Ellon United completed their away fixtures for 2013 with a battling 1-0 win over New Elgin on Saturday with the strong wind blowing the length of the pitch making life awkward for all the players.
With several players unavailable on top of their injured list, United were again short in numbers but with Tony Buckley among those available they were fortunate to call on the services of Ellon AFC’s Mike McKinnon with the young keeper doing well and pulling off some fine stops to ensure United kept a clean sheet.
An unfortunate awkward landing by United’s Jonathon Millsom, which resulted in a dislocated shoulder, forced United into changes in the second half with Grant Thomson moving into a defensive role and Lewis McCauley coming off the bench into the midfield following his lengthy lay off.
United faced the wind in the first half and were unable to really get going in the opening spell.
Turner shot wide in the eighth minute with Ellon responding through a break up their right with Neil Erskine’s first time effort from the cross slipping wide of the near post.
United forced a corner a minute later with Paul Leahy’s header also going wide. Play switched back to the other end with the home side forcing several corners but the Ellon defence stood firm.
A good through ball set up a fine chance for New Elgin but McKinnon did well to shepherd the home striker wide initially with a vital challenge from Thomson making sure that Elgin were unable to cash in on the final cut back.
New Elgin continued to dominate the possession and were awarded a free kick midway through the first half with McKinnon taking no chances by punching the ball well clear for a corner with any pressure relieved when the home side conceded a free kick at the cross.
It was United who broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when they forced a corner on their right with Callum Tremaine heading home Chris Craib’s inswinging cross.
The home side held on to the lion’s share of the ball but were almost caught out again in the 31st minute when Thomson and Millsom worked the play forward to find Scott Mcleod whose shot flew over.
Elgin countered immediately but were unable to get the better of McKinnon and his defensive colleagues. The half drew to a close with United on the attack. They forced a free kick on the edge of the home box but the defensive wall held firm.
A shot from McLeod two minutes into the second half flew straight at keeper Stewart.
Six minutes later a bit of a scramble in the Ellon box following a New Elgin free kick ended with McKinnon turning the ball round his post. The corner was fed back to Sim whose shot flew well over.
The home side were awarded another free kick in a dangerous position some five minutes later. The ball was cleared but fell to McPhee whose shot tipped on his post and clear by McKinnon at full stretch.
United were forced to make a change in the 64th minute with McCauley replacing the injured Millsom who had to be taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder.
Ellon should have doubled their advantage in the 70th minute when Tremaine caught out the home defence to win possession when he had no right to and cut the ball back for Erskine but the young striker tried to chip the ball home instead of burying the chance and the ball was cleared.
Seven minutes later Fraser Tait found Craib out wide and his cut back was met first time by McCauley whose shot crashed back off the post. Within two minutes another shot from McCauley was turned behind for a corner by keeper Stewart.
The home side kept fighting for the equaliser but United were equally determined as they held out for an important win.
Ellon United: McKinnon, Millsom (McCauley), Allsop, Thomson, Leahy, Reid, McLeod, Tait, Erskine, Tremaine, Craib, Kwiatkowski.
New Elgin: Stewart, G.McKenzie, McGettrick, Sim, Stuart, McPhee, Riddoch, C.McKenzie, Wilson, Turner, S.McKenzie, Burgess, Hilson, Connoly, Wilkinson.
United must be well satisfied with being able to return from such a difficult trip with full points thanks to their spirited performance.
They have no game on Saturday with their final game of the year at home to Hermes on Saturday, December 28, when the kick-off at The Meadows will be at 1.30pm.