Unst blew the senior football title race wide open on Friday by defeating previously unbeaten Delting 3-2 at Baltasound. The champions almost fell again on Monday, but managed to come from behind to win after Scalloway led 2-1 at half time. Elsewhere it was fairly straightforward with wins for Celtic, Spurs and Whalsay over Ness United, Whitedale and Yell respectively.
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Unst 3, Delting 2
An almost full-strength Unst demonstrated that they can be a match for any team in the league with last year’s champions Delting on the end of a shock defeat in Baltasound. The Unst starting 11 welcomed the return of Erik Thomson and Neil Laurenson who spearheaded the attack-minded home formation and gave the Delting defence a torrid time.
Delting started well and looked to be in control in the first 15 minutes. Unst had to weather the early storm and were lucky not be couple down. As the game progressed, however, Unst grew in confidence with Thomson and Laurenson running at the away defence and causing them problems.
It was Erik Thomson who broke the deadlock, jinking his way into the box and through on goal before being sandwiched by two Delting defenders. The result was a penalty which he clinically dispatched into the bottom left corner.
Unst went into half time in buoyant mood though this was quickly nullified in the first few minutes of the second half when Alan Duncan made the most of several poor clearances and expertly curled the bar into the far corner of the goal. Reeling from this early setback, Unst continued to press forward and what followed was a period of counter attacking football by both teams.
The joy Delting received in the first half from Leighton Flaws on the right flank never materialised after the break with Delting opting instead for long balls into the box. Unst’s Darren Thomson made the most out of this tactic by winning most of the high balls that were launched in.
Unst regained the lead when an inswinging David Thomson corner was met by the unmarked Laurenson who powerfully headed the ball past the Delting keeper.
Delting pressed for the equaliser and put several whipped balls into the danger area. Unst were lucky to clear the first few but Peter Peterson pounced to slot home one of the opportunities to make it 2-2. Delting then had another great chance when a fierce goal bound shot had the home fans turning away only for Michael Thomson to touch the ball over the bar in what was the save of the match.
When it looked like a draw was going to be the end result, Unst got the three points with an excellent move and splendid finish. Erik Thomson was once again foraging down the left after a neat through ball and his trickery saw him into the box. A perfectly weighted cutback found brother David who was expertly placed to score into the top right corner. It was a goal fit to win any match and one which demonstrated Unst can be a formidable team at home for any opposition.
Scalloway 2, Delting 4
A strong second-half performance from Delting was enough to see off a determined Scalloway side who led at the break.
The game started at a ferocious pace as both teams looked to the long ball to avoid a congested midfield. It was clear from these early exchanges that Delting enjoyed a considerable height advantage at set pieces and that proved to be decisive. The opening goal arrived when a free kick found Merv Jamieson unmarked at the back post and the defender squared the ball to leave Brydon Mowat with a simple tap in.
Scalloway fought back and gained a deserved equaliser when Steven Umphray slipped the ball inside to David Sjoberg who turned to score from the tightest of angles. With half time approaching David Bisset slipped the ball behind the Delting defence to John Brian Adamson who smashed a shot inside the front post to give the villagers the lead.
In the second half Delting looked to bombard the Scalloway penalty area with high balls at every opportunity and the tactic paid off immediately when Merv Jamieson headed in a Leighton Flaws free kick.
Minutes later an indirect free kick inside the Delting penalty area saw Alan Davidson crash a shot against the defensive wall. A rare moment of hesitation in the Scalloway defence allowed Peter Peterson through on goal and he calmly gave Delting the lead.
Scalloway pressed for an equaliser in the closing period and a blistering Davidson shot from the edge of the area was well saved by Craig Dinwoodie.
With time almost up Delting made the points safe when a long throw was flicked on at the front post and Brydon Mowat reacted well to force the ball home.
Delting deserved their win with Flaws’ set pieces and Merv Jamiesons aerial dominance probably the difference between the teams. With the vocal home crowd containing more central defenders than the team Scalloway deserve great credit for a gutsy defensive display with Magnus Henry, John Leask and Rhydian Reynolds outstanding and striker Alan Davidson also impressing.
Whitedale 3, Spurs 6
Whitedale started the more lively side and played well for the first 20 minutes. They took the lead when Paul Molloy placed his shot over the head of Kyle Duncan in the Spurs goal.
Spurs began to edge their way into the game and were awarded a free kick just outside the Whitedale penalty box.
Shane Jamieson placed his shot to the keeper’s left to level the score.
Soon after Spurs hit form and in the space of 12 minutes found themselves 4-1 up through a Connel Gresham hat trick. Whitedale pulled one back before half time as Molloy scored his second.
The second half did not produce much excitement apart from a couple of good saves from Whitedale keeper Martin Young to keep his side in the game.
Whitedale were handed a glimmer of hope when Piotr Drozowski scored their third, volleying home a cross to the far post.
Spurs were determined not to let another lead slip and finished the game in style with two well-taken goals from Josie Kay and Alan Page.
It was a well-deserved win for a hard-working Spurs side with Shane Jamieson and Connel Gresham playing particularly well.
Yell 0, Whalsay 8
A buoyant Whalsay team turned up at Yell knowing that a win would cut Delting’s lead at the top to just two points.
Karl Williamson scored probably Shetland’s fastest ever goal within seven seconds when straight from kick off a long ball was hit forward. A Yell defender missed the ball and Williamson had the easiest of finishes into the bottom corner.
It was not until the 33rd minute that Whalsay doubled their lead when Bryan Irvine made a powerful run behind the Yell defence to cut the ball back to Davie Williamson who nodded in from six yards.
Laurence Pearson scored two great goals before half time, the best being the second when a misjudged bounce from keeper Stephen Saunders was controlled on Pearson’s knee, and he hit a “Nacho Novo” style shot which hit the underside of the bar and ended up in the net.
Pearson added another two goals after half time, the last of which he curled into the top corner from inside the box.
Stuart Shearer finished off the scoring when he got himself a brace in the last 15 minutes.
Yell did have a couple of chances towards the end, the best falling to Daryl Guthrie who hit a good volley on his wrong foot only to see Grant Thompson make a good save for Whalsay.
Ness United 1, Celtic 4
The game started after a minute’s silence was observed for the late Ronald Burgess and it was the home side had the better of the opening minutes. However, Celtic scored with their first attack when Aly Sim strolled through the centre of defence to slot home the opener.
The rest of the game was reasonably even with Celtic just edging it and they made it two when Justin Watson scored with a fine header direct following a dubious corner.
The second half continued in a similar vain with neither keeper being called upon but when Ness pulled a goal back through John Robert Burgess with 20 minutes left it looked like the home side may get something out of the game.
Unfortunately Ness conceded a soft penalty when scorer Burgess handled in the box and Jordan Webb fired home.
Celtic wrapped up the victory when Webb dispatched the ball low into the corner after some sloppy defending by a tired Ness side.
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Whalsay 3, Celtic 2
Scorers for Whalsay were Ian Anderson (2) and Davie Williamson while Celtic replied through a Paul Leask penalty and Justin Watson.
Spurs 4, Thistle 5
The match was a personal triumph for Thistle defender Gary Teale who took advantage of a chance up front to grab four goals. The Jags’ other scorer was Paul Nicol while Spurs replied with doubles by Adam Sharp and Tomas Sinclair.
Delting 4, Whitedale 2
Delting were buoyed by the return of club captain Kevin Main from injury and defender Ryan Johnson from another stint offshore to take on a slightly understrength Whitedale.
Alister Williamson gave Delting the lead and it shortly became two, Brydon Mouat scoring from the penalty spot after he had been brought down.
Approaching the half hour Delting made it three when Martin Binns played debutant Konrad Wojtowiec in down the right. His centre was met by Main whose effort struck the woodwork before being bundled over the line by Robert Balfour.
Delting added a fourth when substitute George Jamieson’s sublime flick over the defence was controlled by Brian Duncan, who slotting home his second goal in as many games.
Whitedale introduced player/manager Ryan Jozwik and his defence-splitting pass that sent Shayne Robinson clear before calmly finding the back of the net. With five minutes remaining Robinson got Whitedale’s second.
Top scorers Premier League: Paul Molloy (Whitedale) 11; Connel Gresham (Spurs) 10; Ross Macdougall (Delting) 10; Jordan Webb (Celtic) 9; Laurence Pearson (Whalsay) 8.