Ellon United were unable to add to their league points tally on Saturday when they went down 3-1 away to Hermes.
United’s injury woes continued with keeper Callum Steer forced to miss out but fortunately Tony Buckley was able to deputise and with Lewis McAuley and Neil Erskine unavailable, United were able to bring back Blair Johnston and Jordan Morrice.
Ellon were left frustrated by some of the refereeing decisions, particularly the free kicks which led directly to Hermes opening two goals but it was the home side who had to play out the closing ten minutes with ten men when striker McLachlan was red carded with Hermes leading 2-1.
Unfortunately the visitors did not manage to take advantage as they were caught out immediately as they chased the game and found themselves 3-1 adrift.
Hermes forced the early play. The home side were awarded a free kick in the 11th minute with McRae curling his shot just wide then five minutes later Tony Buckley was forced into a save, turning the ball behind for a corner. United had to make an early change when Lenny Johnson was forced to retire to be replaced by Ryan Stewart. Tony Buckley took no chances with a 23rd minute drive which he tipped over his bar. United replied with a shot from Callum Tremaine hitting the side netting. The first half ended controversally when Hermes were fortunate to be awarded a free kick on the edge of the United box and McRae’s shot landed in the far corner to give the home side a lead at the interval.
Hermes doubled their advantage six minutes into the second half, again in questionable circumstances. Buckley collected the ball only to be penalised for handling a pass back and Smith’s free kick must have gone in off a defender to have counted. United pulled a goal back in the 57th minute when a Scott McLeod lob caught out keeper Sweeney. Hermes passed up the chance to regain their two goal cushion with Wyness shooting wide.
United made their second change in the 68th minute with Chris Craib replacing Mariusz Kwiatkowski in midfield. Sweeney prevented McLeod from the snatching the equalizer with a fine block at his near post. United made their final change in the 81st minute with Mark Lawson replacing Jordan Morrice and taking a forward position to try and put some physical pressure on the home defence.
Hermes McLachlan was dismissed a minute later for comments made to one of the assistants but before United could make any use of their extra men they were well and truly caught out when Hermes broke down their right and substitute Stewart was on hand to apply a simple tap in from the cross. United did manage to force some closing pressure without being able to test keeper Sweeney.
Ellon United: Buckley, Annand, Allsop, Kwiatkowski (Craib), Tait, Millsom, Johnson (Stewart), Johnston, McLeod, Tremaine, Morrice (Lawson), Kennedy, Leahy.
Hermes: Sweeney, Fuller, Macklin, Smith, Pirie, Watson, Thomson, McRae, McLachlan, Wyness, Wilson, Nash, Murray, Stewart, Winton.
The battle at the bottom remains too tight to call. After Saturday’s results, East End were the only side to come out on top and they now sit four points behind United with each having three games to play. FC Stoneywood played their first match on their new pitch but lost out to Hall Russell United so that with only one game at Dyce remaining, they stay a point behind United.
With cup ties taking centre stage on Saturday, none of the Superleague sides has a league fixture and United have a free date.
The league matches return on Saturday, April 19, with United hosting Banks O’Dee, Stoneywood playing their closing match at Dyce and East End at home to Hall Russell United.