United snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

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ELLON United squandered a great chance to progress to the seeded stage of the GA Engineering Inter Regional Cup when they lost on penalties away to New Elgin last weekend, after losing a 2-0 advantage. United went two goals up in the first thirty five minutes and had the chances to press home their advantage only to be pegged back in the last quarter of the match, with the homes side equalising in the 87th minute. Keeper Payne made a fine, point blank save in the last minutes to send the match into the penalty decider, which the home side won 4-2.

United had the upper hand in the opening stages, but survived a scare in the 11th minutes when full back Irons fired a shot which rattled the crossbar. Ellon responded with Blair Johnston sending over a cross which was met by Callum Dunbar, but keeper Payne made a comfortable save. United took the lead three minutes later when Paul Leahy’s shot found the bottom corner. Elgin could have punished United on the break, but Shanks dragged his shot wide. Ellon doubled their lead ten minutes before the break. Matty Bremner’s diagonal ball released Joran Morrice, whose low cross was turned in by Lenny Johnson. The United striker was hurt in the process, and was replaced by Chris Eadie.

United had a fortunate escape in the 39th minute when they were again caught on the counter attack, but the final cut back fell behind the Elgin striker, and the chance was lost. Ellon passed up the opportunity to go further ahead on the stroke of half time, when they carved open Elgin again only to miss the target.

Elgin were awarded a free kick three minutes into the second half. United cut out the cross, and broke quickly, with Willie Mather’s final shot blocked. United were enjoying plenty of good possession, but were unable to find the killer touch, which proved costly in the 69th minute. The visitors were unable to deal with a corner from the left, and with the ball bouncing in the danger area, Elgin managed to bundle their opener home.

Calum Annand replaced Willie Mathers on the right hand side of the United midfield in the 72nd minute, Six minutes later, the home side were reduced to ten men when Shanks was red carded. Calum Dunbar met a cross from Calum Annand, only to see his header fly wide, then Matty Bremner moved on to a short free kick, but his first time strike flew just over the bar. Referee Whyte then made the numbers even in the 85th minute when he showed Calum Annand a red card. The scores were tied two minutes later when Elgin were awarded a free kick out wide up left. United could not prevent the cross reaching the foal area, and were unable to defend the ensuing goalmouth scramble with the ball eventually falling for a home player to prod home. Keeper Payne had the last word with his close range stop to prevent a United winner and send the tie to a penalty decider. Chris Steer saved the second Elgin spot kick to give United the initial advantage, but the visitors missed their third and fourth attempts to allow the home side to progress.

Ellon United: Steer, Bremner, Johnston, Leahy, Lawson, Reid, Mathers (Annand), Whelan, Johnson (Eadie), Dunbar, Morrice, Croll, Goate, Bailey.

New Elgin: Payne, McKenzie, Irons, Sim, McKenzie, Milsom, Burgess, Davidson, Wilson, McGettrick, Shanks, Connolly, Campbell, Thomson.

United have their first league game of the season next Saturday when Longside will be their visitors at the Meadows. Kick off - 2pm.

The winning numbers in this week’s Lucky Six Draw were 3, 9, 12, 14, 16 and 19 and with no one picking the full set, the jackpot for next week will be £1000, with the selection 6 from 20. Consolation prize winner was A Wright.