The current top four sides in the G&S Flooring Premier League met on Friday night with Celtic the main beneficiaries of the two results. Spurs and Whalsay played out a 1-1 draw at Seafield while Celtic eased past Whitedale 4-1 at Gilbertson Park. In the other fixtures Thistle secured a first win of the season with a 3-0 win away at Scalloway while Delting and Ness United shared the points in Brae.
Monday’s Manson Cup fixture list was decimated by the monsoon conditions while in the reserve scene Spurs beat Whalsay 2-1 last Saturday afternoon in the final of the Knockout Cup.
Celtic 4, Whitedale 1
Celtic engineered an almost complete reversal in comfortably overcoming Whitedale, having been resoundingly slain at Strom Park three weeks previously.
The game was quick straight from the whistle but both sides took a few minutes to gauge pass lengths and come to terms with the bowling green type surface. Great credit is due to the park keepers.
The first noteworthy attack came from Celtic when great inter-play between Connor Regan, James Aitken and Roy Wood fashioned an opening for Jordan Webb. His shot was good quality but a little straight and Martin Young in the Whitedale goal handled it well. Both sides had chances to open the scoring, Richard Sinclair coming close but a Webb tackle prevented the shot troubling anyone.
However, it was the visitors who drew first blood after only 10 minutes. Robert Smith and Tom Moncrieff were perhaps guilty of committing to tackles too early and were sold by attackers. The ball broke to Sinclair and from the corner of the six yard box he drove the ball across the helpless Celtic keeper Paul Grant.
The goal jolted Celtic into life and they started using the width and started finding the length. Chances were being created and there was no sense of panic at being behind.
Webb hit the bar with a fierce drive from distance as Celtic began to excerpt pressure and with 33 minutes on the clock they drew level. Another good flowing move, this time up the right flank, saw Roy Wood playing the ball inside to James Aitken. The youngster turned on a sixpence and shot past the despairing Young to the delight of the home support.
With five minutes until the break Whitedale posted motion that they were seeking three points as Paul Molloy’s low drive was well held by Grant on the ground but with three minutes until the break Celtic scored their second.
A free kick on the right touchline was taken by Fin Watt. He passed to Aitken who produced a telling delivery to the back post and Webb was on hand to bury the ball beyond Young.
Whitedale hemmed Celtic in for the first five minutes of the second half but the final pass just wasn’t there and the usual threat of pace from Molloy and Jamie Wilson was nullified by the equally quick Celtic back line of Robert Smith, Finn Watt, Joel Bradley and Tom Moncrieff.
Celtic had a five-minute spell of indecisive defending, failing to clear and allowing Whitedale ball they should not have had. Then came the killer third Celtic goal. Another set piece, this time on the left, saw Tom Moncrieff quickly play in Aitken who in turn passed across to Webb in a central area. He teed up the shot and drove the ball expertly into the far left bottom corner.
Duncan Anderson and John Robert Burgess tried their luck from distance but they did not trouble the Celtic rearguard. At the other end Roy Wood’s effort sailed just over.
With nine minutes remaining Celtic scored again when Jamie Duffy, on for Ryan Grant, was presented with a high ball. He controlled and passed to Lowrie Simpson who flicked the ball to Jordan Morrison who drilled it past the outrushing Young.
Regan blotted his copybook somewhat as the final whistle drew nearer. Again bursting through the midfield he skipped past the defenders and drew out the keeper but sent the ball past the post rather than taking the ball around the stranded Young.
Referee Robbie Summers brought proceedings he had handled well to an end. The scoreline did not flatter Celtic and Regan, Webb and Aitken dominated the central midfield in another good team performance.
The visitors may rue the opportunity given the early lead and they looked a little uncomfortable wide defensively. Young between the sticks was by a mile their best player and but for him it could have been a more painful evening.
Spurs 1, Whalsay 1
Spurs played host to Whalsay at Seafield with both sides looking for a win that would assert their authority at the top of the league.
The opening 20 minutes of the game saw both teams evenly matched and playing attractive passing football without creating any clear chances.
The majority of Whalsay’s play was concentrated down their right flank where Colin Anderson was constantly looking to bomb forward and join in the attack.
It was from one of these forays that Whalsay broke the deadlock on the 25-minute mark. Anderson got in behind Spurs full back David Mann and produced an accurate cut-back for Bryan Irvine who drilled a right-foot shot past Craig Dinwoodie in the Spurs goal.
The Spurs reply was immediate and their equaliser came from an unlikely source and in slightly bizarre fashion. It was Mann’s turn to push Anderson back towards his own goal.
However the attack broke down and Richard Arthur seemed to have the situation under control until he left his back pass to goalkeeper Grant Thompson short.
Mann had continued his run and Thompson came off worst in the encounter when the ball hit him in the nether region after he smashed his clearance against the Spurs defender. With the stricken Thompson lying in the foetal position Mann was left with the simple task of tapping the ball into the empty net from three yards.
Thompson, who was in obvious discomfort and required lengthy treatment, somehow summoned the strength to deny James Johnston a few minutes later after another mix-up in the Whalsay defence left the Spurs midfielder one-on-one.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first with both sides proving to be adept at retaining the ball but fashioning very few chances.
The main incident of the second half occurred in the 65th minute when Arthur came off worst in a challenge that involved team mate Gary Jamieson and Spurs’ Alan Page. Arthur, who was obviously in considerable pain, received lengthy treatment on the pitch before being carried off with a severe knock to the leg, but thankfully no broken bones.
Arthur’s exit forced Whalsay manager Robert Geddes to reshuffle his team but even this didn’t alter the course of the game which eventually petered out to a 1-1 draw, a result that was a fair reflection of the play.
The only other incident of note took place after the final whistle when Spurs’ Joe Leask was sent off for voicing his displeasure that referee Ivan Sinclair had blown for full time during a Spurs counter attack in the 11th minute of stoppage time.
Delting 1, Ness United 1
No report received from the home side after the two sides fought out a close-run thing at Brae. Ian Bray scored direct from a corner kick and Kevin Main replied for the home side.
Scalloway 0, Thistle 3
Thistle took full advantage of an understrength Scalloway side as they ran out comfortable winners at the Fraser Park.
From the kick off the visitors looked the hungrier of the two sides and deservedly opened the scoring midway through the half when Michael Williamson did just enough to force the ball over the line from close range.
For the remainder of the half Thistle continued to look the more threatening of the two sides and deserved their lead at the break.
Injury forced Scalloway into making further changes during the interval and despite a spirited start to the second half they soon lost their shape as they struggled to match the movement of the Thistle midfield.
With 20 minutes remaining Thistle made sure of the points when the impressive Calvin Leask picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area before lifting it over the out-rushing keeper into the far top corner.
In the closing minutes Thistle added to their lead when David Thompson touched the ball beyond the last defender before calmly placing a shot into the bottom corner.
At the end of the game the score did not flatter the visitors who controlled large periods of play and had a number of outstanding performers. The one positive for Scalloway was the performance of their back line with John William Laurenson in particular having a fine game.