Champions Whalsay had another close victory in the latest round of matches in senior football’s G&S Flooring Premier League, a single goal enough to see off Scalloway. Former top dogs Delting continued their impressive start to the season with a comfortable win against Thistle, Celtic edged out Whitedale and Ness United and Spurs shared the points.
Whalsay 1, Scalloway 0
The first half saw a scrappy opening period before the hosts gradually began to take control. Whalsay were creating chances but every time an effort was directed goalward some great last-ditch defending got in the way of the opening goal.
Eventually the pressure did pay off and after 35 minutes Stuart Shearer nipped in front of Scalloway keeper Bryan Johnson to head the ball goalwards, only to see it crash off the bar. However, Shearer was on hand to turn in the rebound to put Whalsay 1-0 ahead.
Shortly afterwards Brian Irvine was played through one on one only to have his path blocked illegally by the outrushing Johnson on the edge of the area. The keeper was let off with a booking, much to the relief of his team mates.
In the second half keeper Johnson came to his team mates’ rescue on more than one occasion, denying Brian Irvine with a good block and then producing a stunning save towards the end of the game, plucking a top corner-bound header from Stuart Shearer to safety.
Try as they might Whalsay could not get the second goal and were almost made to pay when Scalloway striker Gary Burns raced clear with 10 minutes to go. Richard Arthur got in a last-ditch tackle to deny Burns a clear shot at goal and referee Ivan Sinclair waved aside the Scalloway appeals for a free kick after Burns went to ground under the weight of Arthur’s challenge.
Although Scalloway kept fighting to the end they could not create any clear-cut chances and Whalsay ran out deserved winners.
Spurs 1, Ness United 1
Spurs were out to rectify a heavy defeat in their opening game of the season against Whitedale whereas Ness were trying to carry on from a fine performance which resulted in a narrow defeat to Whalsay.
Ness started the brighter of the two teams, winning most of the second balls in the midfield area, but as the half progressed Spurs started to get into the passing game which they are better known for.
The first and only real chance of the first half fell to Ness when a delightful through ball by Kieran Malcomson found Ian Bray running at full speed. As he made his way into the Spurs box young keeper Kyle Duncan did everything right in narrowing the striker’s angle and producing a fine block.
Spurs started the second half with a bit more fire in their bellies and started to dominate. Sam Ward caused a lot of concern for Ness down the right wing and produced a fine save from Eric Peterson in goal.
The breakthrough for Spurs came shortly afterwards when the ball dropped to captain Josie Kay who sent an unstoppable shot past Peterson into the roof of the net.
From this point on there only looked like being one winner with Spurs camped in the Ness half and the away team only really getting the odd counter attack. When Ness were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes to go after Alex White appeared to kick Sam Ward up the backside nobody would have doubted it was game over.
Credit to the Ness players though, who stuck to their task and caught Spurs on the counter attack with eight minutes left. A fine ball down the right found the pacey Bray whose cross-come-shot was not dealt with by keeper Duncan who palmed it into his own net.
Spurs could not find the killer instinct in front of goal but credit to Ness manager Kenny Malcomson who has his defence well organised. Best for Spurs were Sam Ward and Darren Johnson while Malcomson, Bray and Peterson all deserve a mention for Ness.
Thistle 0, Delting 4
A heavy pitch and swirling wind at Clickimin South on Monday made conditions for both sides tricky and following a period of sustained pressure Delting nosed in front after 25 minutes. A well-flighted cross in from the Delting left was flicked beyond Thistle keeper Steven Henry by Ross MacDougall.
The Jags ought to have equalised three minutes later when Tonnie Sim was played in on goal by Craig Gerty. However, Sim’s first touch was poor and this gave the Delting custodian, who had rushed off his line, the opportunity to clear.
Seven minutes into the second half the away side increased their lead and again it was that man MacDougall who did the damage. The striker capitalised on some indecision in the Thistle rearguard and after leaving a couple of defenders in his wake, rounded Henry and slotted the ball into the empty net.
Stuart Lavender added a third in the 62nd minute before Leighton Flaws completed the scoring after 74 minutes when his shot from around the 20-yard mark found the net via the underside of the bar.
Celtic 1, Whitedale 0
Celtic notched up a win at the second time of asking, taking full points from Whitedale in a tight match on Monday night at Gilbertson Park.
A cigarette paper couldn’t have been slipped between the two sides in an even first 45 minutes. Despite the heavy pitch the play was fast and sometimes rushed to the point of needless.
During the early part of the game the home side had the better scoring chances. Daniel Johnston had two snap shots slip past from the edge of the box while Robert Smith tried the boot to convert a Jordan Webb free-kick when the head was the better option.
Celtic dropped out of the game a little after that and Whitedale pushed them back. Celtic’s own first touch was as good as giving the ball back to the men from the West Side and they were toiling to make any headway.
Celtic then laid claim to a penalty kick in the 35th minute when James Aitken hit the turf but referee Mark Goodhand was bang on the money in turning down the appeals.
Aitken blazed over the bar from a great cut back from Connor Regan and as the minutes ticked away to the interval Whitedale’s Jordan Morrison produced a sterling defensive block to prevent Lowrie Simpson getting a free pop at his keeper.
The second half was not as even as the first with Celtic holding the upper hand but their play was still scrappy. Despite that the home side took the lead. A Whitedale clearance from a corner kick was headed straight back at the outrushing central area. It fell to James Aitken who controlled, turned and slipped a pass to Lowrie Simpson whose cool finish ended a good piece of play.
Almost caught cold, Celtic escaped at the other end two minutes later when the visitors struck the post with Duncan Anderson the unlucky man in orange and black. Ten minutes later Jamie Wilson saw a good effort go past the right hand post and that was really it from Whitedale in terms of clear goal-scoring opportunities.
Celtic probably should have added to their tally but more than the one goal margin would have put a skew on the scoreline that Celtic would not have deserved.
For Celtic Tom Moncrieff had a great game at left back and Joel Bradley continues to impress at the heart of the defence. Whitedale worked hard indeed and will certainly be in the hunt this season, Jordan Morrison, Allan Johnston and Anderson being the pick of their bunch.