Draw for plucky United in Dyce

Despite all their efforts it looked as if Ellon United were to be denied any reward as their league game at Dyce moved into stoppage time with the visitors trailing 1 – 0 but a late equaliser at least salvaged a well deserved point following their 1 – 1 draw. Dyce fielded three players from last years United squad with Ross Buchanan, Mike Ralton and Keith Walker all lining up against their former team. There was little to chose between the sides taken over the full first half and although United edged the possession stakes it was Dyce who went in front just before the break. United just held the upper hand for much of the second period without finding a route to goal and just when it looked as if they were going to return empty handed they finally managed to grab a well deserved equaliser two minutes into stoppage time.

Dyce were slow to settle and it was United who opened brightly but without really troubling the home goal with Dyce gradually coming more into contention as the half wore on. United were reduced to ten men for a spell leading up to the half hour. Blair Johnston released Darren Bailey whose cross was flicked on by Ryan Stewart with Mark Lawson and keeper Buchanan clashing at the far post with the United central defender forced to leave the field after receiving treatment for a facial injury. Neish met a free kick in the 26th minute but his header went over. Mark Lawson was unable to return to the action with Chris Allsop taking over his defensive roll in the 31st minute when play was stopped for a United free kick which was eventually fired wide by Calum Annand.

Two minutes later Ryan Stewart met a corner from Calum Annand only to see his header drift wide then the United striker burst into space but shot over. A timely tackle by Chris Allsop halted a Dyce attack The defender found Paul Leahy whose shot forced a save from Buchanan. Dyce replied with Steven Bartlet shooting wide. The home defence were finding it difficult to deal with Unites corners and Paul Leahy almost made them pay but his header slipped just wide. Dyce broke straight up the field and Keith Walker met Napier’s dangerous low cross. Callum Steer did well to parry the initial strike but the former United player followed up to put the home side in front. United attacked from the restart and forced a free kick. Paul Leahy met Blair Johnston`s cross but his header was comfortably held by Buchanan to keep Dyce`s one goal lead intact at the interval.

Despite all their neat possession United were unable to carve out any clear cut chances until midway through the second period. Ryan Stewart did well to create a shooting opportunity but his effort flew over. United added to their striking options in the 68th minute with Callum Dunbar replacing Fraser Tait then eight minutes later they introduced Willie Mathers for Darren Bailey who had given the Dyce defence a torrid time down United’s left. United’s afternoon looked to have been summed up when they broke down the left and Willie Mathers wicked low cross struck a defender right in front of goal but instead of flying in to the net it bobbled up into the keeper`s welcoming arms. Willie Mathers collected the ball from a throw in and drifted past his marker but his finish lacked composure and flew well wide. United forced a free kick in the 92nd minute and when Buchanan was unable to hold on to Calum Annand`s cross under pressure Callum Dunbar was on hand to punish the keepers rare mistake and fired home the equalizer which was no more than United deserved for having outplayed their hosts for much of the match.

ELLON UNITED: Steer, Millsom, Johnston, Tait (Dunbar), Reid, Lawson ( Allsop), Annand, Whelan, Stewart, Bailey (Mathers), Croll, Lombarti.

DYCE: Buchanan, Webster, Forsyth, Ralton, Steel, Walker, Napier, M. Bartlet, S. Bartlet, Neish, Reid, Herd, Dick, McNamee, Burr.