Ellon United gave themselves a major boost in their bid to keep their Superleague status with a fighting 2–1 win over Stonehaven at Glenury Park on Saturday but it’s still too close for comfort.
New Elgin had no game last weekend so remain on 12 points with three games to go, Cruden Bay sit on 13 points with two games remaining and United and Hall Russell United are on the 17-point mark but the Aberdeen side have the advantage of a better goal difference.
FC Stoneywood will have a massive say in the final outcome with both Ellon and Hall Russells’ remaining games at home to New Elgin and Stoneywood and Cruden Bay’s final games both against Stoneywood who have also to travel to Elgin.
If United manage to overcome New Elgin at the Meadows on Saturday, however, they will be mathematically safe no matter what the outcome of the other games.
With regular keeper Callum Steer injured United were fortunate that Ellon Amateurs had no game on Saturday and United were able to get the services of Michael McKinnon who proved a most capable deputy.
United conceded in the seventh minute when they were caught out at an inswinging corner which was headed home.
Stonehaven keeper Capstick kept their lead intact with an acrobatic save to tip over an awkward looping ball and prevent an own goal as a defender tried desperately to cut out a dangerous low cross from Lenny Johnson.
Good hold up work from Andy Anderson on the half-hour mark saw the ball laid back to Lewis Macaulay whose first-time effort slipped past the post.
The sides went in all-square at the interval when United were awarded a penalty right on half-time with Anderson’s fiercely driven spotkick finding the net despite a valiant effort from Capstick.
Ellon got their noses in front six minutes into the second half when Anderson’s free kick found the far corner with some help from a deflection.
The visitors looked to have increased their lead on the hour when Callum Tremaine met a cross from Johnson but his fine header came back off the bar with the keeper beaten.
Ellon made a change in the 75th minute with Kennedy-Colbert replacing Chris Craib and seventeen minutes later made a second change with Neil Erskine coming on for Tremaine.
With the game deep into stoppage time, McKinnon made a fine stop in getting down to palm away a shot. United’s luck looked out when the ball fell kindly to a Stonehaven player but the chance was wasted when a lack of composure saw his shot blasted off target and the three points were safe.
Ellon United: McKinnon, Millsom, Mathieson, Thomson, Tait, Crisp, Johnson, Craib (Kennedy-Colbert), Anderson, Macaulay, Tremaine (Erskine), Bremner, Watson, McLeod.
Stonehaven: Capstick, Goate, Rattray, S Reid, McTavish, Sulkevicius, Shand, Anderson, J Reid, Taylor, Armstrong, Cormack, Robertson, Pyper.
This was an encouraging, balanced display from United with everyone playing their part to earn the win and hopefully they can take this into Saturday`s vital home game against New Elgin and see off the relegation threat. The match at the Meadows kicks off at 2pm.
*See Page 47 for United president Billy Gordon’s assessment of the campaign.
FOOT OF THE TABLE
Hall Russell 24 4 5 15 30 46 17
Ellon United 24 5 2 17 28 59 17
Cruden Bay 24 3 4 17 20 59 13
New Elgin 24 3 3 18 21 85 12