Ellon AFC were back on league duty after their Scottish Cup travels and the fixture calendar through up a tricky-looking encounter at Rothienorman versus Rothie Rovers.
Both sides have had a mixed bag of results for the season and looking to get some consistency of performance.
But in the end it was a great 4-2 victory for for Ellon against a good Rothie Rovers side. Once they adapted to the formation changes they never looked back and thoroughly deserved their victory. There was certainly no hangover from the previous week’s disappointment.
Fraser Thomson took all the plaudits with a well taken hat-trick and given that he is only three games into a return from a serious knee injury it pays great tribute to his strength of character and all round fitness levels that he was able to turn in such a performance.
Ellon managers Booth and Anderson looked to changes things around with a more attacking 4-3-3 formation to see if this would give the expected return.
The experienced Dickinson returned between the sticks and as captain and top scorer Bain made the long journey from the Black Isle just to take part in the game. Ellon were the first to threaten as Bain was fouled on the edge of the area but Thomson’s effort was cleared.
Rothie then started to really dictate in the midfield area as Ellon found it hard to adjust to their new formation.
After a lively midfield battle for the first 15 or so Rothie grabbed the lead after 19 minutes.
A cross by Wood was met by Ellon’s McShea but his weak attempted clearance fell in a central area. Unfortunately the ball went right to the feet of Rothie’s main goal threat Fisher and he hammered the ball home to put his side one up.
Rothie continued to press and midfield general Leslie unleashed a great effort from 25 yards but fortunately for Ellon his effort was straight at Dickinson.
Ellon looked dangerous as they found room to feed Scott Morrison on the right wing and from one of his crosses he found Thomson whose shot was blocked.
Just before the half Wood fed Pugh and Slesser was forced into a great last ditch challenge to stop Ellon going further behind.
Ellon started the second period with Thomson and Morrison under strict instructions to get closer to Bain in Ellon’s attack and this seemed to have the desired effect.
Bain was fouled 25 yards out on Rothie’s right by full back Beaton and his retaliation led to a booking but also served to distract the home defence as they failed to organise themselves to receive the free kick.
Dempster whipped the ball into the near post and Slesser attacked the ball to glance home a sidefoot effort after just 7 minutes of the half.
Ellon were really starting to take the game to Rothie and Bain broke clear of the home defence and should have scored but even after two efforts with just the keeper to beat he could not finish.
But they did not have to wait long to take the lead as only two minutes later a great run by Anderson saw him feed Thomson and the youngster remained composed to round the keeper and put Ellon in the lead.
Ellon made a change after 20 minutes with Irvine replacing holding midfielder Urquhart and just four minutes later they went further in front.
A throw in by Dempster was met by Hamilton whose flicked header was controlled by Thomson and he calmly finished to grab his second and Ellon’s third. Another great ball in by Scott Morrison saw Bain get a shot in but it went just past.
Some 30 minutes into the half a great half volley by Findlater from 25 yards rocketed into the top corner of Dickinson’s net leaving the keeper with no chance.
McShea was replaced by Lee Morrison after 35 minutes and 3 minutes later they were two ahead once more. Some great one touch passing between Bain and Anderson saw the latter get the ball to Thomson who ran in on goal and chipped keeper Mitchell to bag his hat-trick.
With eight minutes left Ellon sent on Murray and Smith for Bain and Scott Morrison as they looked to see the game out.
But there was still time for substitute Smith to get through on keeper Mitchell but his weak chip was saved by the keeper.
Ellon Amateurs: Dickinson, McShea, Anderson, Hamilton, Laird, Slesser, Scott Morrison, Dempster, Bain, Urquhart, Thomson Subs: Niall Murray, Longmuir, Lee Morrison, Smith, Irvine
Ellon: James Bain
Rothie Rovers: David Stephen