ELLON United put up a spirited performance before losing 2-0 away to Superleague runners-up Stonehaven.
It was always going to be a difficult trip on Wednesday of last week with United forced to field an understrength side.
They were only able to select eight fit, signed players on the night.
Fortunately, Craig Stewart managed to call on the services of four youngsters with Ryan Smart, James Goodlad, Grant Taylor and Mitchell Deans coming to the rescue as Ellon must surely have fielded their youngest side for many seasons.
With Ross Buchanan unavailable and Jamie McKinnon serving the second game of his two-match suspension, Ross Forsyth showed his versatility by taking over in goal.
With Ross Forsyth, Calum Annand, Mark Lawson and Steve Gunn at the back to guide their young colleagues, United put up a strong showing before losing out to a full-strength home side, who finished second in the league behind all conquering Hermes.
Stonehaven opened the scoring 10 minutes before the interval, breaking on their right with Cruickshank firing home the cutback from the edge of the box.
United’s Mitchell Deans replaced James Goodland for the second half.
Stonehaven were awarded a dubious free kick in the 62nd minute, with McCall moving forward and the big defender’s looping header found the postage stamp corner to cmplete the scoring.
Ellon United: Forsyth, Annand, Bailey, Taylor, Lawson, Gunn, Simpson, Johnson, Forbes, Smart, Goodlad (Deans).
Stonehaven: Smith, Croll, McCall, Winton, Low, Reid, Murray, Duncan, Steel, Cruickshank, Glass, Horne, Shand, Pyper, Alexander, Nicoll, Stewart.
Ellon have now lost narrowly to the top two sides in the division in recent weeks. They went out 2-1 at home to Hermes in the semi-final of the McBookie.com McLenman Cup on Wednesday, May 16.
Their final game of the season sees them travel to Culter tonight (Thursday) with a 7.15pm kick off.
The winning numbers in United’s weekly Lucky Six Draw were 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 11, and with no one picking the full set, the jackpot for next week’s draw will be £1,650, with the selection from 6 and 12.
The consolation prizewinners were G Mutch and Scotscoup.