A DEPLETED Ellon United bowed out of the Fly Emirates Scottish Junior Cup when they lost 2-1 to East Kilbride Thistle at the Meadows on Saturday.
The visitors were unable to match the slicker passing and movement of the home side for long spells but despite this United, beset by injuries, could not put the East Kilbride goal under enough threat and even passed up a chance from the penalty spot. Two defensive slips cost them dearly.
There was nothing to chose between the sides early on with United’s passing game countered by East Kilbride’s more direct approach in trying to get the ball forward to their big strike force.
United suffered a blow when Matty Bremner had to go off and were dealt another setback with the visitors taking a 12th minute lead.
A United defender’s effort to cut out an awkward cross resulted in the ball being deflected directly into the path of McRobert in the clear to shoot home from some ten yards out.
Matty Bremner was unable to continue and was replaced by Paul Leahy making his return from a spell out injured.
United were unable to turn their approach play into goal chances with keeper McBride untroubled until Scott Whelan did manage to create space for a shot which went just wide.
A spell of Ellon pressure after the half hour mark saw McBride pull off a good block to keep out Callum Dunbar then two minutes later United were awarded a penalty. McBride made up his mind and went early to his right and guessed correctly to make a good save to parry Ryan Stewart’s spot kick.
United drew level within a minute of the restart with Paul Leahy losing his marker to head Blair Johnston’s free kick into the bottom corner, despite McBride’s best efforts.
The home now had the bit between their teeth but were still unable to find the route to goal. Paul Leahy drove over and a corner from Calum Anand flew across the face of the East Kilbride goal only to be missed by everyone.
Shaun Goate replaced Fraser Tait for the home side, taking up a defensive role with Jonathon Millsom stepping forward into the midfield.
The visitors weathered United’s second half push and began to get back into the game, throwing the ball forward whenever possible. It paid off when the Ellon defence failed to cut out a cross and the ball fell to Sloan with the time and space to drill it beyond Callum Steer to give East Kilbride their 2-1 win.
Ellon United: Steer, Millsom, Johnston, Whelan, Reid, Allsop, Annand, Bremner (Leahy), Stewart, Dunbar, Tait (Goate), McNellis, Morrice.
East Kilbride: McBride, Kelsall, Stewart, Borg, McNemeny, Sloan, Clark, Connoly, Boyle, Winters, McRobert, Elmslie, Jeffrey, Massie, Smith, Findlay.
United return to domestic duty on Saturday with league leaders Culter the visitors to the Meadows. Kick off is 2pm.
The Crombie Park side have only slipped up once in the league so far this season when they lost away to Hall Russell United.
They also had a comfortable 4-0 home win against Thornton Hibs last Saturday in their Scottish Cup tie.
Bruce Morrison and Scott Brown will be hoping that enough of their charges will have come through in a fit enough state for this Saturday’s game.