Guernsey 2, Shetland 1
Shetland’s footballers went down to a hard-fought defeat against Guernsey on Monday afternoon in their second match of the Ynys Mon international tournament.
It was a far tougher encounter for Kevin Main’s charges following their 6-1 over St Helena on Sunday.
But in blustery conditions, Main’s boys more than held their own against a strong Guernsey outfit, who are among the favourites to win the tournament.
Goalkeeper Grant Wood marshalled his defence alongside Joel Bradley and skipper Richard Arthur.
It was not just a rearguard action by any means, however, as Shetland looked dangerous down both flanks.
Connor Regan in particular on the left wing was a constant threat, although the final ball failed to find James Aitken leading the line. Aitken was in fine form too and a thorn in the Guernsey defence.
Regan went agonisingly close to opening the scoring from a superb Calvin Leask cross to the far post on 14 minutes. And a goal at that point would not have been undeserved.
But Guernsey struck twice before the break through Keanu Marsh and Sam Hall to give the Channel Islanders a 2-0 lead.
Shetland could count themselves unfortunate to be two goals adrift but Leask got his team back into the match just before the hour mark, tapping home after seeing his penalty saved. And Main’s boys had chances to level the scores before full time.
Shetland might have gone down to defeat but this was a gritty, determined display to be proud of as the competition enters the next stage.
Main said: “[I’m] disappointed for the result and guys because they put in an incredible amount of effort. [At] 2-0 down at half time we felt aggrieved and we asked them to go out and win the second half and they did that with abundance of effort and fantastic play as well.
“If it hadn’t have been for a couple of fantastic saves from their goalkeeper, we could have even sneaked away a win – and that wouldn’t have been an upset. I was extremely pleased with how they played before.
“We came here to compete, we knew it would be tough. They’re a quality team, but I felt we matched than and that pleases me the most.”
It remains to be seen now whether Shetland progress to the semi-finals as the best group runner-up or contest the fifth to 10th play-off matches.