Senior football’s final knockout competition of the season for the County Shield got under way on Friday and the preliminary round saw Yell suffer a home defeat to Works League visitors Mossbank who clinched the tie with a 7-2 victory.
Whalsay overcame Thistle while Celtic held their nerve to win their tie against town rivals Spurs 5-3 on penalties after the match ended 3-3 in extra time.
Meanwhile Whalsay kept their noses in front in the dash for the league title with a comfortable home win over Yell on Monday and the remaining teams in the top three all recorded home victories to keep their own title aspirations alive.
Yell 2, Mossbank 7
Mossbank booked their place in the next round thanks to an overall good team performance against premier league side Yell.
Mossbank started in a frantic manner, trying to get the ball down and play, while Yell tried to play the ball over the top to their front men.
Mossbank thought they had opened the scoring when Craig Thomson fired the ball across the keeper Matthew Saunders. However, the referee disallowed it.
It wasn’t long before Mossbank did open the scoring when John Hutchison dribbled past the static Yell defence and slotted past the keeper to send the large travelling support into raptures.
Mossbank got their second through Hutcheson again and began to settle, which led to a third when Paul Abbott finished off a great passing move to continue his hot goal scoring streak.
When it looked like Mossbank would stroll into half time with a comfortable lead, Lee Jamieson had other ideas after he powerfully ran through the Mossbank defence and coolly slotted past the on rushing Ben Fulton.
Mossbank increased their lead after the break when a cross in from the left was met by the late run of Craig Sneddon who finshed expertly. That was the killer blow for Yell and they fell even further behind when Sneddon’s midfield partner Nathan McDonald scored an carbon copy of the goal previously.
Jamieson pulled another goal back for Yell before Mikey Forrester got his name on the score sheet with a superb finish.
Mossbank finshed the scoring when makeshift striker Ben Cranie delightfully played through Darren Coutts who made the finish look easy.
In a good team performance for Mossbank it was Hutchison who excelled, while best for Yell were Lee Jamieson and Danny Peterson.
Thistle 1, Whalsay 3
Whalsay kicked off with the wind advantage at Seafield on Friday evening and soon had the home defence under pressure. However, it was Thistle who carved out the first real chance when Craig Gerty headed Scott Evans’ inviting cross just wide.
Laurence Pearson forced a good save from Thistle keeper Steven Henry who tipped away his shot from 25 yards. From the resulting corner the Thistle defence cleared the ball but Stuart Goodlad chipped the ball back into the area and Michael Williamson hit a superb volley from 15 yards into the top corner.
Kevin Teale came nearest to equalising for the home side, placing his shot just wide following another Thistle corner. Whalsay went further ahead when the home defence failed to deal with a wind-assisted through ball and Pearson delicately chipped it into the empty net.
The second half opened with fairly incessant Thistle pressure, Whalsay keeper Grant Thomson having to look lively to turn away a Scott Morrison effort from 30 yards.
The Whalsay defence looked unsure as the wind strengthened and Thistle were back in the game when Scott Morrison fed Craig Gerty who placed his shot in the corner.
Neil Riddell then broke down the left and his cross was met by Stevie Michael whose header came back off the post to Riddell, who placed his shot just wide of the far post.
With the home side pushing up in search of an equaliser there was always a chance they would be caught on the break and so it happened as Williamson played in Pearson to pick his spot.
Thistle continued to press and substitute Maurice Williamson came closest to reducing the lead when his shot across goal scraped the far post.
It was a very entertaining game for the few hardy spectators who braved the weather with the Whalsay veteran strikers taking their chances while the home side were left to rue those they missed.
Celtic 3, Spurs 3
(after extra time, Celtic won 5-3 on penalties)
These two Lerwick sides produced a classic cup tie at Gilbertson Park, a game that had everything and perhaps left Spurs wondering just how, given the balance of play during the 90 minutes at least, they had been knocked out.
Celtic opened the scoring with their first foray forward in the 10th minute. Robert Smith split the defence with a good pass to James Aitken and he slipped the ball over the outrushing Kyle Duncan in the Spurs goal.
Celtic left back Tom Moncrieff then denied Connol Gresham with a timely tackle as Spurs pushed for the equaliser.
Spurs again began to tighten the screw after the break and held the upper hand, drawing level in the 55th minute.
Gresham shot at goal from point blank range, Paul Grant saved very well but the ball spun in the air and the unmarked Alan Page had the easy task of heading home.
In the 60th minute Spurs took the lead for the only time in the game when a David Mann cross from the right fell to Gresham at the back post. His attempt at a scissors kick is one he might want to forget but the ball spun in the air and Page, again unmarked, nodded home from five yards.
Keeper Grant then came to the hoops’ rescue, tipping a fierce Johnston drive over the bar as Spurs tried to kill the tie.
Perhaps sensing things slipping away, Celtic began to drive forward through Joe Leask, Tom Moncrieff and Daniel Johnston and equalised again. Tom Moncrieff swung a great cross into the box and Lewis Kay headed into his own net while trying to clear the danger.
With three minutes left Celtic pulled ahead when the dynamic Joe Leask robbed a Spurs player of the ball, drove forward from halfway leaving defenders in his slipstream, and finished well into the bottom corner past Duncan.
That should have been it but in stoppage time Celtic were awarded a free kick on the corner of the Spurs box and instead of keeping the ball to see out time they tamely gave it away. Johnston picked it up and drove almost 60 yards to the by-line, side-stepping and dummying players as he went, before slipping the ball back to the grateful Page who levelled the scores for his hat trick.
Play was more even during extra time and the final fresh legs were used by the respective managers. The final close shave and the comedy moment of the fixture were saved until the final minutes.
A head knock to Ross Moncrieff, delivered by Lewis Kay, finally resulted in the award of a free kick on the edge of the Spurs box after referee Robbie Goudie correctly waited to see if advantage accrued to Celtic first.
Aitken sent it over the bar but not before Spurs manager Davie Macdonald shouted his wrongly-directed indignation at the man in black and proclaimed to all in the park at the top of his voice that he “was all ears”. Nobody denied that and Goudie met him at the touchline to explain the finer laws of the game.
Page could have wrapped things up for Spurs with a belter of a shot that bounced back off the post with Grant beaten but penalties it was to be. Celtic won that duel with Grant being the hero of the night, saving one while his team mates netted all five.
Best for Spurs were Page, Shane Jamieson and Johnston while Joe Leask, Paul Leask and Paul Grant stood out for Celtic.
Unst 1, Ness United 8
Ness opened the scoring after several defensive errors led to Kyle Malcolmson’s shot being mishandled by keeper Bobby Macaulay and tumbling into the net.
Scott Ferguson made it two when he pounced on a mis-cleared corner, driving it back into the net. The Ness side scored again on the stroke of half time when Kieran Malcolmson was unmarked on the right wing, striking the ball home neatly inside the near post.
Ness continued their attack in the second half, Craig Leslie entering the fray to make it four. Alwyn Flaws made it five before Unst’s David Thomson was brought down by last man James Jamieson, who was red-carded. Thomson stepped up to take the penalty but county keeper Erik Peterson pulled off a great save to keep a clean sheet.
Nothing was going right for Unst and Craig Leslie struck home a Ness penalty after Kevin Priest had tripped an attacker in the box.
Substitute and ex-Unst man Kevin Manson rubbed further salt into the wounds by twice pouncing on defensive errors to make it 8-0. Finally Unst got on the scoresheet with a great left-foot strike from Neil Laurenson flying into the net past a despairing Peterson.
Whalsay 11, Yell 1
Whalsay started well and it only took 10 minutes for the first goal to arrive courtesy of Gary Sandison. Danny Irvine made it two moments later with a sweet left-foot strike from the edge of the area.
Yell battled hard and won a series of free kicks around the Whalsay penalty box but Davie Williamson stood firm in the Whalsay goals.
James Shearer and Laurence Pearson were beginning to click as a forward partnership and it wasn’t long before both players put their names on the scoresheet.
Yell were rewarded for their determination when Lee Jamieson curled an unstoppable free kick into the top corner midway through the half.
Whalsay bounced back with Stuart Shearer adding number five and young James Shearer added his second of the night just before half time.
The forward duo of Pearson and James Shearer were creating a lot of chances and it was no surprise that both players went on to complete their hat tricks after the break. James Shearer then scored his fourth and Gary Sandison, capping a good display on the wing, scored his second to end the scoring.
Delting 6, Scalloway 1
Scalloway played with the wind in the first half and took the lead when Alan Davidson scored from a free kick from 25 yards.
The goal seemed to spring Delting into life and they were soon level when a Leighton Flaws shot took a wicked deflection off a Scalloway defender and flew past the stranded keeper.
This score remained 1-1 until early in the second half when Ross MacDougal pounced on a loose ball to steer it past the keeper. Bruce Bennett then broke free on the Scalloway goal and placed the ball past the advancing keeper.
Scalloway were getting stretched now and Robert Balfour scored with a powerful shot from a tight angle. Merv Jamieson added a fifth before Peter Peterson wrapped up the scoring from a Ryan Johnson cross.
Spurs 3, Whitedale 2
The opening exchanges were scrappy with Spurs looking to play the ball on the deck and Whitedale trying to hit on the break with the pace of Paul Molloy and Ryan Jozwick.
Spurs grabbed a grip of the game midway through the half and were eventually awarded when an inswinging Josie Kay ball bounced on the edge of the six-yard box where Alan Page was on hand to tap in.
Spurs were not allowed to settle though and Whitedale pushed for the equaliser before the break, first with Jozwick putting one over from 12 yards, then Alan Johnston hitting the junction.
After half time the game opened up more and after sustained pressure Spurs grabbed a second from a right-footed swoop from the edge of the box from Josie Kay.
Whitedale bounced back immediately when Spurs again gave the ball away cheaply and Duncan Anderson finished. They then found the equaliser, catching Spurs sleeping taking a quick corner with Lewis King swooping round the back to head home from close range.
With the momentum with Whitedale they could have got the winner had it not been for an outstanding stop from Spurs keeper Kyle Duncan, who tipped Molloy’s effort onto the post.
It was Spurs who found the eventual winner and after a good move the ball broke to Gresham who finished in the bottom corner.
Best for Spurs were James Johnston and Page while Whitedale were well served by Molloy.
Celtic 3, Ness United 0
The home side dominated proceedings from start to finish and Ness offered very little in an attacking sense to this game with Erik Peterson pulling off a series of fine saves to keep Celtic at bay.
Celtic’s build-up play was precise, quick and high tempo with James Aitken, Daniel Johnston, Jordan Webb, Aly Sim and Joe Leask stringing together some fine flowing moves and creating numerous chances. They finally got the goal they deserved just before half time whistle. Joe Leask did all the hard work himself, driving at goal before losing his marker and placing the ball across Peterson into the bottom corner.
Celtic scored their second eight minutes into the second period to all but kill the game off. What can only be described as a playground melee saw Webb miss from four yards before Ross Moncrieff slammed home from six to prevent the headmaster coming out and taking the ball away.
Celtic continued to pass well, opening up Ness at will, and Peterson pulled off four class saves. Grant Wood then shot straight at Peterson and the woodwork once more came to the rescue for Ness before the move of the game ended the scoring. From the edge of their own box, Celtic moved forward through Ross Moncrieff, Joe Leask and Aitken, the latter played the last pass into Webb who tucked home from eight yards.
The entire Celtic team played well from back to front with everyone contributing. In Peterson Ness surely had the man of the match and despite getting the run around all night the men in red never gave up.
For fixtures and tables see this week’s Shetland Times.