A particularly ineffective second half display from Ellon United saw them exit the first round of the McBookie.com McLeman Cup 4–0 to Inverness City at the Meadows on Saturday.
Too many of the Ellon side looked out of place on the day or were unable to win their individual battles which was all the more disappointing considering their spirited recent performance up at Inverness.
Following last week’s 3-0 home defeat in the league, this was another woeful performance from Ellon.
With normal keeper Callum Steer unavailable due to work commitments, United were fortunately able to call on the services of Tony Buckley, who had no chance with any of the goals.
Ellon had most of the possession in the opening quarter of the game without fully getting to grips with the blustery wind and a fiery pitch but at least they tried to get the ball down and play it around in that period.
An early cross from Calum Annand was just missed by everyone then minutes later United tried to force the ball home but were pulled up for a hand ball.
City responded with Ross Thomson firing the ball wide from a cutback.
United were awarded a free kick in the 17th minute. Grant Thomson`s shot was blocked by the defensive wall but Andy Anderson latched on to the ball out wide only to see his shot turned behind for a corner.
At the other end, MacDonald was left unmarked and met a cross with his free header back into danger area headed over by Michael Mackenzie.
A slice of good fortune presented City with the opening goal. The ball broke to Ross Thomson and his shot took a horrible deflection off an Ellon player to force it down into the deck and bounce wickedly up over the stranded Tony Buckley, who would otherwise have had a comfortable take.
An Anderson effort went wide then seven minutes later Paul Leahy collected a through ball and rounded the keeper who had rushed out wide to the edge of his box.
The United number nine lobbed the ball back into the goalmouth but Dev Kennedy-Colbert was not strong enough to force it home under pressure from a City defender and the ball was scrambled clear.
A good free kick from Thomson found Anderson lurking near the back post but the ball appeared to come off his chest and drop wide.
An Inverness free kick just before the break was wasted but the ball eventually went for a corner. The cross was headed clear but fell to Thomson who drilled it straight back but right at Tony Buckley as the scoreline remained at 1–0 at the interval.
A careless attempted pass out of defence by United only five minutes after the break set the tone for the second half.
The ball was passed woefully short out to Miller with lots of room to move forward before sending in a low cross and it took a fine stop from Tony Buckley to save his colleague`s blushes.
With sixty one minutes gone the City defence managed to head clear a tempting free kick from Thomson then a minute later Leahy set up a shooting chance for Scott McLeod who fired wide.
The miss proved costly when the United midfield were posted missing allowing City to break up their right far too easily and cut the ball back into the goal area from the byeline.
The Ellon defence were unable to force the ball clear in a free-for-all with Kelvin Mackenzie eventually making the home side pay as he finally poked the ball home from close range.
United made a change in the 70th minute with Neil Erskine replacing Scott McLeod then 10 minutes later Michael Watson came on for Annand.
With time running out United conceded another soft goal when they gave the ball away near the halfway line to catch their defence on the wrong foot and the visitors punished them for the initial carelessness by waltzing through for Michael Mackenzie to score.
Before the dust settled, City added a fourth when the ball broke to full back Mason some thirty five yards out and he fired in an unstoppable shot to round off the scoring and put City through to a second round tie against Stonehaven.
Ellon United: Buckley, Bremner, Mathieson, Thomson, Millsom, Robertson, Annand (Watson), Anderson, Leahy, Kennedy–Colbert, McLeod (Erskine), Greig, Cramp.
Inverness City: Beattie, Mason, Murdoch, MacDonald, Fraser, Duncan, K Mackenzie, Thomson, M Mackenzie, Fuller, Miller, Corbett, Urquhart, MacGregor, Kerr, Jones.
United return to league action on Saturday with a trip to Dyce and they will have to show much more appetite for the fight and a vast overall improvement if they are to get some reward from their visit. The match kicks off at 2pm.
Meanwhile, the winning numbers in United`s weekly Lucky Six Draw were 1, 5, 10, 12, 13 and 15 and with no one picking the full set the jackpot for next week`s draw will be £1400 with the selection 6 from 16. The consolation prize winner was G Alexander.