Ellon no match for league leaders

Callum Dunbar on the attack for Ellon against Culter.
Callum Dunbar on the attack for Ellon against Culter.
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ELLON United slumped to a 3-0 defeat by league leaders at the Meadows on Saturday.

United’s depleted young squad worked hard to try and match the visitors, but the Aberdeen side’s vast experience proved too much.

Ellon were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Mark Lawson was dismissed for a second caution midway through the second half.

It was one of many refereering decisions which left the home side baffled.

The pitch passed a morning inspection and the improvement in the weather following snow the previous evening, meant there were absolutely no problems with the surface when kick-off arrived.

The poor weather saw the postponement of both Formartine United’s home game with in-form Nairn County, and Inverurie Locos home fixture against league leaders Cove Rangers. Turriff United’s home game with Brora Rangers also fell victim to the weather.

Ellon hard work saw them able to contain Culter in the opening spell although they were unable to keep possession well enough.

The hosts suffered a severe blow in the 18th minute when keeper Callum Steer was penalised and Jamie McAlistair stepped up to open his account with an unstoppable spot kick.

Steer was forced to into a save to deny Craik midway through the half but other than that the home side were able to compete with their fancied visitors for the remainder of the first half with Culter taking their goal advantage into the interval.

Ellon got off to the worst possible start to the second period with Jamie McAlistair grabbing his second goal within two minutes of the kick-off.

The home side made a change in the 60th minute with Jordan Morrice making his return from injury to take over from Darren Bailey wide left.

Culter were awarded yet another apparently soft free kick in the 68th minute with Steer turning the shot round the post for a corner.

Two minutes later United’s frustrations with the referee’s performance found them reduced to 10 men when Mark Lawson received a second yellow card.

It was now a case of damage limitation for Ellon against their powerful opponents and when substitute McBain added a third in the 75th minute it looked ominous.

United freshened things up in the 80th minute with Willie Mathers replacing Ryan Stewart up front.

The home side fought their way through to the end with no more mishaps and it took a fine stop from Culter keeper Duffy to prevent Jonathon Millson from snatching a late consolation in the 86th minute.

Ellon United: Steer, Millsom, Johnston, Whelan, Reid, Lawson, Annand, Kevin Stewart, Ryan Stewart (Mathers), Dunbar, Bailey (Morrice).

Culter: Duffy, Sim, Robertson, Brown, Reid, Shand, McArrthur, Craik, J McAlistair, Taylor, Youngson, Wilson, Leith, D McAlistair, McBain, Farquhar.

United are at home again on Saturday when they face Banks o’ Dee in the second round of the Dominoes Pizza North Regional Cup.

The Spain Park side are now under new management team and will be in buoyant mood following their comprehensive 5-1 win over Dyce at the weekend.

United should also have a bigger squad available for the cup tie. The match kicks off at 2pm.

The tie will go straight to a penalty shoot-out if it is all square at full time.