Ellon United were knocked out of the GA Engineering Inter-Regional Trophy by Hermes in a penalty shoot-out on Saturday.
The sides were level at 2-2 over regulation time but the Aberdeen club emerged victorious 5-4 in the first round tie at Lochside Park.
United gave away two first half goals but fought back to square the match and came within inches of a winning goal with what proved to be the last kick of normal time.
Ellon were first out of the blocks with Tito Silva’s shot hitting the side netting but the visitors found themselves a goal down in the eighth minute with Campbell’s stunning volley flying into the top corner, a great strike from the central defender but woeful marking by United who had no one close to him.
Ellon were forced into a change in the 27th minute, Fraser Tait replacing the injured David Coutts.
They lost a second goal within two minutes of the change, before they managed to settle, and it was all self-inflicted through a series of errors.
United were actually awarded a free kick but the poor set piece led to breaking forward. Two chances to break up the attack were missed allowing Hermes to move clear and pick out a simple pass to McLauchlan who was left with the easiest of tap-ins.
Ellon should have done better when one-on-one with keeper Sweeney and had a late effort cleared for a corner as they stayed two down at the interval.
United made a second change nine minutes into the second half with Scott McLeod replacing Craig Marshall then seven minutes later Matthew Tewnion came on for Neil Erskine. Ellon were now the more dangerous side without really looking like getting the better of Sweeney.
Tewnion moved on to a cutback from Silva but shot wide before United struck in the 70th minute. This time it was hesitancy in the Hermes defence which proved costly with Lenny Johnson taking advantage to pull Ellon right back into contention.
The only Hermes threat in the second half came from two United lapses. The visitors failed to cut out a long diagonal ball in the 75th minute but the home side were denied what should have been a goal by Tait’s goal line clearance.
Ellon levelled the tie nine minutes later when the home defence failed to deal with Chris Craib’s curling free kick and Tait got the final touch.
United had their second let-off of the half in the 87th minute when Hermes were presented with possession by a complete miskick but
fortunately for the visitors the shot came back off the post.
Silva won possession near the end and beat his marker to move clear to face the onrushing Sweeney. The striker’s shot beat the
keeper only to flash inches wide in the last action of normal time.
Sweeney saved United’s first spot kick and with all the others finding the net the home side progressed 5–4.
Ellon United: Robertson, Tremaine, Steven Benzie, Craib, Coutts (Tait), Crisp, Wilson, Marshall (McLeod), Silva, Erskine (Tewnion), Johnson, Wood, McKinnon.
Hermes: Sweeney, Nash, Cruickshank, Brown, Campbell, McKenzie, Simpson, Wilson, M Smith, McLauchlan, L Smith, Strachan, McRae, Watson.
This was another spirited performance by United against fancied opponents but in the end they paid the price for their first half errors and were unable to find the killer touch which some of their approach work merited despite coming so desperately close to victory at the end.
Ellon are in relatively uncharted waters on Saturday when they face Dufftown for the first time in a league game at the Meadows. It’s a long time since the two sides last met so United’s opposition are an unknown quantity but they have had some excellent results including an opening league win against Culter. Kick-off is 2pm.
Meanwhile, the winning numbers in Uni’s Lucky Six Draw were 3, 5, 13, 14, 16 and 18. With no one picking the full set the jackpot for next week’s draw will be £1250 with the selection 6 from 17.
The consolation prize winner was S Notton.