Spurs and Whalsay will meet in Saturday’s Madrid Cup final after semi-final wins on Monday over Whitedale and Delting. The league action saw Thistle get their first point of the season away to Delting, Celtic defeat Spurs, Whalsay win at home against Ness and the Scalloway v Whalsay match called off.
Spurs 0, Celtic 2
The town sides met for the first time of the season on a great night for football with conditions very calm. The hoops fielded what could be said to be their strongest team of the season with many of the university boys returning to the line-up while Spurs remained relatively unchanged after their fine start to the season.
It was Celtic who were quickest out of the blocks and set a fast early tempo, moving the ball well and closing hard without it. The majority of the pressure fell on the Spurs goal with Spurs looking to hit on the counter-attack.
The pressure finally paid off when a deflected Jordan Webb shot hit the post before bouncing devilishly off the Spurs keeper and bundling into the net.
Spurs looked to kick-start their game, keeping the ball a little better, but having no real end product and Celtic could have doubled the lead when a long ball found Lowrie Simpson who slipped his shot wide.
The second half continued in the same way as the first with Celtic looking hungry and Spurs struggling to get the ball moving as they have done all season.
Celtic were looking dangerous through the middle with James Aitken, Connor Regan and Webb having vital parts to play in all their side’s good work. Spurs were looking to get the ball wide and play in behind but Celtic were having none of it with strong defensive play.
Celtic grabbed a second when after a string of corners Simpson got his goal with a clever run and header past the helpess keeper.
Celtic looked in control with Spurs chasing hard to try and win the ball back and push but the Celtic boys stood firm to see out the game.
It was a great team performance from Celtic with Webb and Joel Bradley standing out in particular. It was a poor performance for the Spurs lads and they were looking to up their game for the semi-final on Monday.
Delting 1, Thistle 1
Ross Jamieson got Delting’s goal but David Thomson found the net for the Jags as they got their first points of the season. No match report was received from the home side.
Scalloway v Whalsay
The game was abandoned due to a waterlogged Fraser Park pitch.
Whitedale 4, Ness United 2
Whitedale were three nil up at the interval with goals from Paul Molloy, Jamie Wilson and an own goal.
Ness scored twice in the second half through Grant Redfern but Richard Sinclair continued his fine start of the season to extend Whitedale’s lead with their fourth.
Again no report was received from the home side.
Spurs 1, Whitedale 0
Spurs played host to Whitedale at Clickimin South with both sides looking to progress to their first final of the season. The game commenced at a frenetic pace with both sides trying to take control of the vital midfield area.
It was Spurs, with their usual neat passing game, who controlled the majority of possession in the opening spell. However, Whitedale, preferring the more direct ball into the channel to exploit the pace of their forwards, were a persistent danger.
The first opportunity of the game fell to Spurs’ James Johnston who, after an intricate exchange of passes with Josie Kay on the edge of the Whitedale box, saw his crisp right foot strike batted away to safety by Martin Young in the Whitedale goal.
Whitedale replied by forcing a series of corners, which resulted in Jordan Morrison bringing a fantastic save out of Spurs keeper Craig Dinwoodie with a sweetly struck volley from eight yards.
As the first half, notable for its lack of goalmouth action, drew to a close Whitedale’s Paul Malloy raced clear of the Spurs defence only to sky his shot well over the bar.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first and it became apparent that the eventual victor would be the team who prevailed in the central midfield battle.
This war of attrition continued unabated throughout the first 30 minutes of the half until the Spurs trio of Kay, Johnston and Ally Graham finally gained the upper hand that allowed them to dictate the game in the final third of the pitch.
Graham, astutely finding space behind Whitedale’s midfield, twice picked up the ball and drove at the defence before unleashing shots with either foot that narrowly missed the target on both occasions.
Then, with 10 minutes remaining, Johnston conjured up a majestic piece of individual brilliance that proved to be the decisive moment of an otherwise tense affair. Receiving the ball on the right he skipped past the first challenge before sharply changing direction to evade the second. He left the third defender for dead before cutting in and applying a sublime finish to a goal that was reminiscent of Archie Gemmill’s mazy dribble against Holland at the 1978 World Cup.
Whitedale took the game to Spurs for the final 10 minutes but the impressively solid defence restricted the away team to long balls into the box, which never troubled Dinwoodie in the Spurs goal.
The final whistle confirmed Spurs’ progression to their third consecutive Madrid Cup final, setting up a mouth-watering rematch of the 2009 final against Whalsay.
Whalsay 2, Delting 1
In a tight scrappy encounter it was Whalsay who progressed through to the final after proving too hard a nut to crack despite Delting’s strong second half performance.
The first half saw Delting playing into a glaring sun and, taking advantage of this, the islanders appeared to enjoy the main successes of the opening encounters. They played some decent football and forced the visitors on to the back foot for the bulk of the half.
Bryan Irvine and Allister Johnson were getting into good positions but there were no takers on a couple of occasions for their driven balls across the face of the box.
Whalsay did eventually make their pressure pay off when some great play down the left saw Ian Simpson combine with Johnson to tee up James Shearer who curled in a great effort into the far corner.
Ian Simpson increased the lead after 40 minutes when he picked up the ball 25 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the corner of the goal, giving keeper Danny Reid no chance.
Delting managed to creep back into the game as they started to exert some pressure of their own just before half time and grabbed a goal back, albeit rather fortuitously. Following a long Leighton Flaws throw, the ball broke on the edge of the six yard box and Ross Jamieson flicked a toe to send it looping in off the post. The Whalsay rearguard’s appeals for offside fell on deaf ears.
The second half saw a better Delting performance but for all their endeavour they could not create many clear cut chances as John Montgomery and Richard Arthur were outstanding at the back for Whalsay.
It was Whalsay who almost went further ahead with 20 minutes to go when Bryan Irvine was adjudged to have been offside when he swept in a rebound after Reid had pulled off an outstanding save to deny James Shearer’s initial effort.
Delting did have a few chances after this though. Peter Peterson was in a great position with the ball breaking to him as he ran into the box but Karl Williamson deflected his seemingly goalbound effort over the bar. Then Ross Jamieson also saw a free kick on the edge of the box sail narrowly over.
The best chance of all came for them right at the death as another long Flaws throw broke to Ross Jamieson, who from only a couple of yards out saw his shot somehow kept out by a combination of the keeper’s fingertips and crossbar. Ross McDougal, who was on hand for the rebound, could only watch in agony as his scooped effort from six yards dropped on to the top of the bar and out to safety.
Shortly after referee Martin Gibbs brought the game to an end, much to the relief of the home side who despite being far from their best did just enough to win.