Delting and Spurs will meet in the final of the Madrid Cup, senior football’s oldest trophy, after winning their respective semi-finals on Friday. Delting by all accounts were rather fortunate to defeat Celtic in extra time, while Spurs, seemingly raising their game in the absence of suspended county players James Johnston and Josie Kay, created a shock by travelling to Whalsay and winning.
Whalsay 1, Spurs 3
The second meeting of the two sides in a week produced an almost complete reversal of the previous scoreline with the visitors coming deservedly out on top.
Whalsay probably did enjoy the bulk of the early play and Bobby Wiseman had to produce a top drawer block to keep out a point blank range volley from Stuart Shearer.
The remainder of the half saw both sides trying hard to establish control of the midfield with Dominic Mann in particular the stand-out performer for the visitors in that area.
As the half drew to a close Spurs were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area and a good ball in saw Mann nip ahead of his marker to nod the ball into the back of the net.
The second half saw Spurs increase their lead after just a couple of minutes, the ball falling kindly to Scott Morrison who drilled it past the flat-footed keeper.
Whalsay did try to push forward but couldn’t create any real chances due to a well-marshalled Spurs rearguard. A goal eventually did come, however, when after a scramble Alistair Johnson poked the ball into the back of the net from six yards.
Whalsay’s hope of an equaliser were dashed just with 15 minutes to go when a corner kick was not dealt with and after Shane Jamieson’s headed effort hit the bar Dannie Finnie was on hand to nod the rebound into the net to put Spurs 3-1 up.
Stuart Shearer almost pulled a goal back for Whalsay but again Wiseman produced a good save to push his goal-bound effort round the post.
Connel Gresham and Scott Morrison had a couple of breakaway chances to increase the lead late on but both efforts were blocked as Spurs comfortably held on to their lead to progress to the final.
Celtic 1, Delting 3
(after extra time, 1-1 at full time)
This was a tale of two penalty kicks, one given to Delting and the other not given to their opponents.
The first in the sixth minute was as stonewall as they come. From a corner on the left Justin Watson won the ball in the crowded penalty area and as it sailed towards the far post, Lee Balfour on the post prevented the ball from entering with his arm. The claim was denied but the outcome of the game would possibly have been different had the spot kick been awarded and Balfour sent for an early shower.
The second spot kick left most onlookers as bemused as the first. Celtic, one goal ahead, were to have the knife turned in an already sore wound. With only three minutes left to play a ball floated into the box saw keeper Paul Grant and Delting striker Stuart Hay challenge in the air. The big keeper won the challenge in the air, punching the ball to the Burgh Road wall in the process, as both players went to ground. The man in black saw something different, however, and pointed to the spot. Leighton Flaws tucked the penalty away and the men from the north were thrown a lifeline.
Celtic had the better of the first half and went ahead in the 16th minute. Another high ball caused problems in the Delting defence, Watson flicked on and Grant Wood headed it goalwards. Keeper Danny Reid fumbled and the ball swung over the line.
In the 30th minute Celtic should have made it two. Watson was again the provider, heading on a keeper’s kick to Lowrie Simpson. The striker outpaced the defender but sent his shot over the bar instead of working the keeper.
James Aitken saw a shot skim the wrong side of the post as Celtic pressed for the all-important second goal.
Challenges were meaty and Kevin Main was lucky not to see a card for persistent fouling and Simpson was certainly lucky not to see red for a petulant kick following a midfield tussle.
Delting upped the ante after the break and pinned Celtic into their own half for long spells. Stuart Hay shot over from distance then hit the post as the onslaught continued.
Celtic did break forward on a few occasions, the occasions they did get the ball wide to the wingers. Daniel Johnston was brought down on the edge of the area but a tame kick from James Aitken didn’t trouble Reid.
Delting then broke upfield following a Celtic corner and the home side were lucky to escape with the clean sheet intact as a scramble to get the lines cleared ensued.
With only three minutes left that second penalty incident deflated the Celtic side somewhat. They then lost Johnston with ankle damage and having used all three substitutes faced extra time with 10 men.
The green and whites had the better of the first 15 minutes and pressed forward, playing the ball around well in the process.
The second period belonged to Delting and they scored through Danny Carter with five minutes gone. Celtic were afforded a couple of chances to clear but Carter was given two bites at the cherry and scored with the second.
The game was won at that stage and Delting scored a third as the young Celtic side ran out of steam, now down to nine as Tom Moncrieff joined Johnston on the touchline. Hay and Stuart MacDougall combined well on the gaps at left back. Hay squared across the box and Calum Clark couldn’t miss.
The game certainly swung on those two penalty decisions but Delting were the better side during that second period. Celtic put in a good shift and were unfortunate to have to play the last half an hour with only 10 men.
Stuart Hay, Neil Hay, Robert Balfour and Alister Williamson were the pick of the Delting players while John Simpson and Justin Watson stood out for the home side.
Celtic 0, Whalsay 2
Celtic were simply second best against a hard-working Whalsay side and as an astute supporter quipped, “It was like the battle for Stalingrad only they held out”. That sentiment pretty much sums it up.
The home side did show a little more in the first half in terms of forward play but created very little and but for poor finishing could have been behind before the break.
The warning signs came early for Celtic as in the first 10 minutes a ball flashed across the six yard box undefended. Had the visitors’ strikers been sharper it so easily could have been curtains as early as that.
Lowrie Simpson did work himself into a good forward position but there was little support and the move fizzled out without even a strike a goal.
Erik Thompson was causing havoc down the right flank for Whalsay, delivering good balls into the centre where John Simpson and Joel Bradley kept the home side in touch with stoic defending.
Stuart Shearer really should have scored in the 35th minute but scuffed his effort and the half petered out with a blank scoresheet.
The second 45 minutes really was backs to the wall for Celtic. None of their ball players could keep hold of the ball and first touches turned into passes to the opposition as Whalsay poured forward.
Alistair Johnson saw an overhead effort tipped over the bar by Paul Grant, then the big keeper pulled off a remarkable reflex save with his left hand as Ian Simpson took advantage of a slack clearance to drive the ball from the edge of the area.
Celtic had their only meaningful attack in the 20th minute. A corner of the left was met by Justin Watson and his headed effort went over the bar.
It was only a matter of time because there was simply no cavalry turning up for the home side. Thompson was sent free down the right, he played a great ball into the back post and big John Montgomery side-footed home like he had been a penalty box striker all his career.
Celtic were finding it tough to even get to the second ball far less the first as Whalsay dominated, the only saving grace being that Whalsay just didn’t carve open too many chances as their final ball didn’t match the effort they were putting in.
The final nail in the coffin was a good goal by Whalsay. The ball was played down the left and into Stuart Shearer, who created his own space and finished well past a helpless Grant.
Montgomery almost had the final word as referee Robbie Leask put the whistle to his lips to put the home support out of its misery as his drive from distance clipped the bar on the way over.
Best for the visitors were Erik Thompson, Stuart Shearer and captain John Montgomery. Celtic had little to cheer about but John Simpson and Joel Bradley defended with heart and Paul Grant pulled of a couple of good saves.
Whitedale 4, Thistle 1
A Thistle side plagued with injuries put up a stubborn fight against Whitedale at Strom Park.
Whitedale opened the scoring on 16 minutes after a fine cross from Ali Scott set up Allan Johnston to rifle home a low shot from the edge of the box.
Whitedale pushed forward for the second and were fortunate not to concede the equaliser when Kevin Nicolson had to clear off the line after a Stuart Smith chip had beat the keeper.
Thistle tried hard to get back in the game during the remainder of the first half and on a good counter attack came close to score with a shot going just wide.
Whitedale’s second came with a good turn and strike from the edge of the box by Jamie Wilson. Martin Clark added the third soon after with a close range finish.
Thistle’s Stuart Smith then got red carded for dissent after his protest for a penalty claim was turned down. However, soon after his departure Thistle were awarded a penalty after a late challenge and Neil Riddell struck the ball well to the keeper’s right.
In the closing minutes Whitedale captain Duncan Anderson finished off a strong run with a great strike from distance past stand-in goalkeeper Richard Manson to seal the win for the Wast Siders.
Delting 2, Spurs 2
In an exciting game at Brae both teams were missing key players but a draw was probably a fair result.
The early stages were a bit scrappy with both teams struggling to create chances, but when Ross MacDougall was put through he produced a great finish after rounding the goalkeeper.
Delting then controlled proceedings until just before half time when Alistair Williamson could only divert the ball past his own keeper with the Spurs forwards waiting to pounce.
In the second half Delting again took the lead through a shot from Leighton Flaws, but late in the game slack play in the defence allowed Connell Gresham in to equalise for Spurs.
Spurs finished the stronger but Delting held on for the share of the points.
Scalloway 4, Ness United 0
The sunshine brought out a large crowd to the Fraser Park as Scalloway secured their first league points of the season.
The home team were first to settle and got off to the perfect start when a handball on the edge of the penalty gave Robert Garrick the opportunity to curl a free kick into the top corner.
The second goal arrived after Laurence Pearson exchanged passes with Garrick before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the far top corner.
At this point Scalloway seemed to lose their way and were fortunate to retain their two goal lead at the break. A defence-splitting pass from Kevin Smith released Ian Bray through on goal but stand-in keeper Scott Henderson raced from his line to block the striker’s effort.
The visitors must have known it was not going to be their night after a series of corner saw netbound headers from John Rosie and twice from Craig Leslie blocked on the goal line by a combination of defenders and Henderson.
Some stern words in the home dressing room at the break seemed to hit home as the Scalloway defence formed a solid foundation for an improved second half performance. The early exchanges saw Ness looking to continue the direct style of play that had proved effective in the first half with the movement of Ian Bray in particular creating confusion.
The visitors’ chances of staging a comeback were dealt a blow when they lost midfielder Kieran Malcolmson to injury. The all important third goal arrived soon after when Grant Gilfillan intercepted a pass in midfield and launched a diagonal cross to Steven Umphray, who controlled the ball on the chest before firing a blistering volley into the far corner of the net.
In the closing minutes a determined run from Duncan Cumming saw the midfielder hit the byline before rolling an inviting cut back into the path of Robert Garrick, who appeared to use every ounce of energy to catch the almost stationary ball and score his second of the match.
Best for the visitors was Craig Leslie and Ian Bray while keeper Scott Henderson was the stand-out for the home side.