Ellon lose lead and two points at Banchory

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Ellon United’s recently acquired bad habit of throwing away match-winning opportunities struck again on Saturday at Banchory when they gave away a 3-1 lead against a 10-man home side. United conceded two sloppy goals with Banchory’s eventual stoppage time equaliser earning them a 3-3 draw.

Banchory passed up the chance to take a ninth minute lead when they were awarded a soft free kick. The United defence was unable to clear, but fortunately Henderson’s shot flew well over. The home side went ahead four minutes later from another set piece. United were guilty of giving away the silly free kick through a rash challenge and the square pass caught the visitors out completely with Close getting the time and space to pick his spot.

United had the chance to level matters in the 19th minute when Mark Lawson met a corner, but could not put his header on target. Four minutes later Martyn Galley released Darren Bailey, who was tripped as he threatened to run clear on the left, but no Ellon player managed to get on the end of the cross.

Ellon drew level on the half hour mark. Callum Dunbar found Fraser Tait whose shot was parried by kepper Irvine and knocked behind for a corner, but the goal was only delayed with Mark Lawson’s bullet header off Bailey’s inswinging cross giving the keeper no chance.

United then went ahead in the 38th minute following some controversy. The home defence found themselves in trouble from another Ellon corner.

The ball came back off Irvine’s bar and was eventually bundled home, but the referee had whistled for a penalty. In the end keeper Irvine was sent off before Callum Dunbar blasted home the spot kick to give United a half-time lead.

Ryan Stewart replaced Lenny Johnston for United for the second half, then 10 minutes later Ellon made another change with Willie Mathers coming on for Darren Bailey. Two minutes later Martyn Galley found Mathers who cleverly chipped the ball into the path of Ryan Stewart, who shrugged off his marker and rounded the keeper before slotting home.

Instead of building on their clear advantage, Ellon threw the home side a lifeline when woeful defending in the 64th minute left Biskup unmarked in front of goal and the big striker was only too eager to accept the chance.

United made their final change in the closing stages with the introduction of Chris Eadie for Callum Dunbar. The visitors almost gifted Banchory another goal in the 84th minute when young keeper Callum Steer was unable to hold an awkward cross under pressure and the ball broke out too Robertson, but the defender’s shot flew well over.

Ellon should have settled matters in the 87th minute when Steven Reid met another corner at the back post only to head wide. Banchory’s equaliser came in stoppage time from another set piece.

Ellon United: Steer, Millsom, Galley, Leahy, Lawson, Reid, Annand, Tait, Johnson (Stewart), Dunbar (Eadie), Bailey (Mathers), Goate, Bremner.

Banchory St Ternan: Irvine, Gray, Robertson, Reid, Buchan, Leith, Close, Pyper, Biskup, Henderson, Simpson, Adam, Pressley, McGregor, Graham, Knowles.

This was definitely another two points thrown away by United. Faced with ten men, they should have been more than capable of finishing the game off only to show the frailties which have been costing them dearly.e​