Ellon United were finally back in action on Saturday following their enforced break but came up against a powerful Culter side who ran out 4-2 winners at the Meadows.
United, hit weather call-offs for the last four weeks, were level at 2-2 at the interval but the champions took advantage of two corners to claim the three points.
The Aberdeen side took the lead out of nothing in the 26th minute. A low shot from Bain was covered by Tony Buckley, but disaster for United when the ball suddenly bounced in front of the keeper, hitting him on the face, and rebounding straight to ace predator McAllister, who will not score an easier goal this season.
Ellon hit back immediately with Jordan Morrice grabbing the equaliser within a minute.
United had the chance to take the lead five minutes later when they opened up the Culter defence with Blair Johnston setting up Callum Tremaine, but his shot failed to trouble keeper Pennet.
An Ellon goal was only delayed for a minute. Neat work down the left ended with Morrice finding Ryan Stewart, who shot home into the far corner.
Just when it looked as though the home side take a lead into the break, the visitors struck in stoppage time. United expected play to be pulled up for a free kick and when the ball was sent over they failed to clear and Murray was there to volley home.
Ellon tired visible as the second half wore on and Culter began to have the edge.
The Crombie Park side took the lead in the 68th minute when United were unable to prevent the towering substitute Taylor from heading home a wind-assisted, in-swinging corner.
A great save from Pennet denied Stewart an 80th minute equaliser but it was Culter who extended their lead two minutes later with Taylor bundling home another corner to send them to the top of the league with games in hand over their nearest rivals.
Although unsuccessful in the end against a strong Culter side, this provided a welcome and much-needed workout for United before their crucial league game on Saturday away to East End. It is a match they must win to keep themselves above the relegation zone. Kick-off is 2pm.
Ellon United: Buckley, Millsom, Johnston, Craib (Johnson), Leahy, Reid, Annand (McCauley), Thomson, Stewart, Tremaine (Kwiatkowski), Morrice, Erskine, McLeod.
Culter: Pennet, Sim, D Taylor, Reid, Kelly, McArthur, Greig, Murray, McAllister, McBain, Leith, M Taylor, McKibben, Youngson, Duffy.