Ellon held in league opener

FOR the second week running Ellon United allowed their opponents to peg them back to a draw. Longside held United to a 1-1 scoreline in Ellon’s opening league match of the season at The Meadows on Saturday.

Ellon dominated the first half and should have taken a lead into the interval, but they lacked composure in front of goal and the visitors’ resolute defensive work kept the scoreline blank at the break. The home side did finally manage to get their noses in front, only to concede a sloppy equaliser through a catalogue of errors.

Norris fired a snapshot well wide after five minutes for Longside, but it was United who were dominating the play, taking the game to the visitors at every opportunity. The Longside goal survived a spell of pressure set up by Jordan Morrice breaking down the left.

His cross was collected by Callum Dunbar whose shot was cleared off the line and with the Longside defence unable to to force the ball away, it took another despearte goal line clearance to keep United at bay as the visitors stood firm.

Two minutes later United passed up more chances to go ahead. Paul Leahy fed Ryan Stewart whose shot was blocked. The ball was then knocked square across the Longside box with Jordan Morrice beating his marker to the ball, only to send his shot over. He was knocked to the ground for his pains with the home side looking for a penalty.

The United midfielder’s injury failed to clear and he was replaced by Matty Bremner, with Willie Mathers moving across to the left.

Longside were awarded a free kick in the 23rd minute with Black shooting wide. United’s Callum Steer made a couple of good takes under pressure but Longside never really threatened the Ellon goal.

Late first half pressure by United saw Matty Bremner head over from a Blair Johnston cross, then central defender Mark Lawson moved forward for a throw in, only to see his header come back off the post.

Scott Whelan sent the ball over three minutes into the second period with Longside retaliating through a a corner which was headed over by Duncan.

United finally made the breakthrough when Matty Bremner laid off a cross to Mark Lawson who wheeled and blasted the ball past keeper Duffy.

With the hot day taking its toll, United freshened things up in the 72nd minute with Darren Bailey replacing Willie Mathers, but the home side found themselves pegged back within five minutes.

The initial trouble was caused by a rash challenge which presented Longside with a free kick directly in front of goal. Although Walker did not appear to catch his shot cleanly, the ball somehow found its way through the Ellon wall before squirming in at Callum Steer’s bottom left hand post. Fraser Tait replaced Paul Leahy for the closing stages.

Ellon United: Steer, Millsom, Johnston, Leahy (Tait), Lawson, Reid, Mathers (Bailey), Whelan, Stewart, Dunbar, Morrice (Bremner), Eadie, Goate.

Longside: Duffy, Davidson, Beddie, Black, Craik, Donaldson, Cardno, Norris, Duncan, Usher, Porter, Arthur, Whyte, Bruce, Walker, Thomson.

United must learn quickly to be more clinical and to close out games as Saturday’s draw was really two points dropped. United are at Banks of’ Dee’s synthetic pitch on league business on Saturday with a 2pm kick off.