For the second time this season a last gap decision by an Assistant Referee has cost Ellon United two points in their league matches against Deveronside which ended 1-1.
In their opening game at Ellon it was a disputed last minute penalty decision which gave Deveronside a 2-2 draw then last weekend it was another controversial free kick decision well into stoppage time which led to the home side’s equalizer in their 1-1 draw at Banff.
In truth, however, United would have been fortunate overall to have picked up full points in either of the games with neither team dominating. The different styles saw the home team’s direct approach with the ball being thrown forward at every opportunity to apply pressure on the Ellon defence but they kept on their toes against a physically strong outfit and stood up well to any pressure.
Early home pressure led to a corner which was headed clear but fell to Thomson whose shot was well off target. United were finding it difficult at this stage to get any concerted rhythm into their passing game against their physically stronger opponents but on the half hour mark Jonathon Millsom set up a shooting chance for Ryan Stewart whose shot was comfortably blocked. The home side survived a strong penalty shout two minutes later when Callum Annand’s shot was clearly deflected behind for a corner of the arms of a defender but the Officials must have deemed it accidental. Deveronside broke straight up the field from the corner with King shooting way wide. A sweeping United move in the 42nd minute saw Scott Whelan release Jordan Morrice with Callum Annand getting his head to the cross but his marker did well to also make enough contact to prevent the Ellon midfielder opening the scoring.
United started the second period strongly. Paul Leahy won the ball and his fine header was collected by Lenny Johnson who brought the ball under control and turned before picking out Ryan Stewart whose shot was well saved by keeper Tait. Three minutes later Deveronside were awarded a free kick. The towering Smith headed the ball on into the danger area but the final touch saw the ball fly well over.
Deveronside had the ball in the net in the 56th minute but the whistle had blown for a free kick to Ellon. United made a change in the 71st minute with Neil Erskine replacing Lenny Johnson up front Ellon went ahead in the 83rd minute. A shot from Ryan Stewart was deflected behind for a corner with Callum Annand’s fine cross turned past his own keeper by the unfortunate Wayne Murdo under pressure. United found the net again when Callum Annand forced his way up the right. The midfielder was fouled but broke clear to get in his cross which was headed home by Ryan Stewart only for the play to be pulled back for a free kick to Ellon.
With the match into stoppage time and United seeing out time fairly comfortably the home side were gifted their equalizer in the 93rd minute. A home attacker clearly controlled the ball with his hands in front of the Assistant Referee as he was shepherded out wide by Blair Johnston only for the Assistant to indicate a free kick against the United defender Stand in keeper Tony Buckley came to collect but was unfortunately unable to gather the ball which dropped loose in the box. Blair Johnston somehow managed to block the first strike but the ball broke out to Smith to fire home the eqalizer and end the game on a sour note for the visitors.
Ellon United: Buckley, Millsom, Johnston, Whelan, Leahy, Reid, Annand, Craib, Johnson (Erskine), Stewart, Morrice, Tremaine, Rozanski, Tait.
Deveronside: Tait, Davidson, G.Murdo, Legge, Milne, W.Murdo, Philip, Thomson, McLeav, King, Aitken, Bruce, Clark.
United are on cup duty on Saturday with local rivals Maud their visitors to The Meadows in a 2nd round tie in the GA Engineering Inter Regional Cup. Kick off is 2pm. Season tickets will not be valid at this cup game.