Spey Valley spring home cup surprise with a narrow win

The Spey Valley keeper foils another Ellon attempt.
The Spey Valley keeper foils another Ellon attempt.
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Ellon United’s first-ever meeting with Spey Valley ended in disappointment with the visitors progressing 1–0 in their first round tie in the The Dominos Pizza North Regional Cup at the Meadows on Saturday.

The only goal came from a header with around 15 minutes to go.

One or two of the home side fell short of the standard they had set themselves the previous week and this allowed the more physical visitors to dominate 
certain areas.

United almost made an early breakthrough but Aiden Greig just failed to make contact with a fine cross from Craig Marshall which had the Spey Valley defence in real trouble.

The Cromdale-based outfit replied with a cross-cum-shot which flashed across the box, then the ball broke for the visitors who wasted a good opportunity by shooting weakly into the arms of Michael McKinnon.

With just over half an hour played Marshall released Lenny Johnson whose shot forced a good save from the visiting keeper. Spey Valley broke straight up the field and fortunately when the low cross was met first time the ball curled well wide.

Both sides had their chances. Michael Crisp headed over from a corner before the home side should have taken the lead just on half time with the Spey Valley keeper bringing off two point-blank stops to keep the score level at the interval.

A slack pass back caused real problems for United who recovered at the cost of a corner. The clearance fell to the visitors whose low shot came back off the post.

A United change saw James Wilson replace Greig before McKinnon had to turn a shot behind. Further United changes saw Dean McDonald and Greg Wood replace Johnson and Scott McLeod.

Spey Valley won a corner in the 75th minute and when the ball was swung high into the box the three tallest visitors ran in together with the towering substitute Minard making the vital contact and powering a header into the top corner.

Crisp headed over from another corner as United searched for an equaliser then a great strike from David Coutts brought an even better save from the keeper to keep United out.

The visitors blocked desperately at one end then broke to hit the post as the game swung to and fro but Ellon were unable to grab the vital leveller to send the tie into a shoot out.

Ellon United: McKinnon, Tremaine, Kris. Benzie, Cameron Clark, Coutts, Crisp, Marshall, Steven Benzie, Johnson (McDonald), McLeod (Wood), Greig (Wilson), Erskine, Tait.

United go back to league duty on Saturday with a trip to Banff to face Deveronside at Canal Park.