Ellon United lost 3-1 away to Fife side Lochore Welfare in their Emirates Scottish Junior Cup tie on Saturday.
With Chris Craib and Lewis McCauley added to the injury list, United had once again to make changes but Steven Reid was able to return to the centre of the defence alongside Jonathon Millsom with Blair Johnston reverting to his normal left hand side and Paul Leahy was available to take over in midfield.
The tight pitch really suited the home side with United never able to move the ball around enough to put their hosts under enough trouble with Lochore’s Reid able to sit in and dominate the midfield too much and United looking particularly vulnerable at set pieces with the home side having a distinct physical advantage.
United kicked off down the slope and showed first with Callum Tremaine forcing a save from keeper Inglis.
Lochore broke straight up the park from the kick out with Tony Buckley getting his first taste of the action in saving Ferguson’s effort. Lochore were awarded a free kick in the eighth minute which was headed clear by the Ellon defence. United countered with Tremaine meeting a cross from Calum Annand only to send his header over.
Midway through the half Tremaine slipped the ball inside to Annand and he laid it back into the path of Scott Whelan who shot over.
Lochore hit straight back with K.Goodwin flashing a low ball across the face of the goal. United conceded the opening goal in the 27th minute out of nothing when Steven Reid was way short with an attempted headed back pass leaving Ferguson to slip in unchallenged to drop an easy lob over the stranded Buckley.
Annand met a cross from Jordan Morrice with his shot deflected behind for a corner. Paul Leahy met the cross only to head over. United were almost caught out at a long throw in the 34th minute but Buckley came to the rescue to save from McGregor.
United squared the tie five minutes into the second half with Tremaine rewarded for his efforts by turning home a cross from Annand but the visitors then conceded another bad goal from a corner only six minutes later with Reid allowed a free header to pick his spot.
In the 66th minute Annand and Tremaine combined again to force a corner with Tremaine meeting the cross only to his header again fly over the bar.
Ellon made a change in the 71st minute with Mariouz Kwiatkowski returning from injury to replace Ryan Stewart up front. Lochore virtually killed off the tie in the 82nd minute when United were caught out at a corner with Ferguson somehow allowed to hook the bouncing ball home over his head.
Ellon United: Buckley, Thomson, Johnston, Whelan, Millsom, Reid, Annand, Leahy, Stewart (Kwiakowski), Tremaine, Morrice, Erskine.
Lochore Welfare: Inglis, Byrne, Penman, Harrower, Fyfe, Devaney, K.Goodwin, Reid, Ferguson, McGuire, Little, McCaine, Hatten, S.Goodwin, Drummond.
United face another difficult trip on Saturday with a league visit to Dyce and they will have to raise their game considerably to compete with their fancied opponents.