Ellon United saw competitive action for the first time since February 6 and and a second half collapse against Hermes at the Meadows on Saturday saw them exit the PMAC Group McLeman Cup in the first round.
United worked hard against their fancied opponents in an even first half to go in all square at 1–1, but the Aberdeen side eventually coasted to a comfortable victory.
Ellon introduced new signing Robin Dunbar in goal so it proved a tough baptism for the former Inverness City keeper.
Jonathon Milsom also made his return to United colours following his return from Banks o’ Dee, turning in his usual competent display.
The first half was fairly even with neither side gaining the upper hand before United gave away the opening goal on the half-hour.
The home side conceded an unnecessary free kick on the edge of their box thanks to a lazy challenge and their defensive line-up for the set piece allowed McRae to place the ball low in at the post.
Fortunately Hermes were not allowed to build on their lead with United drawing level within three minutes when neat play up their right between James Wilson and Lenny Johnson set up Callum Tremaine for the equaliser.
United’s woes started six minutes into the second half when they lost possession midway inside their own half allowing McRae to add his second.
Ellon rang a couple of changes with Tito Silva and Jason Coyle replacing Callum Tremaine and Scott McLeod only for a nightmare moment to set up Macklin with the opportunity to chip the ball home for Hermes’ third although he did take his chance well.
Ellon made their final change in the 74th minute minute with Steven Benzie coming on for Jonathon Milsom but a minute later the home side were caught out again through Stevenson.
Mark Smith added Hermes’ fifth three minutes later and although Ellon steadied the ship, they were unable to test Sweeney in the Hermes goal but did pass up a couple of good opportunities.
Ellon United: Dunbar, Milsom (S Benzie), K Benzie, Craib, Coutts, Crisp, Wilson, McLeod (Coyle), Tremaine (Silva), Johnson, Greig, Blair, Marshall.
Hermes: Sweeney, Cruickshank, Alexander, McKenzie, L Smith, Mackie, McRae, Stevenson, Macklin, Dawson, Wilson, Strachan, Campbell, Watson, M Smith.
Hermes proved too strong for United after the interval but the home side certainly did themselves no favours with their second half performance.
Ellon get back to league business this weekend with a difficult trip to Stonehaven and they will have to show a marked all-round improvement in their search for crucial league points.