Grogan’s heroes squeeze out Burra but they turn it on for title
Whitedale 7, Burra 6
THE TWO perennial rivals of Shetland Women’s football served up yet another action packed match at Strom last Sunday evening.
Almost from the kick off Burra opened the scoring after a cross from Henderson dropped kindly for Emma Gray to bundle the ball home.
Despite this setback Whitedale settled down and started to play passing, controlled football and within 30 mins were 3-1 ahead thanks to two goals from Walterson and a fine header from Lynda Flaws.
Burra showed their own determination and came back into it through a long range effort from Henderson. Walterson restored the margin to two goals before Emma Gray stuck a 20-yarder in the bottom corner to leave the contest finely balanced at 4-3 for Whitedale going into half time.
The second half saw more quality but fewer goals. Whitedale’s central midfield pair of Grogan and MacKelvie were now dominating this area of the park and the home side seemed happy to reduce the pace of the game and retain possession. From this style of play many goal scoring opportunities were created. Unfortunately for Whitedale, goalkeeper Sarah Couper was outstanding during this period and seemed to take up perfect position continuously to deny Whitedale with several top class saves.
Not scoring during periods of dominating play usually returns to haunt teams. So it was when Burra broke forward for Henderson to equalise. This goal lifted Burra and the pattern of the game reverted to the frenetic pace of the first half.
Whitedale then went ahead again through Jessica Bradley only to be pegged back again by Gray’s third. Whitedale thought they had clinched it when Julie Kirkness jinked her way past the keeper for number six. However Burra refused to accept defeat and again Gray was on hand to round the home keeper for her fourth.
With the day rapidly turning to night, car headlights illuminated Walterson’s winner following a Bradley rebound off the bottom left hand post. There was only time for Burra to kick off before the referee blew for full time and brought the excitement to an end.
Whitedale take no honours this season and were unable to win the league. Therefore they were able to relax and play a lot of football. Burra are still in with a strong shout for the league and nerves were perhaps a bit fraught as they pursued a more direct route to goal. It was an intriguing contrast of styles which provided excellent entertainment for the strong turnout of spectators.
Best for Whitedale were the old hands of Leask, Mackelvie, Walterson and Indiya Bradley. Lynda Flaws also carried considerable threat with her skilful play. Burra were able to thank Kristan Robertson and Sarah Couper for formidable performances which frustrated Whitedale’s attacks. Emma Gray also remained a constant worry to the Whitedale defence. However player of the match was definitely Sarah Grogan who displayed peak fitness and technique to cover every area of the park in a near perfect central midfield performance.
Delting 3, Burra 7
Burra clinched the Shetland Women’s League title with a hard fought victory over Delting in Brae.
Delting started playing into the strong headwind but were the brighter of the two teams and went close on a number of occasions, although they couldn’t break the deadlock.
Gemma Leask opened the scoring for Burra against the run of play with a perfectly executed lob after 20 minutes. Emma Gray then scored a quickfire double to put Burra on easy street. Andrea Henderson got in on the scoring act to increase the deficit.
Delting were still creating chances, but the final killer touch was deserting them. The Delts finally got the goal they deserved when Sara Macgregor bundled in a Karen Jarvie cross to pull one back before half time.
With the wind at their backs in the second half Delting were shooting from distance, but were encountering Sarah Couper in fine form. On the counter Emma Gray was always looking dangerous and on one such attack she went by a couple of defenders and applied a neat finish. Delting were playing some very intricate passing football particularly down the left hand side with Megan Burns, Jarvie and Josie Jamieson linking well. One such move resulted in Toni Sidgwick threading the ball through the eye of a needle for Amber Johnson to side foot home. This galvanised the Delts and they continued to push forward but were caught again on the counter with Gray powering home a perfect Henderson cross.
Josie Jamieson curled in a superb effort against her former side to pull another one back for Delting before Henderson completed the scoring with a belter of a finish.
A very entertaining game on show in Brae, with both sides showing high levels of ability. Delting can count themselves unlucky to have finished the losing side in this encounter and if they had taken their chances when presented to them, the scoreline could have been much different. Burra, however, are deservedly the league champions and their clinical finishing, particularly by Emma Gray is so often the difference in these sort of games.