Football players off and running

Shetland senior football team played two matches on the mainland last weekend, drawing with Fife junior team Oakley United and losing 4-1 to Scottish league side Montrose’s second string.

Oakley United 2, Shetland 2

Shetland kicked off their first game of the season into a strong wind, on a pitch that had been well used over the winter months.

The first real chance of the match fell to Gary Burns, who was unlucky to see his strike rise over the bar. Some good work from Leighton Flaws and Duncan Anderson down the right led to some other opportunities, but it was Oakley who opened the scoring.

A corner from the left was well worked to the edge of the box, where an Oakley midfielder hit an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner.

Oakley were preferring a route one policy, and goalkeeper Erik Peterson had some fine saves to keep the score at 1-0. The pitch was causing as many problems as the opposition, and Shetland could not find any tempo to their passing. The half finished with a chance for Oakley, with Peterson again saving well when a goal looked on.

Shetland started the second half brightly and were unlucky not to score from a set piece when Alan Duncan’s effort sailed over the bar.

There was a shock for Shetland when Oakley scored a second goal in somewhat bizarre fashion. Assistant manager Peter Peterson, drafted into the side due to a player shortage, attempted a back pass which hit a bump and bounced over keeper Peterson’s foot, presenting the Oakley striker with the easiest of tap-ins.

The setback appeared to spur Shetland on, and they took control of the game. A great Josie Kay corner was scrambled clear, and Flaws scored direct from the resulting corner. The game really opened up after that, with substitute Scott Morrison causing problems down the left. Paul Molloy was unlucky not to score after brilliantly turning his man and unleashing a great strike that went inches wide.

Shetland were now pressing for the equaliser and their superior fitness was telling. Several more corners resulted in a goalmouth scramble, with Molloy netting the equaliser.

With time running out Shetland just couldn’t find a winner, and in the end Oakley would have been happier to hear the final whistle.

There were notable performances from Peterson and Duncan, with the conditions not helping.

Shetland: Erik Peterson; Leigh­ton Flaws, Merv Jamieson, Lewis Kay, Peter Peterson; Josie Kay (Scott Morrison), Alan Duncan, Karl Williamson, Duncan Anderson; Gary Burns (Paul Molloy), Ross MacDougall. Unused substitute: Craig Dinwoodie.

Montrose Reserves 4, Shetland 1

Shetland made three changes from the previous day with keeper Craig Dinwoodie, midfielder James Johnston and striker Paul Molloy starting.

The game began at a frantic pace, just the type of game manager John Jamieson had wanted. The artificial surface at Links Park suited both teams’ slick passing, with the opening phase of play fairly even.

Montrose made their presence known with some heavy challenges. Unfortunately the referee struggled to keep up with play, and these all went unpunished. Chances were rare with both defences playing well, and only a Molloy snapshot was to show for the first 30 minutes of play.

The half wore on with both teams struggling to create any clear opportunities, and Shetland would have felt unfortunate to go into half time 1-0 down. Montrose won a corner, and scored in a similar fashion to Oakley the previous day, again with a great strike.

Joe Leask came on for Molloy in the second period, but before he even had a touch, Montrose scored a clearly offside second. This brought a bit more urgency from Shetland, with Karl Williamson and Johnston starting to dictate play in midfield. It was from a good Johnston run that a penalty was awarded, with the midfielder dusting himself down to convert. Leask then had a great opportunity to equalise, and will feel disappointed to have struck the ball wide.

The game could have gone either way at this point, but with Shetland pressing for an equaliser Montrose broke away to put themselves two up again. With Shetland bringing on Scott Morrison, Josie Kay and Gary Burns, a late goal looked possible, but it was Montrose who scored it. A good break down the left was squared with the striker left with the easiest of chances to knock the ball home.

There were good performances from Merv Jamieson, James Johnston and the hard-working Ross MacDougall, with Lewis Kay doing very well on his debut for Shetland in both games.

Shetland: Craig Dinwoodie; Leighton Flaws, Merv Jamieson, Lewis Kay, Peter Peterson (Josie Kay); Alan Duncan, Karl Williamson, James Johnston, Duncan Anderson (Scott Morrison); Paul Molloy (Joe Leask) (Gary Burns), Ross MacDougall.

Manager Jamieson said he was pleased with the workout, with plenty of positives to be taken from the weekend. He said: “With a few call offs and players unavailable, it was a good chance to see what the players who had trained hard over the last couple of months can do. The Montrose score slightly flattered the home team, but Shetland will need to be more clinical in front of goal in the next match against a tough Western Isles team in April.”


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