Ellon United made it into the second round of The GA Engineering Ltd Inter Regional Cup with a 3-2 win over Hall Russell United at Denmore on Saturday.
United gave a start to new signing Andy Anderson who made a scoring debut but were missing Mark Lawson who has stepped up to the Highland League with Huntly.
In the absence of their former skipper, United had Chris Allsop and Jonathon Millsom as their central defensive pairing.
The United defence were kept on their toes in the first fifteen minutes as the home side looked to press forward but it was Ellon who were first to test a keeper when Lenny Johnson’s 16th minute goal bound shot was turned behind for a corner.
Two minutes later Hall Russell were presented with the lead when United were needlessly caught in possession on the edge of their own box and with their defence unable to retrieve the situation Lewis Forbes made them pay with his low shot finding the bottom corner.
A late flurry turned the tie in Ellon’s favour just before the interval. In the 43rd minute Lenny Johnson finished off a controlled period of Ellon possession by slipping in Scott McLeod to equalise then in injury time Lewis Macaulay fed Aiden Greig who gave Ellon the lead with only time to restart.
Ellon increased their advantage seven minutes into the second half with a fine move started and finished by new boy Andy Anderson.
The striker won the ball on the left and cut inside before switching the play out to Johnson on the right and following up to finish off the wide man’s dangerous low cross to the near post. Ellon made a double change midway through the half with Dev Kennedy-Colbert and Callum Tremaine coming on for Scott McLeod and Lenny Johnson before replacing Andy Anderson with Neil Erskine.
Ellon should have put the tie to rest but a lack of composure in front of goal together with some fine goalkeeping kept Hall Russells in contention. Ellon might have been punished at a free kick in the 77th minute but the ball was missed by everyone and curled harmlessly beyond the far post but there was no escape three minutes later when Ellon failed to clear their lines and David Anderson pulled a goal back to give his side a chance over the closing stages. Erskine should have settled things for Ellon late on when clean through but appeared to get caught in two minds and the home keeper was able to make a comfortable save but no damage was done as Ellon played out the stoppage time.
Ellon United: Calder, Scully, Craib, Thomson, Allsop, Millsom, Johnson (Tremaine), Macaulay, Anderson (Erskine), McLeod (Kennedy-Colbert), Greig, Steer.
United are back on cup duty again on Saturday when they face what looks to be their toughest challenge so far this season when they welcome a Hermes side who have been sweeping all before them to The Meadows for their Grill League Cup semi final. The tie kicks off at 2pm.