Caught between a rock and a hard place

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Ellon United were unable to overcome their Polo Park demons with a disappointing performance which gifted FC Stoneywood the points with a 4 - 2 win in their league meeting last weekend. Too many United players were posted missing in the first half presenting their hosts with a two goal lead thanks to two gifted goals. Stoneywood became sloppy after the interval but as soon as United pulled themselves back into the game they immediately threw it away again as they continued to concede soft goals.

The pitch was in poor condition on a miserable afternoon and Stoneywood looked far more up for the fight than United. The visitors should have heeded an early lesson after only two minutes when Stoneywood had the ball in the net from a corner but the whistle had blown for an infringement and Ellon were awarded a free kick. In the 9th minute. Keith Walker nodded a Calum Annand free kick on to Jamie McKinnon but his touch knocked the ball wide for a goal kick. Six minutes later a Stoneywood free kick was missed by everyone with Chris Craib taking no chances beyond the far post and turning the ball behind for a corner. United did not defend the cross well but the ball fortunately carried through for a goal kick.

It was Stoneywoods turn to defend a dangerous free kick in the 17th minute after Chris Craib had been taken out as he threatened to break clear with Blair Johnston`s deep hanging cross cleared for a corner. Fraser Tait met the cross only to see his effort blocked and when the ball broke out to Craig Morrison his shot was deflected for another corner.

Ellon were awarded a free kick on the half hour mark with keeper Goodbrand doing well to tip Craig Morrison`s shot over for a corner. Stoneywood took the lead nine minutes before the break. The home side looked t have wasted a free kick which appeared to be falling well short. but central defender Brown moved out of the pack and found space to turn the ball home with the United defenders flat footed. Stoneywood doubled their lead within two minutes when Bain headed home from a corner with the United defending again looking suspect. Jamie McKinnon had to leave the field for treatment with Steve Gunn replacing the central defender in the 40th minute.

Ellon snatched a goal back in the 52nd minute and this time it was Stoneywood`s turn to fail to deal with a good cross from Calum Annand with Craig Morrison taking advantage to force the ball home. Instead of building on their goal United frustratingly conceded another goal within two minutes. Skinner was allowed to collect a long clearance far too easily and brushed aside United`s weak efforts to stop him before he set up Stevenson to apply a simple finish.

United were back in contention only four minutes later. Keith Walker picked up Steve Gunn`s through ball and moved forward before finding Craig Morrison who fired home his second of the afternoon. United made another change in the 71st minute with Darren Bailey replacing Fraser Tait. Three minutes later Niall Corser released Greg Simpson whose cross was collected by Blair Johnston but his shot was blocked for a corner.

Any hopes of a late Ellon fight back were dashed in the 77th minute when more slack defensive work allowed Stoneywood far too much room to break out wide and allowed them to send in their cross under no pressure to find Skinner who had lost his marker and was left to score with an easy header. United made their final change in the 81st minute with Lenny Johnson replacing Chris Craib..

ELLON UNITED: Buchanan, Annand, Johnston, Corser, McKinnon (Gunn), Ralton, Simpson Tait (Bailey), Walke, Morrison, Craib (Johnson), Forbes.

FC STONEYWOOD: S. Goodbrand, Bain, Metelski, Lamb, Brown, Cromar, Ogston, R. Goodbrand, Skinner, Stevenson, McKechnie, Elphinstone, Anderson, Chouman, Farmer, Marwick.

United are away on cup duty for the next two weeks. Next Saturday sees them visit Inverness City for their quarter final tie in the Dominos Pizza North Regional Cup and both sides will be looking to get back on the rails after poor results last weekend. The kick off is at 2:00pm.