Whalsay will take to the field at Harbison Park tomorrow lunchtime knowing that a victory over fellow island side Unst will be enough for them to end Delting’s seven-year stranglehold on senior football’s top prize.
After winning 5-0 away to Unst on Wednesday thanks to a brace from Laurence Pearson as well as strikes from John Montgomery, Stuart Shearer and an own goal, Whalsay find themselves two points behind the Brae team with a solitary remaining league fixture.
Delting kept up the pressure with a narrow 2-1 win over Thistle to finish their campaign last weekend, but with a big home crowd anticipated Whalsay are widely expected to claim the victory they need for what would be only their second-ever league title. They previously won the league back in 2001, sparking wild celebrations in the Bonnie Isle.
G&S Flooring Premier League
Ness United 0, Unst 0
This end-of-season game saw both teams shorn of key players. Ness were without five or six first team regulars while Unst were missing Bruce Johnston and the Thomson brothers. After the first 10 minutes it was clear this was not going to be a repeat of the high-scoring earlier encounters but there were a few half-chances. Both teams huffed and puffed but the swirling wind was making things difficult.
The second half was much the same, though Ness threw on Alex White and he showed he will be an asset next year by creating several good openings, but the score remained 0-0. Unst had a golden opportunity to nick the points when Neil Laurenson broke down the right but Shetland goalkeeper Erik Peterson pulled off a great save to ensure the game stayed goalless – a fair result given the pattern of the game.
Delting 2, Thistle 1
The Brae side kept their hopes of retaining the title alive with a narrow victory over the Jags on Friday evening. With Delting missing players through injury and suspension and Thistle also without several first-choice players, there was little to choose between the sides in a first half which ended goalless.
Shortly after the hour mark, with frustration beginning to grow, Leighton Flaws found some space outside the box and his crisp right-foot drive arrowed into the corner. Within a minute it was 2-0 after a defensive mix-up allowed Stuart Lavender to nip in and slot home.
Thistle did not give up and pulled one back through a header from centre-back Gary Teale. That left the Delting supporters a little twitchy for the final 10 minutes, though Thistle were unable to fashion a clear opening to level the score.
Unst 0, Whalsay 5
Whalsay wrapped up the three points to leave themselves 90 minutes from league glory in Baltasound on Wednesday evening. The visitors played with the strong wind at their backs in the first half and saw Unst, minus the influential Thomson brothers, on the back foot at times. Both sides had their fair share of chances, with Liam McGregor and Neil Laurenson denied by Whalsay goalkeeper Grant Thomson. But Whalsay found themselves two goals ahead thanks first to a powerful close-range header from John Montgomery and then an own goal when Unst’s goalkeeper palmed a corner into his own net.
Unst applied some pressure in the early stages of the second half with Darren Thomson going close from 35 yards, but Whalsay were able to play some good counter attack football. They scored the deceisive third when Laurence Pearson was sent clear to fire past the keeper. The fourth followed when a break down the right saw the ball squared into the six yard box for Stuart Shearer to fire home. A late penalty provided the fifth when, after Bryan Irvine had been taken down by Ashley Spence, Pearson slotted the ball home for his second of the night.
Bloomfield Cup final
Spurs B 3, Delting B 1
Spurs started the game at a fast pace and it wasn’t long before Adam Sharp had gone close with two good headed efforts. More Spurs pressure followed but the deadlock remained unbroken until half time. The second half started with Delting looking much more dangerous with Brian Duncan orchestrating things from midfield. The first real chance of the half resulted in the opening goal for Spurs with a contender for goal of the season. Ally Graham picked up the ball and side stepped two challenges before crashing the ball in off the crossbar from range to send the Spurs supporters into raptures.
Graham went close shortly after with a left foot volley just past the post. By now Spurs were in full flow with Sam Ward and Sam Goudie causing havoc down the wings and Shane Jamieson dominant in the middle and it was no surprise when Goudie clinically slotted home the second. Spurs thought the game was over moments later when Thomas Sinclair intercepted a short back pass and comfortably rounded the keeper to make it 3-0.
Delting refused to give up and quickly got back in the game when George Jamieson strode through the middle of the defence and planted the ball past the keeper to make it 3-1 with half an hour to go. Delting grew in strength but found keeper Alan McLeod in excellent form and Spurs were able to hang on and retain the Bloomfield Cup. Best for Delting was Duncan and in an excellent team performance from Spurs the back four of David Mann, Stewart Jamieson, Tristan Sinclair and Peter Sharp stood out.
Shetland Chiropractic Reserve League
Whitedale 7, Spurs 4
No report received.
Fixture: Saturday – G&S Flooring Premier League: Whalsay v Unst at Harbison Park (1pm, referee Robbie Goudie).