A HUGELY disappointing display from Ellon United saw them slip up badly away to Hall Russell United at the weekend, eventually going down 4-1.
The visitors were rather unfortunate to go in 2-0 in arrears at the interval, but they were made to pay the price for a disastrous closing spell.
Ellon opened the second period on the attack and were rewarded with a goal in the 56th minute to bring them back into contention. The visitors should have equalised four minutes later but wasted a golden opportunity.
From then on they offered little and went on to gift the home side another two goals.
Ellon opened promisingly enough but suffered an early scare when Steve Gunn played a one-two against his own post as he tried to cut out a dangerous low cross before taking the ball clear.
Ellon broke up the left in the 15th minute.
Lewis Forbes’ dummy off Chris Craib’s cross let the ball run on to Lenny Johnston whose first time shot curled just wide. Midway through the half a shot from Ross Forsyth was deflected and almost fell to Chris Craib, but the ball bounced awkwardly for the Ellon man whose attempted header was saved by keeper Carrol.
Jamie McKinnon played on for a spell with a back problem but was replaced by Mark Lawson in the 27th minute.
At this stage Ellon were far too guilty of giving the ball away or putting passes out of play as they failed to come to terms with the poor surface.
Ellon could have been punished in the 34th minute when they again lost the ball upfield allowing Hall Russell to break but Ross Buchanan was able to deal comfortably with Barry Milne’s shot.
Ellon’s inability to keep possession finally cost them in the 40th minute when a mix-up in attack allowed Hall Russell to pick up a loose ball and break forward with Innes firing home the opener.
Worse was to follow for the visitors in the final minute of the half when half-hearted defensive work at a home corner saw Shaw’s shot on the turn deflected over the helpless Ross Buchanan to present the hosts with their two-goal interval lead.
Ellon showed more purpose at the start of the second half, putting the home side under early pressure with a series of corners.
The pressure was finally relieved when a header from Lewis Forbes went over the bar for a goal kick.
Ellon looked to be going to make a real go of things in the 56th minute when Ross Forsyth found Chris Craib whose volley flew past keeper Carrol.
United should have levelled matters four minutes later when Ross Forsyth was again the architect, setting up Lewis Forbes in front of goal but the striker’s weak effort failed to trouble Carrol.
Instead of being able to build on their promising start Ellon were again guilty of some suicidal play.
They once again gave the ball away up front and when it was knocked forward a fresh air effort from an Ellon defender allowed Innes to run clear and drill the ball beyond Ross Buchanan.
The visitors tried to freshen things up with Fraser Tait replacing Steve Gunn and Greg Simpson taking the place of Lewis Forbes, but the damage was done and the visitors had now lost their early momentum.
Ellon’s problems were compounded when they lost the influential Niall Corser for two cautions.
The visitors struggled for the rest of the game and were punished again in the final minute for their failure to retain the ball when full back Clunes added the fourth to bring down the curtain’s on Ellon’s miserable afternoon.
Ellon United: Buchanan, Annand, Johnston, Corser, McKinnon (Lawson), Gunn (Tait), Johnson, Forsyth, Forbes (Simpson), Morrison, Craib.
Hall Russell United: C. Carrol, Clunes, Watson, Robertson, Mitchell, Innes, Hay, S. Carrol, Shaw, B. Milne, Stuart, S. Milne, Simpson, Mackie, Clark.
The result keeps Ellon in mid-table position with two games remaining.
With 24 games played. United have now lost nearly as many matches as they have won, Saturday’s defeat bringing the total to 11, with a single draw throughout the campaign.
United have scored 44 and following the Hall Russell result have now conceded 46.
In recent weeks the team has been hit by injuries and promising young players from Ellon AFC and Ellon Meadows Under 16s have had a chance to shine.
Ellon’s next match is away to Stonehaven. The game has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 23, with a 7pm kick-off.