A THRILLING fightback by Ellon United saw them come from 2-0 down to beat league favourites Culter 3-2 in the quarter-final of the Dominos Pizza North Regional Cup at The Meadows on Saturday.
United competed throughout but were punished for two defensive lapses which led to Culter’s ace predator Jamie McAllister giving the visitors a two-goal lead four minutes into the second half.
A Jordan Morrice penalty and a header from Mark Lawson pulled the home side level, before they cashed in on a defensive mix-up to snatch the lead, which they held to take their place in the semi-finals alongside Maud, Stonehaven and the winners of the Dyce-East End tie.
Culter were first to threaten with McBain shooting over. United’s front pairing of Callum Dunbar and Lenny Johnson were managing to cause the Culter defence problems and with 16 minutes gone, Dunbar almost forced his way clear, but Wilson stuck to his task and managed to clear the danger.
The visitors were presented with the lead three minutes later when a miscued defensive header fell kindly for McAllister who was left with an easy task to sweep home.
Culter failed to make any impression with several long-range efforts before United came close to snatching the equaliser in the 25th minute. Calum Annand broke on the right and his inviting low cross was met by Jordan Morrice only to see his first-time effort blocked by keeper Duffy.
Neat work down United’s left saw Callum Dunbar feed Morrice whose cross was met by Annand but, unfortunately, the ball was just too high and the header drifted harmlessly over the bar.
With 38 muinutes gone, Scott Whelan worked his way forward only to be fouled on the edge of the box, but the defensive wall stood firm and the free kick came to nothing.
Culter put the United defence under pressure with a series of corners at the close of the first half, which was only relieved when Craik’s header flew well over the bar.
United got off to a poor start in the second half and paid the price with only four minutes gone. McAllister was allowed to latch on to a simple through ball
and fired home his second.
Ellon refused to buckle and were thrown a lifeline in the 67th minuter when they won a penalty, which was confidently converted by Morrice.
United took just three more minutes to draw level when Mark Lawson rose above the defence to meet a free kick from Matty Bremner and hsi header found the bottom corner.
Ellon kept the initiative and took the lead in the 72nd minute. Annand again broke on the right and when the Culter defence were unable to deal with the low cross, the ball fell to Morrice to put the home side ahead.
Culter pressed from the restart and forced a corner which was stoutly defended, the ball eventually going behind for a goal kick.
The Aberdeen side put United under some testing pressure over the closing minutes to no avail.
Ellon United: Steer, Bremner, Allsop, Whelan, Reid, Lawson, Annand, Leahy, Johnson (Stewart), Dunbar, Morrice (Mathers), Lamberty, Tait, Bailey.
Culter: Duffy, Sim, Robertson, Kelly, Wilson, McArthur, McBain, Craik, McAllister, Taylor, Leith, McWilliam, Rattray, Shand, Farquhar.
This was an excellent result for United, but they must now take this spirit and level of performance into their vital league match at Lewis United on Saturday. Kick off is 2pm.