As the senior football season reaches its climax at the end of the summer, the last two pieces of silverware are up for grabs.
Whalsay can now retain their championship in the G&S Flooring Premier League after two huge wins over Whitedale and current table-toppers Celtic. The Bonnie Isle side now need at least four points from their two remaining games against Scalloway to become champions.
Saturday’s County Shield climax at Gilbertson Park poses an interesting scenario. If holders Whitedale manage to overcome Celtic in the final and Whalsay finish as premier league champions it would mean an unprecedented outcome of all five senior trophies ending up at different clubs, evidence surely of competition as never before.
Celtic 1, Whalsay 4
A mature and energetic performance from Whalsay saw them take all three points back to the Bonnie Isle after the match at Gilbertson Park on Friday evening.
Quickly-paced games from these two sides are not uncommon at present and so it proved to be again. However, the visitors were more accurate with the ball and more determined to gain it back when they were without and that proved to be the ultimate undoing of the Lerwick side.
Allister Johnson posted early intention, curling an effort past the far post from the edge of the area in the fourth minute of play as the Celtic players stood off a little.
That early warning was not heeded and within seven minutes Whalsay were ahead. An indecisive clearance fell to Stuart Shearer and the front man turned and drilled the ball across Grant Wood into the Celtic goal from 15 yards to open the account.
Celtic did up their play and a couple of decent efforts troubled the Whalsay rearguard. However, the reds should have made it two on the 15th minute mark, Keith Pearson missing a good chance when fed in by Bryan Irvine.
It was end to end for the next 10 minutes or so. Tom Moncrieff delivered a good cross from the left which Connor Regan headed over the bar after evading his man at the back post.
Irvine again crossed in to the near post but Wood was equal to the delivery and saved in front of Erik Thomson.
Ryan Stewart took delivery of the ball from John Simpson but fired over the bar as Celtic sought out an equaliser but with 30 minutes played Whalsay all but sealed the points.
The home side’s shape had dissipated at this point in proceedings. Irvine passed in to Pearson in the box and not for the first or last time in the game he was allowed to turn with the ball all too freely and easily and tucked a shot past the helpless Wood.
Celtic hadn’t given up hope at this stage but Erik Thomson’s movement along the line as well as his dropping off had the defence caught in disarray at times. He picked up another slack ball out of defence and just lifted it over the keeper and the bar.
James Aitken made a break which Richard Arthur did well to stop at the expense of a corner, then Aitken broke again but found Grant Thomson in the Whalsay goal in good form, blocking with his legs.
The half-time whistle could not come quickly enough for Celtic as a chat about team shape, the pressing required and sharpness of the passing in particular had to be addressed if anything was to be gained on the night.
At the restart the home side were still getting into game-on mode when it was all over. Three passes from kick-off and it was 3-0 to Whalsay with Shearer getting his second, drilling the ball past the unprotected Wood as his team mates looked on and the seas parted.
Celtic huffed and puffed for the remainder of the game without really getting into gear, the damage having been done by then. Whalsay maintained the good habits of the first half and worked their socks off in defence and attack, determined to hold on and even add to the tally.
The home side were not without ball and chances, however, and the Whalsay players knew there was work yet to be done for the crucial win. John Simpson saw a shot deflected past and Regan skipped past two players but couldn’t match his fine run with a finish.
With 25 minutes to play Erik Thomson scored the goal of the game. Pearson found room wide on the right, looked up and floated a cross into the penalty spot where Thomson had time to tee up and execute a great bicycle-kick volley into the corner.
To the credit of the young Celtic side they didn’t give up and during the final 20 minutes fashioned a few good chances and scored a consolation goal. Robert Smith hit the bar with a header from a corner and Aitken broke free from John Montgomery only to be denied once more by Thomson. The Celtic goal in a way summed up their play all night – scrappy. A Roy Wood cross come shot ended up being misjudged by Thomson and squirmed over the line.
Whalsay were worthy winners and will surely go on and take the title from here. They were at full strength for a rare occasion this summer and were best served by John Montgomery, Richard Arthur, Keith Pearson and Erik Thomson. None of the Celtic side really did themselves justice but Ryan Stewart, Grant Wood, Connor Regan and Finn Watt gained pass marks.
Scalloway 0, Ness United 6
Ness got their first away win in the league this year with their finest performance so far.
Goals came from Kieran Malcolmson, Kevin Smith, Tomas Smith and a hat trick from young James Farmer who was the stand-out on the night.
To add to Scalloway’s woes, Scott Bridges was sent off for a reckless tackle near the end.
Whitedale 1, Delting 3
Despite Strom Park being a bit chewed up after the wet weather and a busy week’s football, both sides served up an entertaining match.
The home side scored first through Jamie Wilson latching on to a through ball and tucking it neatly away under the keeper.
Delting upped the pressure and came close to equalising being denied by the woodwork. However, their pressure paid off five minutes before half time when Ross MacDougal scored from close in.
The second half was a fairly even affair until around 10 minutes to go when Ross Jamieson rounded off a good game with the type of goal, which has been his trademark over the years, with a fine effort at the far post.
A few minutes later another run from Jamieson was not picked up, and he finished with a well-placed header to give the Delts a deserved win.
Whitedale 0, Whalsay 3
There was no sign of any hangover from Whalsay’s big win the previous Friday as they came out with a comfortable three points against the West Siders.
Goals from Stuart Shearer, Erik Thomson and an own goal did the damage. A win and a draw would now be enough for Whalsay in their last two games as they sit three points behind Celtic with two games in hand.