ELLON AFC had yet another cup game to get through. This time the visitors to the Meadows were University in the 4th round of the AFC Trophy.
Although University are always late starters in the league and cup competitions they had only lost once in the league to Premier Division leaders Woodside so this would be a difficult encounter.
Conditions did not augur well for slick passing football with a strong wind blowing down the pitch combined with intermittent sleet showers but both sides were glad to get the game played after a postponement last week.
Ellon kicked off facing into the worst of the elements in the first half and ahd an early chance as Bain met a Smith cross at the near post but his header was easily held by keeper Miller.
There was a moment of panic in the home defence as Morrison sliced a clearance over his won bar but it was not long before Ellon were on the attack again.
With 8 minutes gone Barrett fired in a great free kick which Longmuir met with his head and glanced home the opening goal of the game.
University really got themselves fired up after this early reverse and started to take control. A great run by Edwards resulted in a corner.
Then keeper Cumming had to look lively as he saved with his feet from Lawrence
Ellon were still creating chances, mainly from Smith’s cultured left peg providing a couple of crosses which Bain met but with no end product.
University were always dangerous from set pieces and it was from a corner that they levelled. Centre half Bruce was left free at the back post and he knocked the ball back across goal for Wells to tap home.
This was no more than the visitors deserved and they had a great chance to take the lead just before the half when Lawrence contrived to head over from almost under the bar. A shocking miss which was to prove costly.
Ellon now had the wind at their backs and really set about their opponents. And it was no shock when after only six minutes of the half gone they took the lead with a real wonder goal by Bain as he set off on a mazy run just outside the box, beat five defenders and sent the keeper the wrong way. A great solo effort from the prolific striker.
University would not lie down and Bruce had another free header, quickly followed by a great run and shot by Reid. Cumming the produced another great stop from Johnston as the students looked to get level.
But after 10 minutes of the second half they lost their influential centre half Bruce who got a second yellow for verbally abusing the referee.
This really set the visitors back on their heels and Bain once more took advantage, latching on to a Thomson cross inside the box and when his initial effort to lob keeper Miller was blocked he was alert enough to knock home the rebound.
Ellon freshened things up with Knight replacing Sutherland with 25 minutes still to go and University introduced two subs to see if that would change their fortunes.
Cumming had to act as sweeper as Lawrence ran clear of the home defence but the big keeper did well to get in a tackle and clear the danger.
A break by Bain saw him set up Knight for a diving header but his effort went wide.
With 10 minutes left the experienced McShea replaced Bain and almost instantly he played a defence splitting pass to Knight but the striker’s effort went over.
University were still in the game and Meyrick had a good shot which just clipped the top of the bar but this was to be their last chance.
A great result for Ellon AFC against good Premier League opposition. With Adam Wilson starring in a defence well marshalled by the experienced Ryan Birnie, James Bain continuing his run of having scored in every game since joining in October, and Sam Barrett putting in a tireless display in central midfield.
No doubt the conditions played their part but a lot of good football was played by both sides although University going down to ten men did not help their cause.
Ellon Amateurs now take their place in the quarter final where they will meet either Cove Thistle or Echt. A tough draw but with this result under their belt maybe not the mission impossible it might once have been.
Man of the Match was Adam Wilson of Ellon and Dam Smith of University.