Defending champions Whalsay began the senior outdoor football season in style on Friday with a 6-0 hammering of Thistle at home in the G&S Flooring Premier League, although by all accounts the final score was somewhat flattering. Celtic defeated Ness United 2-0 while Delting failed to field a team so Spurs received the points.
Monday’s fixtures both resulted in 2-0 wins, Spurs defeating Scalloway and Whitedale coming out on top against Thistle.
G&S FlooringPremier League
Whalsay 6, Thistle 0
On a perfect night for football it was defending champions Whalsay who came out top of this encounter.
After a tense opening period where both teams were struggling to gain any momentum it was the home side who opened the scoring after 20 minutes. Ian Simpson broke into the box and although his drilled effort was blocked the ball fell to Stuart Shearer who volleyed the ball into the corner of the net.
This seemed to settle the islanders and for the remainder of the half they started to gain the upper hand. Shortly before half time Shearer got his second. This time he collected a throw-in and turned goalwards before smashing the ball past young Scott Nicolson, who in truth did well to even get a hand to the ball.
The beginning of the second half saw Thistle almost snatch a goal back as some slack passing in the Whalsay back line was twice intercepted by the alertness of Craig Gerty. But both his efforts were placed too close to the Whalsay keeper.
Despite Thistle coming more into the game it was Whalsay who scored the next goal and it was Shearer notching his hat trick in the 55th minute, finishing off a good passing move from close range.
With Thistle stunned Whalsay went on to score a fourth goal shortly after. James Shearer, who had been a constant threat, chased down a ball out wide and drilled in a fantastic low cross for Stuart Shearer to beat everyone at the front post and grab his fourth.
With 20 minutes remaining Whalsay scored a fifth, this time Brian Irvine showing good composure, coming in from wide and placing the ball high into the roof of the net.
To their credit Thistle kept trying and for the remainder of the game pinned Whalsay into their own half. Veteran former Whalsay striker Michael Williamson made an appearance for the blues and certainly aided the Thistle cause as first David Thomson went close then Neil Riddell had a free kick from the edge of the area saved after John Montgomery had been deservedly yellow carded for scything down Gerty.
With Thistle pulling out all the stops to achieve a consolation goal it was extremely harsh on the town side when Ross Irvine ran clear of the defence following some good counter attacking play and drilled the ball in at the near post to put Whalsay six goals ahead.
Although Whalsay were undoubtedly deserving winners, Thistle will certainly feel their efforts were not reflected in the score as they pushed hard and for a large spell of the second half had the better of the play.
Celtic 2, Ness United 0
No less than the home team deserved was the ultimate assessment of proceedings at Gilbertson Park on Friday night, although swathes of the 90 minutes had a first game of the season feel to it, with slack passing and touch as the feet found the grass.
Celtic had the better of the first 45 minutes with Ness keeper Erik Peterson having to look lively several times. Lowrie Simpson fashioned an opening for himself as early as the ninth minute but toe-poked the ball past the far post. James Aitken crossed from the right and Justin Watson nearly opened the scoring but his snap shot was well smothered by Peterson.
However, Celtic only had to wait until the 18th minute before taking the lead. Jordan Webb was impeded by young James Farmer while taking a ball played in from the right and referee Michael Grant pointed straight to the spot. Webb stepped up and calmly slotted home to open the account for the season.
Celtic continued to hold the upper hand without really pressing home advantage as the early-season rust was shaken off while the visitors really failed to gain much in the final third. Webb saw a central free kick slip past the post and Watson eased past a couple of tackles like a gliding gazelle, but Peterson again came to the reds’ rescue, saving the shot well.
With seven minutes left of the first half Aitken came close to doubling the advantage. Lowrie Simpson used his strength and released Aitken wide, his first touch took the ball to an acute angle and his low drive was made harder by that fact and Peterson held well.
The second 45 was largely dominated by the home side. Aitken produced some sterling work only for Tomas Smith to block his final effort when set free by Lowrie Simpson. The Celtic keeper probably broke sweat for the first time four minutes into the second half. Kevin Smith, forever a thorn in the Celtic defence, ran neck and neck with the green rearguard but saw Ness’ only shot on goal fail to hit the target.
Thereafter the home side dominated. Peterson profited from Aitken’s indecision and an goal-line clearance prevented an own goal as Celtic pilled on the pressure. Webb’s delivery from a corner on the 65th minute mark was met by Aitken but a seemingly easy chance was lifted over the bar.
Celtic manager Robbie Simpson freshened things up, replacing Jamie Duffy with Roy Wood, and his injection almost paid dividends. The nippy youngster broke down the right flank, beat his man, hit the by-line and cut back a classic ball. Webb teed up but sent his effort past the post.
With 69 minutes played the home side secured the points when a corner from the right was delivered by Daniel Johnston. It was deflected by a defender and drifted to the back post, where young Wood was first to react and his header sealed the win.
On the 72nd minute mark only a great defensive block prevented Johnston from adding to the Ness woes. In the 84th minute of play a Joel Bradley header shaved the crossbar as the destination of the points became apparent.
The home side had no failures but Aitken, Finn Watt and Bradley just pipped the others. The visitors were well served by Peterson and the young Farmer twins, Stuart and James.
Spurs v Delting
Delting were unable to field a team so the match was cancelled and a 2-0 win and three points awarded to the home side.
Thistle 0, Whitedale 2
Whitedale got their league campaign off to a winning start through goals from Paul Molloy and Lorne McNiven.
Spurs 2, Scalloway 0
The Lerwick side beat their village rivals to make a great start to their league challenge this year. Goals came from Sam Ward and Josie Kay.
• For more details, reserve results and fixtures see The Shetland Times on Friday.