Ellon United`s failings in front of goal and the loss of two preventable second half goals cost them dearly as they dropped another three league points with a 2–0 defeat at Dyce on Saturday - the third game running in which they have failed to find the net, writes Irvine Morris.
United should have gone in at the interval in front instead of level at 0–0. They then passed up further chances before Dyce took the lead direct from a free kick and it was the home side who struck again in the 81st minute to seal the points.
An early free kick from Shaun Robertson was headed out as far as Neil Erskine whose shot was deflected for a corner. The cross was again only half cleared and broke out wide to Andy Anderson whose effort was blocked and the ball was eventually cleared.
Former Ellon and Formartine keeper Ricky Horne prevented Dyce from going behind with a fine double save, keeping out a free kick then recovering quickly to save at the feet of Robertson after Anderson had set up the opening.
Dyce responded with a free kick in the ninth minute which was dealt with by the Ellon defence before the home side fired another free kick over.
Three minutes later Dyce forced yet another free kick which was fortunately wasted before United won a free kick themselves with the home side able to head clear Anderson`s cross.
Dyce`s best spell of the first half saw them force a series of corners with Mountford coming closest for the home side with a hooked shot which went beyond the far post.
United hit back with Robertson again denied by Horne at the cost of a corner after Anderson had worked his way to the byeline to cut the ball across goal.
Steven Bartlet blasted the ball wide for Dyce with United countering to force a couple of corners. Ellon should have taken a lead into the interval following a break down their left with Michael Mathieson finding Chris Craib who fired a low ball across the face of the goal which was met by Neil Erskine whose effort went straight into the arms of Horne.
United showed first after the break and in the 50th minute the visitors were again kept at bay by a double save from the Dyce keeper.
Anderson did well to win possession and feed the ball out to Lenny Johnson whose cross was met by Dev Kennedy-Colbert.
Ricky Horne blocked his effort before somehow recovering to block Robertson`s shot from the rebound. Dyce dealt with a free kick from Robertson before United were forced to make a change in the 57th minute when they lost the services of the influential Anderson who was replaced by young Michael Watson.
Four minutes later Robertson broke on the left to force a corner with the inswinging cross dropping just beyond the far post.
Dyce opened the scoring out of nothing in the 63rd minute when they were awarded a free kick. There appeared to be no danger from former United striker Jordan Morrice`s shot but the ball somehow managed to find its way low into the far corner.
Ellon made a second change in the 70th minute with Callum Tremaine coming on for Neil Erskine.
There was still very little to chose between the sides but in the 81st minute United gave the ball away just inside their own half and substitute Napier caught them out, breaking quickly and cutting the ball back for fellow substitute Wozniack to double the home side`s lead.
United finally found the net three minutes later when Johnson set up Fraser Tait but the goal was chalked off for offside leaving United firing blanks for the third game running.
Ellon United: Steer, Annand, Mathieson, Craib, Millsom, Tait, Johnson, Erskine (Tremaine), Anderson (Watson), Kennedy–Colbert, Robertson, Bremner, Greig, Cramp.
Dyce Juniors: Horne, Morehouse, Reid, Lynch, Hutchinson, Dick, Yeats, M Bartlet, S Bartlet, Mountford, Morrice, Napier, Wozniack, Stewart, Clayton, McCarroll
This was a much better overall performance from United although their lack of a killer instinct did cost them in the end.
United face a new challenge on Saturday with the visit of Dundee North End to the Meadows for their quarter-final tie in The GA Engineering Inter Regional Cup. The match kicks off at the later time of 2.30pm and will go straight to penalties if all square at the end of regulation time. United will have to find their shooting boots this week if they hope to progress to the semis and emulate their fine win at Dundee Violet.
Meanwhile, the winning numbers in United`s weekly Lucky Six Draw were 2, 7, 9, 10, 14 and 16 and with no one picking the full set the jackpot for next week`s draw will be £1450 with the selection 6 from 15. The consolation prize winner was T Masson.