United triumph after initial Longside surge

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THE fenced pitch at The Meadows passed a late morning inspection to allow Ellon United`s PMAC Super League match against Longside to go ahead.

Though the pitch was playable, the tricky surface and horrible overhead conditions made life difficult all round and both sets of players must be commended in the circumstances. Illness and injuries again left United short, but Lewis Forbes was able to resume after his lay off and with The Ellon Meadows Under 16`s having no fixture Ryans Smart and Shand were able to come to their aid.

United opened brightly with Longside keeper Thomson forced into several early saves, particularly from a Greg Simpson effort and a header from Forbes. It was Longside who snatched the lead in the 11th minute when United conceded a free kick outside their box and Nico Marchi made them pay by curling a fine shot into Ross Buchanan`s top right hand corner. Ellon found themselves two goals adrift three minutes later. Neat work from Porter caused the early damage with Jamie McKinnon clearing off the line before the ball went behind off the top of the bar for a corner. Marchi lost his marker to nip in and drill home the cross.

United were able to pull a goal back within a minute of the restart when Michael Ralton collected the ball and strode forward to fire past the stranded keeper. Ellon drew level just before the interval when Ross Forsyth picked up the ball in midfield and steadied himself before beating keeper Thomson with a fine curling shot.

A point blank save from Ross Buchanan prevented Longside from regaining the lead three minutes into the second half and the save proved all the more critical when United went ahead with Lewis Forbes breaking on the right and squaring the ball to Keith Walker to place the ball beyond the keeper. Longside`s setback was aggravated when Park, who had been guilty of playing the United strikers onsides, was red carded for disputing the Ellon strike. United added to their lead in the 60th minute when Greg Simpson broke clear on the right and fired the ball low across the face of the goal. Thomson was unable to smother the cross with Walker taking advantage to add his second. Longside`s task became even more difficult in the 71st minute when striker Marchi who had proved a constant threat was red carded for a silly 2nd caution. United took the opportunity of replacing Mark Lawson and Greg Simpson who had both had to receive earlier treatment with Steve Gunn and Darren Bailey.

With the home side enjoying a two goal advantage together with their spare men the game fell flat but United were given a wake up call in the 81st minute when a Campbell header went behind off the top of the bar. Ryan Smart replaced Lewis Forbes for the closing eight minutes. The youngster looked sharp and almost made it a goal scoring debut in the closing stages.

ELLON UNITED: Buchanan, Ralton, Johnston, Corser, McKinnon, Lawson (Gunn), Simpson Bailey), Forsyth, Forbes (Smart), Walker, Craib, Johnson, Shand, Annand.

LONGSIDE: Thomson, Park, C. Davidson, Beddie, Black, Norris, Whyte, Cardno, Marchi, Campbell, Porter, Donaldson, Panton, Danton, Butcher, Usher, Bruce, Cook.

This was an important result for United to get back to winning ways but spare a thought for Peter, The Meadows groundsman, who will have a lot of repair work.