The semi-finals of senior football’s Manson Cup see Scalloway taking on Spurs at Fraser Park on Friday evening and Whalsay hosting Whitedale at Harbison Park on Monday.
Manson Cup Group One
Thistle 1, Spurs 4
After a fairly even opening 10 minutes it was Spurs who created the first real opportunity when Shane Jamieson’s cross was met by Connel Gresham but his shot flew over the bar. The Jags responded and Stuart Smith’s 22-yarder fizzed past the post.
In the 25th minute the new Madrid Cup winners drew first blood. James Johnston pounced on a loose ball 25 yards out and when he wasn’t closed down he unleashed a ferocious drive which found the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
At the other end a Calvin Leask effort was parried by Spurs custodian Craig Dinwoodie before the ball was cleared at the expense of a corner. Dinwoodie then stood firm to block a Neil Laurenson shot before tipping Leask’s follow-up round the post. From the resultant corner Scott Anderson blocked Neil Riddell’s goal-bound attempt before Smith drove the rebound wide.
In the 52nd minute a totally bizarre and controversial moment occurred, one which it could be argued the final outcome of the match hinged. Anderson of Spurs appeared to handle the ball on the goal-line after a Dinwoodie parry and referee Steven Goodlad immediately pointed to the spot.
At the same time Dinwoodie spoke to Goodlad claiming that Anderson had not actually handled the ball and to the incredulity of both the players and the many onlookers present, the official reversed his decision and awarded a goal kick. Further weight behind the case for FIFA to introduce video technology for goal-line incidents?
Almost immediately further salt was rubbed into the Thistle wound when Connel Gresham seized on a through ball and finished with aplomb.
Thistle were thrown a life-line in the 67th minute when Smith was upended in the box by Sam Goudie and from the resultant penalty, Riddell sent Dinwoodie the wrong way.
With the home side requiring a win to be sure of progressing to the semi-finals they threw caution to the wind and began pushing more players forward but could not find the net.
As play entered stoppage time Thistle were hit by two sucker punches. First Scott Morrison capitalised on a defensive error on the halfway line and ran through unchallenged to score. Two minutes later Sam Goudie found himself in splendid isolation in the box and from a suspiciously offside position netted to give the final score-line a distorted picture.
Celtic 1, Whalsay 4
The points went to the Bonnie Isle but Celtic dominated the first hour and had they taken a couple of the chances created the outcome may have been different.
On a wet and fast surface Celtic were quickly into the pace of the game and passed the ball around well once the players had all got the measure of the speed of the ball over the ground.
Connor Regan let in James Aitken after 15 minutes but the young striker’s first touch was a little heavy. Next up was Daniel Johnston who just couldn’t get enough power behind his shot when good inter-passing between Tom Moncrieff and Joe Leask opened the door.
Whalsay had a first foray forward in the 25th minute when Richard Arthur saw his shot lift over the bar.
Celtic were almost gifted a goal when John Montgomery passed back to his keeper Grant Thomson, who took a fresh air swipe at the ball and the reds watched as it agonisingly rolled past the post for a corner kick.
Joe Leask should have perhaps done better with a central chance. He opened the body well but put his side-foot effort went past the post. Aitken put in his striking partner two minute later but Leask was unlucky with his attempt.
Thomson had another goalkeeping submission for “what happened next” with a spot of ball juggling, the ball squirming up and bouncing of his head at one stage but nothing would fall for the green and whites.
The second half started in similar vein with Celtic taking the game to the visitors. A good piece of play from Johnston saw the midfielder pass into the forward movement of Grant Wood but the full back’s effort was rising over the bar from the moment he connected.
Robert Smith connected well with an effort from all of 40 yards but Thomson got down well and tipped it away to the safety of his full back.
Regan joined the forward plays, swung in a good cross and Leask’s header came back of the post and a minute later saw another effort slip past the post.
The first goal came in the 65th minute. Bryan Irvine was strong in the box and got past John Simpson who brought down his man before he could shoot. Montgomery stepped up and slammed the spot kick into Paul Grant’s right corner.
Celtic were then guilty of switching off and lost another three goals in a crushing 10-minute spell thereafter.
Keith Pearson made it two with an easy header from six yards then Richard Arthur wandered up from right back unattended and thundered home a great volley at the back post for a third.
Before Celtic switched on again the game was well and truly gone as Brian Henderson dispatched a Bryan Irvine cutback.
Henderson then saw red for a second bookable offence before Celtic scored their consolation goal, Smith playing in Aitken who deftly lifted the ball over Thomson as he came to close down.
Celtic’s Smith had possibly his best game of the season to date while Johnston and Regan did well in midfield and Leask and Aitken linked well up front.
Whalsay, as always, worked hard and captain Montgomery was always on hand to lift the team. Arthur did his bit in driving the team forward while Bryan Irvine is a real handful for any defence.
Scalloway 2, Whitedale 3
Scalloway started in style by scoring straight from kick off, Jamie Allen weaved his way down the wing before cutting the ball back for Laurence Pearson to fire home.
Alan Davidson doubled the home team’s lead after he robbed the last defender of possession and placed the ball past the advancing keeper.
Whitedale came back in to the game and were unfortunate not to pull a goal back when Martin Clark’s long range effort hit to the crossbar. Eventually the pressure paid off when Jamie Wilson rolled the ball into the path of Paul Molloy and his shot found the bottom corner.
With half time approaching Whitedale were given the chance to equalise from the penalty spot but Malloy’s effort struck the post and rebounded to safety.
In the second half both sides passed up chances before Wilson raced on to a through ball and his effort was blocked by keeper Brian Johnson. However, Molloy attoned for his penalty miss by heading the ball into the net.
Needing a win to progress, Whitedale went for broke in the closing minutes and were rewarded when a free kick from the halfway line was headed into the net by Brian Duncan in the final minute.
Whitedale deserved their win and were perhaps the more hungrier of the two sides with Scalloway already guaranteed a semi-final spot.
Best for the visitors were Duncan Anderson, Brian Duncan and Jamie Wilson while for Scalloway strikers Alan Davidson and Steven Umphray were a constant threat and Andrew Flett had an outstanding debut in the centre of defence.
Ness United 1, Delting 3
A very young and inexperienced Ness side took on Delting, who were also missing some key players, in the last group game.
Delting created the first chance from a free kick with the midfielder heading wide at the back post before Ness fired just past the post. Delting were having more of the ball but Ness were keeping things simple at the back and were finding space in midfield.
A quick attack saw Sean Bell break through for Ness and he was unlucky not to open the scoring. Ness were forced to replace Steven Smith with Ewan Ellis and later was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty.
Just before half time Delting missed a glorious chance as Ross Jamieson headed wide again from a free kick.
The second half began in a similar pattern to the first and with about 10 minutes gone Ness forced a few corners. A Delting defender was adjudged to have handled in the box and Ness were awarded a penalty. Craig Leslie smashed it into the net.
The young Ness team now had a real belief that they would take the points as they had been comfortable at the back.
Delting were pressing for an equaliser and threw on Danny Peterson and got the goal they were looking for with 20 minutes to go. A Ness defender was dispossessed, leaving the back line exposed, and the resultant shot from Peter Peterson was deflected past stand-in keeper John Robert Burgess.
Immediately afterwards a similar mistake saw Delting gain possession and in the second phase of play saw a shot brilliantly saved from Burgess but the ball was eventually bundled over the line by Ross McDougal.
Ness were not going to give up and a fine run and shot from Ellis saw his shot cannon of the bar before Alex White also fired just over.
Delting killed the game off when Ross Jamieson took a quick free kick in to an empty net as the Ness team set up the wall.
To make things worse the home side finished with 10 men as Martin Henderson limped of with a serious injury. All in all it was an encouraging performance by the younger Ness boys who handled themselves well.
G&S Flooring Premier League
Ness United 1, Whitedale 2
Ness welcomed back county goal keeper Erik Peterson and striker Ian Bray but were without influential midfielder Kieran Malcolmson. Whitedale too were missing some of the regulars but were looking to close the gap on the leaders.
The early stages were fairly even but the home side were dealt a blow when Whitedale were awarded an extremely soft penalty after just 10 minutes. Alan Johnson stepped up to take it and although Peterson guessed right and got a glove to the ball he was unable to prevent it squeezing in at the post.
The goal gave the visitors a boost and they pressed for the second, Peterson pulling off a wonderful save to deny Whitedale.
As the half wore on a fired-up Ness dug in and pushed on, and whenever the ball hit their front three they looked extremely dangerous. After a good build-up down the left Ness created a golden opportunity to square things but a first-time shot went wide when the player had more time than he realised.
The second half saw the home side take the game to the West Side boys as they pressed them back, with chances falling to Smith and Bray.
With the home side now winning the lion’s share of the territory and possession their supporters must have thought it was only a matter of time before they equalised but it was the visitors who extended their lead.
A quick counter attack resulted in a corner and after a prolonged goalmouth scramble Duncan Fraser poked the ball over the line.
Ness continued to press and pulled a goal back through Ian Bray. They dominated the tempo but in the latter stages were vulnerable to a counter attack as they pushed on relentlessly for an equaliser.
Substitute Flaws had a great chance as he cut in from the left and lifted the ball over the Whitedale keeper but agonisingly it landed on the roof of the net. Peterson then had to save brilliantly after a counter attack late on.
It was a much-improved performance by Ness who must be bitterly disappointed not to have gained at least a point. There were good performances all round and particularly from Burgess and Kevin Smith, while Jamie Wilson played well for Whitedale.
• For fixtures and tables see The Shetland Times on Friday.