Shetland footballers make semi-final after 5-0 win
The Shetland footballers are through to the semi-finals after trouncing the Falkland Islands 5-0.
It was nine goals in two games for Bristow’s team as they continued their impressive form from the 4-1 win over Hitra.
They face the Isle of Man tomorrow.
Shane Jamieson was the hat trick hero this time out, scoring three headers. Erik Thomson notched up another but had to leave the field after going over on his ankle.
Leighton Flaws added to his hat trick against Hitra with a fine looping header.
From the off Shetland looked bright, carrying the momentum from their impressive 4-1 comeback the day before.
Flaws retained his position in the back four and Calvin Leask was making some probing runs down the right.
Thomson, whose tenacity and drive had caused problem for the Norwegians, was at it again, driving down the left flank.
And Shetland were unlucky not to take first blood on six minutes.
James Johnston was fouled at the edge of the box and Flaws curled a cracking free kick which smashed against the woodwork.
The blues were testing the opposition goalkeeper in the opening 15 minutes, peppering shots from distance and Thomson with a header to the keeper’s right.
The hot weather meant plenty of water breaks during the game, and after the initial interval, James Aitken was feeding some neat passes to the front line.
Shetland’s advances on the left resulted in a corner on 26 minutes. Curled in deep to the back post the boys in white failed to capitalise.
Another corner followed on the half-hour mark following good pressure down the right.
This time centre back Shane Jamieson jumped high above his man to meet the cross, making it 1-0.
With a matter of minutes the boys were 2-0 up, with Thomson picking up a lovely through ball through the centre.
Initially it seemed the striker had knocked the ball too far past the keeper but the impressive frontman turned neatly and slotted the ball home from a tight angle.
A second water break followed then Shetland continued to press. It was one-way traffic for the first 45 minutes with Connor Regan hitting over and James Aitken again trying his luck from distance.
Sadly Thomson was limping and was subbed off through injury. He was replaced by Greg Tulloch who came close following another measured through ball, but the keeper stood tall.
It could’ve have been three or four for Shetland before the referee’s whistle.
In the second half Shetland pushed on, playing high up the pitch.
Joe Kay came on for Piotr Drozdowski at left back, and it was his measured cross to the back post which found Flaws to make it 3-0.
Flaws looped the ball over the keeper to give Shetland a comfortable cushion.
Despite their advantage, Shetland remained on the offensive, continuing to push for another goal.
A string of corners followed and the Falkland Islands looked nervous at the back.
On 67 minutes Tulloch was unlucky not to add to the tally. Leask rushed forward and hit a low cross but Tulloch put his shot just wide of the post.
Minutes later Aitken shot over the bar from close range as the Falkland Islands struggled to claw their way back into the game.
Shetland came close again on 75 minutes as Johnston cleverly flicked on a set piece from Jordan Thomason, and the keeper tipped it against the post.
Shortly after Finn Watt then lofted a ball goalwards which bounced high over the keeper, and over the bar.
There was great atmosphere at St Peter’s as both sets of supporters cheered on their teams, exchanging chants on the terraces.
Shetland had further chances as the half went on, with the keeper punching over his bar following a scramble in the box.
A tense, pinball panic in the area followed but the ball didn’t quite fall for the boys up front.
Shetland were hungry for goals and Tulloch hit a rasping drive which stung the hands of the goalkeeper.
The Falkland Islands barely threatened, resorting to shots from distance.
A header was disallowed for Tulloch near the death, which seemed to be cancelled out for a tug of the shirt.
But Shane Jamieson was at it again in the dying embers. Thomason whipped in a teasing corner and Jamieson powered a header into the net to make it 4-0.
Then, just before the whistle Jamieson made it a hat trick of headers. Thomason again from a corner and Jamieson heading home for 5-0.
Jamieson said it was excellent to get the goals but the team performance “was good enough to get us through”.
At that point it was not clear who Shetland would be facing and they were keeping a close eye on Hitra versus Isle of Wight result.
“It’s absolutely superb for us and the whole of Shetland and the whole of Shetland football as well.”
Getting to the semi-final was a “massive, massive achievement” for the team, he said.
“We will take whoever, and take that game as it comes to us. Roll on Thursday, superb.”
Jamieson said the weather was hot at the start of the game but he hailed the fitness of the players.
“The boys have got a lot of belief in their fitness, Niall has got a lot of belief in our fitness and it definitely rubs off on everyone in the team.
“It’s a squad performance and we’re chuffed with how it’s going. Our football reflects our fitness I think.”
Bristow was delighted with his men and praised the quality of their delivery.
“[They were] great headers to score. I’ve never been involved in a game like it; obviously because you’re trying to find out what’s going on in this other game, and should you be playing a wee bit tighter? Should you be trying to keep the ball?
“They [the Falkland Islands] were tiring, and in all fairness to them they weren’t a very good side, maybe they’ve had to make a number of changes.
“But they got men behind the ball and sometimes no matter what the quality is like, you just can’t play through people.”
It was five goals going on ten, he said.
“We’re in the semi-final so five’s enough.”
Bristow said his players were “an unbelievable set of boys” when it came to fitness, and was not surprised by their achievements.
“The whole squad have been a dream to work with, they don’t give me a moment’s bother.”
“Before a ball was kicked I would’ve said because of the work they’ve put in, they deserve a semi-final place at least, but you have to go out and earn it.
“And boy have they done that.”