Ellon Amateurs 0 - Blackburn 1

Derek Taylor parries away a challenge from Blackburn as a brave Ellon side missed out on victory. (Picture: AWG)
Derek Taylor parries away a challenge from Blackburn as a brave Ellon side missed out on victory. (Picture: AWG)

Ellon looked to avenge an earlier season reverse at the hands of Blackburn, but this would not be easy with Blackburn sitting second top in the league and looking to cement their promotion credentials. With regular keeper Cumming on loan to Ellon United, young Andy McLaren took over in the sticks for his first appearance after stepping up from juvenile football.

Ellon were under pressure right from the start with home forays into the opposition half few and far between. Wilson broke free on the left and put in a cross which was met by Cameron. His header was destined for the top corner till McLaren pulled off a wonder stop to the visitors going one up early on.

It was all Blackburn in the early stages but Ellon eventually did make it into the opposition half when a good move between Hamilton and Booth resulted in Lynch being set free, but his final effort was saved.

The home side then had a real let-off as Dunn headed goalwards from a corner and Taylor deflected over from almost under the bar. There was a distinct suspicion of handball, but the referee indicated a corner amid some dispute from the visitors.

Craig Smith, on a much welcomed return from the footballing wilderness, broke free of the away defence and sent Hamilton through. His shot was blocked and subsequent efforts by Lynch and Slesser came to no avail.

It was not long before Blackburn were on the front foot again, as rangy left winger Wilson swept in another free kick effort which McLaren once more saved with aplomb.

Smith then had a chance for Ellon with his head, but his effort was weak at best. Ellon rounded off the half on the offensive when the all action Booth rattled in a fierce effort which was gathered at the second attempt by Hill.

Ellon started the second period brightly, with Hamilton and Lynch both getting through only to see their efforts go wide.

But Blackburn were always dangerous, and Vine-Jones and Wilson both passed up chances to take the lead. It was not long in coming, and ten minutes into the half Cameron Smith held the ball up intelligently and laid a perfect ball back to Blackwood. who left McLaren with no chance from 18 yards.

Ellon decided to freshen things up with the pacy Goodwin replacing Smith who had run his course after a lengthy absence from first team duties.

Scott Lynch continued to look lively for Ellon and he was just wide with a shot-cum-cross. Ellon then introduced Anderson for Booth to see if the wide man, who has turned games for Ellon before, could weave a bit of magic. With about 15 to go, Ellon were forced into another substitution when Slesser fell foul of cramp when well positioned to score. McShea took his place in the heart of midfield where his experience would be used to good effect.

Hamilton had Ellon’s last effort as he broke clear, but his shot was saved easily by Hill. Man of the Match - Ellon : Andy McLaren; Blackburn : Andy Murray

Ellon gave a better account of themselves against difficult opposition although defeat still ensued. Andy McLaren had a great game for his first senior effort, and regular keeper Cumming will have his work cut out to get his place back.

Ellon’s next game will be the White Cup semi-final against Cove Thistle at the Ellon Meadows, kick off 14:00. A good home support would certainly help the cause.

ELLON: McLaren, Wilson, Skinner, Laird, Taylor, Morrison, Booth, Slesser, Lynch, Smith, Hamilton. Subs: Goodwin, Anderson, McShea, Thomson, Johnston