Ellon United were able to take things into their own hands to make sure of their Superleague survival with a 1-0 home win over Banks O’Dee at The Meadows.
Saturday’s results left FC Stoneywood four points adrift after their final fixture and East End drew their match against Hall Russell United to trail United by six points so that they must now win both their outstanding fixtures against Hermes and Banks O’Dee to have any hope of equalling United’s points tally.
United and Banks O’Dee both lacked a cutting edge with visitors in particular lacking any composure in the attacking third as United mopped up all the pressure from the visitors, especially in the closing twenty minutes when the home side were reduced to ten men after Chris Allsop had been red carded for his second caution.
It was typical of the game that the only goal came in the 34th minute when former United skipper, Ross Forsyth’s attempted clearance from a wicked inswinging corner flew past his own keeper.
Banks O’Dee saw most of the ball early on without showing enough guile to break down the United defence and were unable to put keeper Tony Buckley under any undue pressure.
At the other end keeper Smith had to look lively to get down full stretch to turn a shot from Lewis McCauley behind for a corner in the 33rd minute. Blair Johnston moved across to take the set piece and fired over a wicked cross which Ross Forsyth tried to put safely behind at the back post only to see his header flash into the net.
Dee responded with Tony Buckley forced into an instinctive block and Jonathon Millsom following up to complete the clearance. United hit back with a shot from Paul Leahy dipping over the bar.
An early secondhalf through ball set up a half chance for Robertson but his weak effort failed to trouble Buckley.
Banks O’Dee were awarded a series of promising free kicks but wasted them all. United made their first change in the 65th minute with Jordan Morrice adding fresh legs to replace Scott McLeod. Ross Forsyth had the chance to make up for his own goal but his diving header went wide.
United were reduced to ten men in the 75th minute when Chris Allsop was given his marching orders for two cautions. Ellon made a second change in the 82nd minute with Ryan Stewart replacing Paul Leahy.
Dee lacked composure over the closing stages and were unable to get the better of the home side despite them being a man short and having to play over five minutes of stoppage time.
Ellon United: Buckley, Annand, Allsop, Craib, Lawson, Millsom, Leahy (Stewart), McCauley, Tremaine, McLeod (Morrice), Johnston, Kwiatkowski, Erskine, Steer.
Banks O’Dee: Smith, Allan, Turnbull, Cameron, Reid, Forsyth, Winton, Cruickshank, Alexander, Anderson, Robertson, McCall, Biskup, Horne, Duncan, Croll.
United can now relax going into their final two games and try to finish on a high with as many points as they can. Next Saturday they play their last home game when Dyce are their visitors to The Meadows, kick off 2pm.