Ellon United’s young squad failed to build on the postives from their opening fixture when they were beaten 2-0 at Nairn St Ninian on Saturday.
United had lost 5-1 at home to Hermes but their new look line-up showed plenty of spirit and determination and the scoreline might well have been closer but for some fine second half saves by the champions’ keeper Sweeney.
Ellon travelled in hope to Nairn but were punished for two pieces of naive play which cost them goals.
The home side threatened first with Michael McKinnon forced into a fine save in the seventh minute before United came close five minutes later when Fraser Tait’s header from a corner came back off the post.
Nairn’s experienced back four were certainly not in a generous mood and the big defenders kept putting United under pressure through long balls forward for their eager strikers to chase down and it might well have paid off in the 20th minute when Grant met a cross but was unable to keep his header down.
Ellon countered with a promising break up their left and when the cross was knocked back into the middle it was met first time by Callum Tremaine but his effort went wide.
Nairn broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half through a simple but well-executed strike. Another long ball forward from the back found Riddell whose marker sold himself and allowed the striker to fire over a cross with Grant getting a free header to put the home side ahead.
United made a couple of changes with Matthew Tewnion replacing Tremaine and Greg Wood coming on for Tito Silva as the visitors changed their formation to try and get back into contention.
A good save by keeper Hepburn to keep out a fine strike from Craig Marshall and a goal line clearance were as near as United came to getting back on terms and their fate was sealed in the 88th minute.
They conceded a throw in near the corner flag and the ball was picked up by a home striker who was somehow allowed to turn on the byline and cut inside before drilling a low shot into the far corner.
Ellon United: McKinnon, Law, Tremaine (Tewnion), Benzie, Crisp, Tait, Wilson, Marshall, Silva (Wood), McLeod, McDonald, Coutts, Blair, Clark.
Nairn St Ninian: Hepburn, Haines, Macrae, Duncan, Harvey, Morganti, Riddell, Mulligan, Hill, M. Macdonald, Grant, Green, Walker, Anderson, Calvert, R. Macdonald.
Following their home Grill League Cup midweek fixture against Maud, United travel to East End on Saturday for their final league cup match then on Tuesday, August 18, to Gallowshill Park, Newburgh, to face Bridge of Don Thistle in their opening league fixture with a 6.45pm kick off.
The winning numbers in United`s Lucky Six Draw were 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 18 and with no one picking the full set the jackpot for next week`s draw will be £1000 with selection 6 from 20. The consolation prize winner was M Beattie.