Battling Ellon AFC raise hopes of avoiding relegation

Ellon AFC travelled to meet Westhill in what was really was a do or die fixture in terms of staying in the Division.

Jim Booth returned at the helm as manager after having won promotion and the league title back in 2009-2010 with Gordon Willox stepping down due to personal commitments.

It was to be seen whether Jim’s motivational and coaching know how could bring about a change in fortunes for the beleaguered Ellon side, who have been struggkling at the wrong end of the table.

Westhill forced the early pace with the dangerous Milton firing an effort wide and having another shot well held by Dickinson.

Ellon had a great chance to take the lead after 10 minutes when Bain played in Smith but put his shot over when it looked easier to score.

This miss somehow seemed to motivate the visitors and Fraser Thomson was prominent in three moves with the best chance being passed up due to a lack of communication between Bain and Thomson.

As always happens if you pass up chances in the amateur leagues you invariably get punished.

So it proved as a searing break down Ellon’s right by McInnes saw him square the ball across goal for Munro to tuck home to open the scoring for Westhill.

But the lead was short-lived as within two minutes Ellon were back on level terms.

Thomson played a good ball over the top for Smith who raced in on goal and beat keeper Gibson with a neat lob.

Westhill replied with a frenzied attack which saw first Dickinson and the Morrison clear good efforts inside the Ellon box.

Thomson had a good chance to put the visitors ahead but Gibson held on at the second time of asking.

A lead for Ellon was not far away though as on 31 minutes a long punt by Dickinson cleared the home defence leaving Bain in the clear to run onto the ball, outstrip the defence and deftly lob Gibson to put Ellon ahead.

Ellon went 3-1 up on 41 minutes when Smith turned provider for Thomson who weaved his way into the box past three defenders and slotted home.

Just before the half the quality of Dickinson shone through as he made a miraculous stop from Ross. Tipping over a fierce strike from 7 yards which was heading for the top corner. A defining moment in the game without question.

Half time 1-3

Ellon set about trying to finish the game off as a break by Smith created a chance for Bain but his shot was blocked.

On 16 minutes Sutherland replaced the injured McShea at right back and within seconds Smith passed up a great chance to bury end the match as a contest.

A move involving Urquhart and Hamilton left the striker with the goal beckoning but a bad bobble meant his effort went past from fiveyards out.

A desperate miss for Ellon which was made worse as from the restart Carr for Westhill, looking suspiciously offside, broke free only to be upended in the box by Wilson for a penalty which Milton tucked away with aplomb.

Ellon were beginning to tire and Finnie replaced Urquhart in the middle of the park to see if his experience could help see the game out for the visitors.n

Ironside came on for the last ten minutes to see if he could his attacking experience to bag a goal and ease the nerves for the last period.

Westhill did have a couple of more efforts on goal but both were held well by the impressive Dickinson.

Ellon managed to hold out for a narrow win that could prove to be significant when the relegation places are decided at the end of the season.

Final Score 2-3 in favour of Ellon AFC

aThe match marked a triumphant return for manager Booth and an absolutely vital threee points for Ellon in their battle against relegation.

It was no coincidence that his return saw a much improved Ellon performance.

Outstanding contributions by Dickinson and Wilson ensured that Ellon now have given themselves a fighting chance of survival.

Man of the Match

Ellon : Andy Dickinson

Westhill : Jamie McInnes