North Isles clinch first piece of reserve league silverware

North Isles FC overcame Ness B on Saturday in one of the most entertaining cup finals in Shetland football for many a year. After playing out a 5-5 draw in normal time, the match progressed into extra time where the teams still could not be separated and thus penalty kicks were required. The isles side managed to keep their nerve, winning the shoot-out 3-0 to clinch the Joint Cup for the first time.

North Isles looked dangerous from the first whistle with the imperious Connel Gresham leading their attack once again. And it was Gresham that indeed opened the scoring, notching his 34th goal of the season in the progress.

Ness B were in no mood to let the isles side run away with the match however and swung the tie in their favour before the half time whistle. First, Thomas Sinclair poked home the equaliser at the back post after good work down the left flank from Edward Oldberry. And 10 minutes later, Alex White curled home a beautiful shot from 25 yards for the first contender of goal of the match.

Gresham fizzed a couple more shots at the Ness goal but referee Robbie Leask brought proceedings to a break with the score 2-1 to the southenders.

Just moments after the break, Lee Jamieson equalised for North Isles in spectacular fashion. After Gresham got the ball tangled in his feet 30 yards from goal, the ball fell kindly in the path of Jamieson and the striker unleashed an unstoppable shot into the same top corner White had found in the first half.

North Isles then took the lead for the second time in the match when Gresham used his pace to get in behind the back line and was upended by the Ness goalkeeper. The striker dusted himself off and smashed the ball home from the spot, giving the keeper no chance to make up for his error.

However straight from kick off, Ness marauded forward and Joe Casey played his strike partner Sinclair through 1-on-1 and the forward calmly slotted the ball through the goalkeepers legs to make it 3-3.

Ness now had their tails up and were zipping the ball about nicely in midfield and looking to use the pace of Casey through the middle. However it was North Isles that notched the next goal of the match when Jamieson slotted home his second of the match from close range.

While White and Jamieson’s strikes were pieces of individual brilliance, the eighth goal of the game arguably topped the lot. The south-siders defence picked up the ball on the edge of their own box, fed it through their midfield up to Tommy Walterson who slipped through Kyle Malcolmson to finish off a superb team move.

With the match entering the closing minutes, both teams knew that the next goal would likely win the match and the North Isles thought they had it. The clinical Gresham once again found the back of the net from close range for his hattrick, taking the match to 5-4.

However, Ness were not yet beaten and a Kyle Malcolmson corner was unfortunately bundled home by a North Isles player to ensure the match ended all square at 5 apiece.

The match entered extra time and turned more cagey with neither team willing to gamble players forward. Ness could have gone ahead but for a terrific double save from substitute goalkeeper Matthew Saunders who first thwarted Gareth Robertson and then turned Malcolmson’s rebound onto the upright.

Penalties were therefore required to separate the teams and it was the North Isles that kept their cool, eventually winning the shoot-out 3-0 after Ness failed to find the back of the net with any of their spot kicks.

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