. In the other matches a strong second-half performance by Celtic put paid to Thistle, while Spurs and Unst had close victories over Yell and Ness respectively.
Whalsay 0, Delting 1
Both teams took to the field with as near to full strength teams as they could muster for an eagerly-awaited clash which would go a long way to deciding the league.
Whalsay started well and for the first 15 minutes enjoyed a fair amount of possession but couldn’t really make any impression on a steady Delting defence. The away side started to gain more control and with the youthful running of Fraser Hall were starting to create a few chances.
Delting took the lead after 25 minutes. Ross McDougal ran into space past a high defensive line then squared the ball to Hall whose shot struck the post but rebounded into the path of the onrushing Leighton Flaws and he made no mistake, smashing the ball past keeper Grant Thomson.
Delting continued to press and Hall had a decent chance from 10 yards out but he screwed his shot wide and the same player was on the end of a cross moments later but his header went inches over the bar.
The half-time whistle sounded shortly after much to the relief of the home team.
The second half saw Delting continue to look dangerous and Hall was once again in the thick of it. This time he beat the keeper to a through ball but his effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Richard Arthur.
Whalsay were starting to make some inroads and won a free kick some 25 yards out. Ian Simpson produced a great effort that curled over the wall, hit the inside of the post, skidded across the face of goal but somehow stayed out.
Michael Williamson was causing problems for the Delting defence too and when a mix-up presented him with a chance he headed past keeper Craig Dinwoodie only for Kevin Main to clear off the line.
Williamson then found space inside the box but his volleyed effort was well saved by Dinwoodie.
The county keeper was kept on his toes again moments later when Allister Johnson tried to beat him at his near post, this time producing a fine block to deny Whalsay the equaliser.
This was Johnson’s last effort as moments later he had to leave the field with a recurrence of a shoulder injury.
Then followed the most controversial moment when Williamson, chasing a long kick from the Whalsay keeper, looked to be fouled inside the area. With the home support screaming for a penalty referee Steven Goodlad waved play on.
Delting were still dangerous and Ross McDougal nearly doubled their lead, running past the defence and beating the keeper to the ball but his attempted lob sailed wide.
Williamson almost scored with Whalsay’s last chance. The ball was played back behind him in the box and he showed good skill to get his shot away but it sailed inches over the bar.
Substitute Stuart Lavender also had a good chance for Delting but he pulled his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.
The result puts Delting within touching distance of another league title.
Yell 1, Spurs 2
Spurs took the lead when a free kick was spilled by Matthew Saunders in goal and Ally Graham was first to react and tap in.
Yell came into the game and made some good chances. Ranald Wilkie played a great through ball to Lee Jamieson who saw his shot turned on to the post by stand-in keeper Shane Jamieson.
Lee Jamieson had a couple of free kicks saved by the Spurs keeper but he levelled things for Yell before half time with a thunderbolt.
The second half started with Spurs slightly on top but unable take the lead, Josie Kay and Alan Page both having shots well saved by Saunders.
A mix up in the Spurs defence allowed Edward Nicolson to latch on to the loose ball and bear down on goal only to see the keeper save possibly Yell’s best chance of the half.
Spurs got the winner 10 minutes before the end when Page turned neatly inside the box to finish in the bottom corner. Spurs were lucky to win in a very even match.
Thistle 3, Celtic 6
Celtic opened the scoring in the first minute when Lowrie Simpson headed home a cross from the left. Thistle’s response was almost instant when the Celtic defence failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Kevin Teale who rifled the ball home from the edge of the penalty area.
Thistle then had most of the territorial advantage but failed to take advantage of the chances that came their way. They were unlucky when Paul Grant failed to hold a Scott Morrison free kick and Colin Bragg knocked the ball into the net, another player being adjudged offside.
Richard Manson hit the bar, while Neil Riddell beat the keeper only to see his effort scraped of the line.
Riddell eventually converted a penalty after 42 minutes to give Thistle the lead they deserved but Lowrie Simpson equalised just before the break as the home defence stood off, giving him far too much room.
Celtic gained the upper hand early in the second half when unlike Thistle in the first half they took their chances.
Simpson completed his hat trick from just inside the penalty box and then Ross Moncrieff was on hand to score when the Thistle defence failed to deal with a simple through ball.
Celtic’s best move saw Joe Leask released down the right and Dominic Mann was on hand to knock in his low driven cross.
Craig Gerty pulled a goal back for Thistle when he poked home a cross from close range but Celtic had the final say when the Thistle defence contrived to give the ball away and Lowrie Simpson knocked the ball home.
Best for Celtic was John Simpson who outshone his younger team mates while for the home side Kevin Teale showed why he has become a regular for the county side.
Ness United 2, Unst 3
The Ness goals came from James Moncrieff and a Paul Henderson own goal while Unst won the game through two from Erik Thomson and one from Bruce Johnson.