ELLON AFC travelled to Monifieth to take on Midlands AFA Division 2 side Monifieth Tayside at Riverview Park in the third round of the Fosters Scottish Amateur Cup.
Confidence was high that Ellon could reach the fourth round of this competition for the first time, and with a large travelling support cheering the team on, there was every chance a positive result would be forthcoming.
Managers Booth and Anderson made only one change to the winning line up from last week, with Slesser taking over at number 9 for top scorer Bain who had to miss out due to work commitments.
Nevertheless it was a strong 16, more than capable of giving a good account of themselves against unknown opposition.
Monifieth certainly started the more positive of the two sides, with a good run by Mcleary resulting in a corner which Macmillan just headed over.
Ellon really threatened to break the deadlock when a great angled ball by Scott Morrison found Thomson charging down the left, and his fierce first time strike hit the bottom of the post.
A controversial incident then took place which had a profound effect on the game. Ellon’s Barrett broke clear and as he approached the opposition goal, his effort was handled by the keeper outside the box. Scott Morrison’s follow up effort just went wide as he sought to take advantage of an empty net. The referee saw fit to only book keeper Cosgrove as he did not believe it was a goal scoring opportunity.
This decision seemed to spur the away side, and a Slesser cross found the head of Hamilton but his attempt went over. Then Anderson made a great overlapping run down the left but his effort was held by Cosgrove, who was very fortunate to remain on the field of play. But with 16 minutes gone a great ball by Brinzanescu found Macmillan just inside full back Anderson, and the midfielder hit the ball early from an acute angle just inside the box. Cumming could only look on helplessly as the ball went in at his far post to put the home side one up.
Ellon pressed on in search of the elusive equaliser and started to play some decent one touch football, with Slesser and Scott Morrison prominent in all that was good from the Ellon side.
But Monifieth were still dangerous on the break, and the pacy Brinzanescu left Ellon defenders in his wake as he ran on to power in an effort which Cumming was glad to see go over.
The away side had some good chances just before the half. A great ball by Laird saw the experienced McShea one on one with the keeper, but a heavy touch took him wide and his eventual effort was easily held. Then Barrett broke though the home defence only to see his powerful strike tipped over by Cosgrove.
McShea suffered a bad head knock just before the halftime whistle and, as was expected, did not appear in the second half. However, Ellon had a ready made replacement in Lee Morrison.
Ellon again took the game to Monifieth and a good deep cross by Dempster just eluded Anderson, who appeared to be impeded as he went for the ball. Thomson, following up, just failed to make contact at the back post.
The Monifieth keeper Cosgrove pulled off the save of the match from Hamilton, whose effort was arrowing into the top corner but somehow the keeper got a good strong hand on the ball and tipped it over the bar.
Ellon looked like they had scored when Thomson fired in an angled shot, but much to the dismay of the Ellon support the ball only hit the side netting.
The away side made an early change in the half with Urquhart coming on for Barrett and Hamilton moving into attack. This would add a bit more grit and determination in the Ellon engine house.
Laird kept Ellon in the game when he cleared off the line from Steele, but a second for the home side was not far away as again Steele went on a run down Ellon’s right and his cross was met by Mcleary, who sidefooted home much to the joy of the home support.
The game was beginning to become a bit heated and some strange refereeing decisions were not helping the mood of both sets of players. But it was Ellon that would be punished after 32 minutes as Anderson was shown a straight red card for what looked a really innocuous challenge on substitute Petrie.
This really left Ellon short, and Steele looked to take advantage with another great run and his cross was met by Hill but Cumming was on hand to save.
Ellon rang the changes with 10 to go to see if they could breathe new life into a tiring 10 men. Off came Slesser, Scott Morrison, and Wilson to be replaced by Shaw, Robertson and Longmuir.
The changes certainly gave the away side some impetus, but Hamilton was thwarted twice just before the final whistle as he tried to bag a consolation goal.
Final Score 2-0 Monifieth Tayside
Ellon controlled large parts of this game without showing enough penetration. No doubt they missed the striking ability of Bain but goals need to come from other areas of the pitch. The promise of a great day out was blighted by defeat and Ellon may never have a better opportunity to progress in the competition.
Ellon may look back and say the referee did them no favours, but you have to make your own luck especially when travelling away in the Scottish cup. In saying that we wish Monifieth Tayside all the best for the next round and thank them for their hospitality after the game.
Ellon: Cumming, McShea, Anderson, Hamilton, Laird, Wilson, Scott Morrison, Dempster, Slesser, Barrett, Thomson. Subs : Urquhart, Robertson, Lee Morrison, Shaw, Longmuir.