Ellon United were brushed aside for much of the game against Hermes at The Meadows on Saturday with the visitors winning 3-1.
United conceded three times from set pieces to fall three goals behind, before winning a penalty midway through the second half to pull a goal back.
It was only from there on that the home side managed to up their tempo to deny Hermes the extent of dominance they had enjoyed up until that time.
Hermes put United under pressure right from their kick off. They forced a corner in the opening minute with Tony Buckley punching clear only to see the ball fall to Michie whose shot flew well over.
The visitors kept Ellon under pressure and within two minutes another corner was met by Smith whose header flashed wide of the near post.
The Hermes defender continued to push forward at every opportunity testing Buckley with a shot in the fifth minute which fortunately flew straight at the United keeper.
Hermes’ pressure told in the ninth minute from yet another corner, when this time the home side failed to cut out the cross which fell to Mountford lurking at the back post to drill home the opener high into the roof of the net.
The visitors continued to dominate the first half without cashing in. A Michie effort in the 28th minute flew well over before a snapshot from the Wyness in the 33rd minuted forced a save from Buckley.
Ryan Stewart came out in place of Neil Erskine for the start of the second half for United.
Ellon conceded a poorsecond goal in the 52nd minute when Winton was allowed to nod on a long throw in, with the ball looping into the top corner.
United’s vulnerability from set pieces cost them again in the 65th minute, when they were unable to cut out another corner with the ball reaching Smith who promptly drove home Hermes’ third goal.
United won a penalty in the 67th minute when Callum Tremaine was too quick for his marker and was sent sprawling in the box. Stewart stepped forward to drill the ball past Sweeney from the spot. United made their second change with Jordan Morrice coming on to replace Scott McLeod.
United were now looking far tighter and were beginning to win their share of possession. The visitors were almost caught out when a deep cross from Blair Johnston curled in at the top corner.
With the sides now cancelling each other out, neither was able to add to their tally in the final quarter.
Ellon United: Buckley, Annand, Johnston, Thomson, Reid, Allsop, McLeod (Morrice), McCauley, Erskine (Stewart), Tremaine, Craib, Kwiatkowski, Whelan.
Hermes: Sweeney, Fuller, Smith, Freeland, Pirie, Winton, Stewart, Michie, Mountford, Wyness, Macklin, Nash, Murray, Campbell, Wilson, Holt.
Having failed to pick up any points in their final game of 2013 the pressure is now on United to get something from their trip to Denmore on Saturday to face a Hall Russell United side who will be buoyed by their fine 4-2 win over Maud last weekend. The match kicks off at 1.30pm.